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"A song is either good to start with, or it's bad."

SBPCh ("Samoe bol'shoe prostoe chislo", Russian for "The Biggest Prime Number") is a St. Petersburg-based band that combines indifferent, low-key rapping with charming synth-and-acoustic-guitar arrangements. Their live shows are chaotic and involve handing out cheap instruments to audience members first; their recorded music is stripped-down and friendly. I first discovered them through Birthday and Beasts on Far From Moscow's Apples compilation—to me, it sounds like something out of the tetherball scene in Napoleon Dynamite. The Three of Us is a more driving song with an unusual balance of instruments; the album it's on, Flash Card, is generally pretty terrific. (The opening song, Russian Music, makes me pretty damn happy.)

Far From Moscow has written about them a number of times. Their article The Strange Advantages of Indifference talks about SBPCh's recording process and musical philosophy:
Key here is the notion of "awkwardness." In other words, all members of SBPCh feel that honest expression, either on stage or in the studio, never comes from a clamorous display of bold, brash statements, even when they're made with confidently wielded technology. Quite the opposite: veracity and candor should come in humble forms.

posted by Rory Marinich on Oct 24, 2013 - 5 comments

"Madame *** établit un piano dans les Alpes."

"Note that Scriabin did not, for his theory, recognize a difference between a major and a minor tonality of the same name (for example: c-minor and C-Major). Indeed, influenced also by the doctrines of theosophy, he developed his system of synesthesia toward what would have been a pioneering multimedia performance: his unrealized magnum opus Mysterium was to have been a grand week-long performance including music, scent, dance, and light in the foothills of the Himalayas Mountains that was somehow to bring about the dissolution of the world in bliss." - From Russian composer Alexander Scriabin's Wikipedia page [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Mar 25, 2013 - 12 comments

Well, the Ukraine girls really knock me out, and Moscow girls make me sing and shout.

You've probably heard Madonna's Holiday. You might be aware of the Dutch rap version by MC Miker G & Deejay Sven. What may be new to you is the Soviet parody. [more inside]
posted by Nomyte on Aug 12, 2011 - 43 comments

Returned from the Sky

By the time Russian folksinger Venya Drkin (Веня Д’ркин) died of cancer in 1999, he had written over three hundred songs. Love songs, happy songs, angry songs, sad songs. He also sketched pictures: strange, lonely, menacing, redemptive. And wrote folktales. He was only 29.
posted by nasreddin on Jan 14, 2008 - 3 comments

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