Bridging the worlds of bass music and video games, Pixelord is a Siberian-born artist transplanted to Moscow.
In a new video from Novation, he takes the English manufacturer on a tour of his sources of inspiration in the Russian capital.
This is of course by no means a complete tour of Moscow or its scene – that’s like having one person show you around The Netherlands for nine minutes. (Actually, literally like that.) But you do get a nice little taste of Alexey Devyanin’s personality, in the midst of a new album he’s working on.
And this being a Novation film, you also get plenty of light-up grid action – Alexey is a perfect example of an artist using those pads to genuinely perform, improvising starry, dreamy melodies atop a river of beats. And I have to also vouch for the Beatstep Pro being inspiring in that way; even though it’s a relatively simple grid, those velocity-sensitive pads unlocked a track or two for me. So I don’t mind the product placement – greetings, capitalism.
Pixelord is perhaps a great emblem of Moscow’s more international flavor. Despite his fleeting affection for a Soviet-tasting mystery green soda and baritone Russian accent, this is music that could have just as easily come out of Chicago. And why not? The Internet means instant access to musical inputs, the ability to identify with whatever you like – don’t let the close-ups of a cassette tape or vinyl record fool you; that’s the driving force. The attention has turned international, too; Pixelord is a great ambassador for the whole scene, organizing local talent under a global spotlight. (Yes, that’s Boiler Room in there.)
But I see some favorite spots in Moscow. There’s the tantalizing Soviet Arcade Museum, a reminder that this is not only the land that birthed Tetris but other gems of programming, too. And there’s the obligatory stop at Artplay, Moscow’s hipster epicenter, carved out of the post-industrial landscape. And there’s Rodnya, a terrific club with lovely sound and outdoor deck for warmer days. There are also excursions to a boat and the park, reminders that with limited space and resources, Muscovites are getting creative with venues.
Of course, while Novation wisely came in the pleasant summer months, this does make me think of where I might huddle in the wintry weather I’m expecting on my next visit there – and what weird experimental vibes we could assemble while fleeing the brutal cold, as there’s lots more to say about Moscow alone (let alone the rest of the country).
There’s loads of talent to discover in the city, however you slice it. And it’s a pleasure that our musical tribe now cuts across so many geographies.
And this music is superb – complete with live show of ‘Rescue Cyber Party’ at the lovely avant! records store.
Pixelord provides a sample set, too:
For more on the Launchpad Pro:
Launchpad Pro Grid Controller: Hands-on Comprehensive Guide