To most places longitudinally leftwards of Russia, there hasn’t seemed to be a grandiose shift in music. Russia has effectively been reopened to the world for over 20 years after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Yet somehow, the output of the largest country in the world has remained largely obscure to those of us in the West, and even the mighty Internet has only just managed to uncork that crevice. Outside of DJ Vadim‘s exploits for Ninja Tune not many saw success during the 90s. However, electronic music is by no means new to Russia – there’s a rich history of electronica that has matured for over 120 years – and towards the latter end of the 2000s, beatmakers began taking more stylistic cues from their Western counterparts. With nothing more than a LAN connection and some headphones, Russia’s producers started forging beats akin to their hip-hop, dubstep and house-informed peers in places like Los Angeles, London and Chicago. A handful of these have become increasingly visible, but the details of their scene remain unclear.
Beyond the initial flashes of Russian-made beats that appeared across the web, the release of the Fly Russia compilation in 2010 made for the scene’s first substantial push beyond its own borders. A joint collaboration between the now-largely inactive Siberian collective/blog/label Gimme5 and the Italian Error Broadcast imprint, Fly Russia gathered up an impressive roster of homegrown producers, showcasing 16 burgeoning talents across 17 tracks of leftfield beatwork. For many, the comp served as Wikipedia-type intro to the names that would become the group’s most prominent ambassadors—Pixelord, DZA, and Nocow among them.
While paying homage to the foundation layers of Lapti, RAD and co, there’s also some untouched talent. Within that treasure trove of Ruskie beatsmiths is Unbroken Dub. A graduate from Red Bull Academy’s Moscow wing, he’s since landed releases on Germany’s Rawax imprint and Delsin Records from Amsterdam.
Before flitting over to the Boiler Room Moscow session page, take a glimpse at some of Unbroken Dub’s choice Russian musical exports.
Shine Grooves – “A1”
“The track starts a sole sub kick before the acid line kicks in after roughly a minute. This is one of my favourites for DJ sets because its so empty for so long but then hits you with a strong acid energy.”
Anton Zap – “Spain”
“Druggy, infatuating house from the Outside EP from 2009. I’ve always loved the weird sounds that he combines here to keep things interesting”.
SCSI-9 – “Location 1”
“This one’s so trippy and also happens to be the longest track on the 2004 Location Unknown EP on Tyrant. This group has always been really dedicated to minimal house and have an overlooked, yet great label of their own called Pro-Tez Records, which has been around since 2005.”
TMO – “Acid Jam”
“I’ve still never heard acid music like this and I want more. Very groovy work from the Moscow-based DJ and producer, Leonid Lipelis.”
Brother G – “Learning Curves”
Hometown: Kiev, Ukraine
“Released on Rawax, where my music was released too. There’s something about the kick pattern and there’s undeniable groove here.”
Nocow – “Solstice”
Hometown: Saint Petersburg
“Super nice melody from one of St. P’s main men.”
Unbalance – “Rhythm Slave”
“Most definitely one of my favourite efforts from Unbalance. It’s quite psychedelic and entrancing from start to finish.”
Head over to the Boiler Room Moscow session page to find out more about our imminent trip to the Russian capital.
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