The sheer plethora of fundraising releases for Ukraine can be overwhelming, from single tracks by music stars such as Sakamato to monster compilation just shy of 200 tracks. The music world has reacted quickly, with the first releases, like Gost Zvuk’s Stop the War! coming out a mere two days after Russia’s invasion.
Proceeds are going to different causes, ranging from the Red Cross to BIPoC, LGBTQIA+, and other marginalised communities and individuals.
The following list is just a selection. A Closer Listen has already reviewed, or featured, a number of compilations, with some of the Ukrainian releases scheduled as part of future interviews for the ongoing Ukrainian Field Notes series.
Considering how eclectic some of the compilations are, rather than grouping them by genre, they’re listed by country, to give a sense of the flow of Ukrainian refugees, after the EU Commission activated a Temporary Protection Directive for People Fleeing War in Ukraine.
To avoid Bandcamp charges, some of the labels offer a download code against a screenshot of a donation to the cause of their choice.
BELGIUM – Number of refugees from Ukraine: 10,000
Together for Ukraine! // Label: Exhale Records // Tracks: 14 // Cause: Ministry Of Social Policy (UA)
Spearheaded by Amelie Lens, Exhale Records gathers its long-standing residents and techno trailblazers alike to stand together with Ukraine in an extensive compilation that includes the likes of Sara Landry, Paula Temple and ANNA & Wehbba. Classic techno fused with a fast futuristic edge by the advocates of the underground.
Electronic Resistance – A Darkwave / Post-Punk Compilation From The Ukrainian Underground // Label: Side-Line Magazine // Tracks: 55 // Cause: The artists and humanitarian cause of their choice
Various darkwave projects of Ukraine on a colossal compilation by the oldest industrial label/magazine from Brussels.
“The compilation features artists from all over Ukraine, from Odesa, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Mariupol, etc.. Many of them are right now in the frontline, or help in all kinds of services from the fire department to field hospitals. Others are distributing food, others have been forced out of their destroyed homes. All donations will go to the bands involved and/or a humanitarian project of their choice.”
Support Ukraine – Fundraiser VA // Label: U4E // Tracks: 20 // Cause: Come Back Alive
“War against a foreign country only happens when moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it”.
We can keep quoting Orwell, as power hungry, petty men fill the world with greed and ashes. Wise warriors avoid battle, and leaders are meant to lead by example, not force, not violence. In the midst of every chaos, there is opportunity. For kindness, for solidarity, for kinship. European clubs, venues, promotors, artists, labels are uniting the rave scene to raise funds for the people of Ukraine who deserve better. Art isn’t made to decorate apartments, but to move, to propel, to create new realities. The Underground Dances United.
CZECHIA – Number of refugees from Ukraine: 300,000
4UA // Label: Unizone // Tracks: 19 // Cause: UA Hospitals; Support Ukrainians with disabilities during the war
“Broken post-club-rave and atmospheric hyper-pop”, as defined by Ukraine’s 20ftradio. To help us unpack this heteroclitic compilation, we’ve asked Jan Macháček (the label’s co-founder together with DJ notsureyet) to tell us how 4UA came about, and to trace their connections with the Ukrainian scene.
“We are UNIZONE, a Prague-based label and radio show formed in 2019. Our main focus is hybrid club sounds, but we are more and more flowing into the field of experimental and abstract music with a rich sound design, so I guess “hybrid electronics” label is a pretty nice description of what we do.
I think Ukraine used to be well-known mainly for its techno scene, but there is so much more than just that. Just to name a few of my favourite Ukrainian or Ukrainian-born producers: Katarina Gryvul, John Object, Ivan Skoryna, ARSWASTAKEN… I have quite a list of interesting names!
The whole process [of curating the compilation] was extremely fast (and a bit furious too). We wanted to help at least a little – it was very spontaneous and kind of a natural choice. Since we haven’t had any Ukrainian artists on the roster that we could directly support, we decided for the compilation.
