Here’s another essential batch of projects against war, in support of Ukraine, many of them centering Ukrainian artists’ music and organization. All represent global outcry, and organizers are also reporting significant funds raised for direct support.
Sounds Of Survival is absolutely must-listen, a gateway into Ukraine’s artist underground. And for some of us who were already fans of folks like Dubmasta, here’s our chance to get you onboard, I suppose. This is underground in a horrifying literal sense – coordinated directly with artists in basements as airstrikes hit overhead. Andi Teichmann of Noland writes us. The full description:
Being an underground artist in Ukraine has never been an easy path to choose. This war is not only an attack on their lives, but on their passionate existence as musicians.
In the last couple of days we have coordinated this compilation with a sense of the urgency of the circumstances, and the direct need it has created.
Our friend Dubmasta, who is based in Kyiv was collecting tracks from friends of the local scene, around the SKP records collective.
Consistent online access has been a major stumbling block, and communication of all kinds frustrating and complicated. We, sitting here in Berlin, get worried, whenever we don´t get a response. Foa Hoka´s singer Dmytro Kurovskiy wrote that he is sitting in a basement in Chernihiv in the dark, while constant airstrikes hit the city.
A rocket exploded close to his studio. the windows got crashed, but synthesizers and equipment, thankfully for the time being, have survived the most recent attacks, as has he. Still under these circumstances, against all odds, Dmytro managed to send material and photos.
This compilation wouldn´t have been possible without Serge Dubrovskiy AKA Dubmasta, Oleksiy Mikrykov AKA King Imagine (Kyiv) and Dmytro Kurovskiy (Chernihiv) in Ukraine. Many thanks to Helmut Erler for providing the mastering and Brenda Alamilla for the artwork. With love from NOLAND, Andi & Hannes
It’s terrifying to think of our friends facing this. So do give their music a proper listen, at the least – beautiful, dubby wonders – and let’s support the release and artist collective and do what we can to support their safety.
More direct links:
For fundraising – www.betterplace.org/de/fundraising-events/40566-nothilfe-fuer-die-ukraine.
For another Ukraine-driven effort, Ukrainian label Muscut I mentioned in the last round-up. They’ve come back with a compilation of all Ukrainian artists. I’m really appreciating all of this music and – Razom for Ukraine has been a widely recommended charity:
“ВОЛЯ” my Ukrainian dictionary translates as “will” / “free will” / “freedom.”
As far as I know, the largest international compilation has been For Peace. Against War. Who Is Not? A Compilation For The People Of Ukraine. It feels like a landmark musical moment – at once, resisting Putin’s aggression and supporting Ukrainian freedom, and also reviving universal antiwar messages. None other than Wolfgang Flür of Kraftwerk opens with a new antiwar anthem to the whole planet, “Say No”. Other names join, including Stephen Mallinder (Cabaret Voltaire), Scanner, die Angel (with Ilpo Väisänen of Pan Sonic fame), Schneider TM, Joasihno (Cico Beck of The Notwist), Mia Zabelka, and Dead Voices on Air. But I also see a lot of names from around the world and from more experimental corners, including friends who have been stalwart opponents of oppression elsewhere. That is to say, this is not limited to people who have just become politically active for Ukraine. I contributed a track there, too, a new one that for me connects to how I feel.
Thanks to organizers Snowbeasts (Elizabeth Virosa & Robert Galbraith) and Kai Niggemann. Vostok SOS and Ukrainian Red Cross are the beneficiaries, and the financial response was overwhelming even in the first few hours.
Natural Selection has put together a beautiful mix of artists, mixing big international names (Umwelt, Annie Hall, Sterac, Operator, Klater Ende, AnD, Ryuji Takeuchi + Hiroaki Iizuka, Ex.Hale, etc.) with Ukrainian artists Alex Schultz, Cluster Lizard, Zavoloka, Kotra, and Religia. This benefits Come Back Alive, the charity that Patreon shut down but – without stepping into that controversy myself, has still received broad please for support from folks in Ukraine.
Cluster Lizard I wrote about last fall.
Poland’s exceptional Green Fairy Records has a wonderful leftfield compilation, supporting UNICEF Ukraine.
I’m torn, because exactly the thing they describe as difficult of course I also love, and it feels strange to take joy sometimes in such a painful time. But it’s beautifully said here – their non-beautiful music:
This is not pretty music because the circumstances are not pretty and this is not easy music because times are difficult. But it is music full of emotion because these trying times demand it and each part was created from the heart because others need us.
