While the general public perception of Russia is stuck somewhere between FSB-controlled Twitter botnets, Don Cossack choirs, masculine caricatures of heads of state and a focus on the machinations of Moscow, exciting and diverse scenes of electronic music have been arising between Kaliningrad and Vladivostok over these last 10 years.
Influenced by a long tradition of futurist and avant-garde art in Russia, as well as the constantly rising and collapsing civic and social structures, a generation of emancipated, post-Soviet youth have found their ground somewhere between warehouse raves, semi-legal clubs constantly threatened by state intervention, and bedroom studios in satellite towns in the lonely Siberian expanse. The Moscow-based label Gost Zvuk stands for this new Russitude like no other. Hosting two sub labels, Gost Zvuk’s eclectic sound maps the country’s geographical as well as musical diversity, running from highbrow J.Dilla-styled MPC beats, to psychedelic layered techno and house, to Generation-Z disco. And regarding disco: the heads behind the label are also behind NII, one of the best clubs in Moscow right now.
Although most will probably have a hard time citing more than two Russian producers, the label boasts a few more familiar names, for example VTGNike, who caused a sensation with his debut album on Nicolas Jaar’s Other People label (his promising career was prematurely ended due to a minor offence and related jail term), or Nocow, who was recently taken under Len Faki’s wing and signed for three EPs on Figure. Even Ukrainian LSD-soaked techno demigod Stanislav Tolkachev has released a side project with the label.
On this night, labelhead Ildar Zaynetdinov aka low808 will be joined by OL, originally a hiphop instrumentalist that has lately been veering towards unusual combinations of dance music genres. Working in the avant-garde rock scene, L aka Leila Masharipova has also switched to live electronic improvisation, using a string of synth and effect units to channel out of this world soundscapes. Pyg system, performing under the name P, creates ambient textures ranging from dreamy to grainy. Flaty has been working for over a decade in Saint Petersburgh’s music scene, including running his own ANWO label. Berlin-based Perila opens the night with a journey through spacious melodyscapes.
Gost Zvuk’s first label showcase outside of Russia will not only present a cross-section of the young collective’s work, but also reminds us in Berlin that we should look eastward.