It is our response to aggression with which we do not agree.
It’s our protest against the animalistic urges, for which there is neither place nor consent in the 21st century.
Even better, click through to Bandcamp for a full translation of the poem you hear deeply intoned at the opening track.
HÖR has put out a compilation, as well, this week, with a largely international format – supporting “@bridgesoverbordersberlin – a community-based collective of fellow artists and volunteers that aim to support BIPoC, LGBTQIA+, and other marginalized individuals with housing, essential items, medical care, integration support, and immigration advice.” (That initiative is run by friends, actually, and they’ve gone from zero to massively organized in almost no time flat, supporting all inbound refugee groups.)
HÖR also ran a fundraiser stream Sunday from Daria Kolosova to DJ Stringray 313, interspersed with discussions hosted by Mariana Berezovska, editor/co-founder of Borshch Magazine. And yes, we owe it to Mariana to hear her and support her as her family is directly at risk.
I want to also amplify the quote she repeats, as originally sent to Resident Advisor. That got reframed as being about one Russian artist, which prompted Mariana to express some frustration online. Re-reading it, I mean, it is addressed at all of us, which is what is most important. So let’s take that in:
“Real underground music is political. It always has been. From the origins of techno in Detroit with collectives like Underground Resistance, to the endless raves celebrating unity and new beginnings in Berlin after the fall of the wall, to the Cxema raves in post-Revolution-of-Dignity Kyiv. One person cannot fight the evil of the whole world, we are not in a Bruce Willis movie. Yet each of us can make a difference on a local level, bringing together our communities and getting engaged with or without financial contributions.
Artists and industry people who build their careers on the values of rave culture — such as freedom of speech, movement and assembly, resistance against establishments, anti-fascism and anti-racism — have responsibilities for their actions and their messages.”
From Mälmo, we get anti-fascist noise with perhaps the game-winning compilation title out of all of these:
When you crave some punk shouting, you can’t go wrong with the Miss the Stars sampler. It’s also well worth centering here, as it features bands from across the country:
Also, it’s not a compilation and dates from 2020, but I’ve had this track “Beatrice” on repeat from Kyiv’s Heinali, and think it can provide a moment of peace:
From Hungary, another extraordinary underground effort:
And from the Netherlands, with still more Ukrainian artists and some intermixed traditional/folk music of Ukraine:
Ukraine’s extraordinary label Corridor Audio put together this essential compilation just before the full-scale invasion:
Ukrainian electronic producers recorded all the music in this release shortly before the brutal aggression of Russian war criminals started. It is difficult to say what our music will become in the future. But we are sure that new music will be the music of peaceful Ukraine, the music of the free land, the music of strong heroes, full of rage and strength to fight for the future of their independent state.
All revenue will be donated to charitable funds to support Ukraine and its people.
Музика українських електронних продюсерів записана незадовго до початку брутальної агресії россійских військових злочинців. Складно спрогнозувати якою стане ця музика в майбутньому. Але ми впевнені, що нова музика неодмінно буде, музика мирної України, музика вільної землі, музика сильних героїв, сповнених люті та сили боротися за майбутнє своєї незалежної держави.
Всі гроші від продажу релізу будуть направлені у благодійні фонди підтримки України.
I know in desperate moments it’s hard sometimes to even listen to music, let alone believe that it impacts situations with such brutality against humans. But we live on a planet in which autocracy and colonialism contrast with self-determination. Music is at the heart of that expression of identity – and now the very international nature of electronic music means that the audience reaches outside borders and becomes entangled in politics (as well as issues of online censorship). This stuff is starting to mean more, not less. Know my door is open for any of you working on these issues where they matter to you in the world, even if sometimes you have to bang on it repeatedly. (Hey, my inbox is a mess.)
So on one level, yeah, some of us head into the studio and work on a track so we don’t lose our minds in despair just watching the news. On another, I expect music discussions will as always be entangled with politics. I don’t want to overstate this at the same time – but then that’s the benefit of having a benefit. Music can’t save lives, so we need to make sure those with some treasure can get it where it’s needed.
Previously (better not to only have one mammoth overwhelming story!) …
Keep sending things in; I’ll keep trying to keep up.