So we contacted artists the same day the Russian occupation of Ukraine started. Luckily, we asked 10 artists and all of them immediately agreed. The next day, another 9 artists were after some kind of an “open call”. Honestly, I’m still shocked to hear how the release works well together, especially when it’s collected mostly from tracks which were already done (or almost finished) and when the only framing was “Czech/Czechia-based electronic music producers”. It is very diverse, yet still compact.” [Jan Macháček aka Ancestral Vision]
DENMARK – Number of refugees from Ukraine: 24,000
May The Embers Of Resistance Burn Fierce And Bright // Label: Janushoved // Tracks: 38 // Cause: The Red Cross
A carefully judged interplay of drones and field recordings, analog tape hiss and quivering piano lines balanced in a liminal state. Drawing from the aesthetics of cold ambient, this is the product of darkness in which lives are lived, an elegiac tribute in decayed form and ghostly echoes by the Danish label. In praise of shadows.
FINLAND – Number of refugees from Ukraine: 16,000
Music for Ukraine // Label: we jazz records // Tracks: 26 // Cause: Finnish Red Cross
“We just wanted to do something instead of nothing and it was a natural idea for us to connect with the artists on our label. I thought many of them probably have great music ready to send and so it was! The 26 tracks herein were compiled in 3 days. The audience response has been equally heartwarming and thanks to both our artists and our loyal supporters, we have already been able to donate close to 10,000 € to humanitarian aid in Ukraine via the Finnish Red Cross.” [Matti Nives]
FRANCE – Number of refugees from Ukraine: 45,000
#SaveUkraine // Label: Kalamine Records // Tracks: 85 // Cause: The International Committee of the Red Cross
From ambient with an experimental bent, laced with archive recordings (HF, Eumourner, Tribe of Astronauts, Roberto Vodanović Copor), to the uplifting grooves of Toxic Derwish (chaotic by nature, structured by design), #SaveUkraine’s centre of gravity resides somewhere between Germany, France, and the US. Noise meets drone meets electronica meets post-punk meets modern classical with tracks reaching the 27 minutes mark. A sonic Frankenstein running amok.
GEORGIA – Number of refugees from Ukraine: N/A
“…for my Ukraine” // Label: Giraffe Tapes // Tracks 27 // Cause: Nova Ukraine / Razom / Unicef
Label head Oleksandr Demianenko was born in Myrhorod, Central Ukraine. He works with painting, music, photography and has released 4 albums all on tape with a new one forthcoming on Psychic Liberation. He moved to Georgia over seven years ago, after promising his girlfriend (2 days after they met) that he would be back.
We reached out to hear about life back in his hometown and how the compilation came about.
Russian missiles repeatedly fall on the military airfield in Myrhorod. My house and my mother are 2 km from it. Air raid alerts sound 3-8 times a day. Everyday. As soon as you come home – you hear a siren and you have to run to the basement again. But the spirit of the people is at the highest level – all as one! Now, I’m trying to persuade my mother to come here to Tbilisi, but she feels her mission is to help the Ukrainian army and is in no hurry to flee the country – every day she says to me “maybe tomorrow”.
From the first day of the war, I have been doing everything I can to help my country, and from the very beginning I thought about releasing a compilation – but at first I thought a lot about how to speed up the production process of tapes (I have a rather complicated production scheme with manual printing, etc. – the tapes cross the ocean a couple of times before the final product reaches its destination).
But then I found a compromise – I promised myself to release limited tapes after Ukraine wins and for now to just release them in digital format. Then everything went very quickly, thanks to the artists and friendly labels. I didn’t want to deviate too much from the sound of Giraffe Tapes, so I wrote both to all the artists from the label’s roster, and to Georgian artists under the guidance of CES Records labelhead sTia. At the same time, I also wrote to my favorite artists and friends whose music is on my shelves. 4-5 days later we had 27 tracks.
Thanks are due to James Edward Armstrong and Giorgi Koridze for mastering.
СЛАВА УКРАЇНІ // Label: Your Character // Tracks 38 // Cause: Ukrainian organizations (Not specified)
Another international project, СЛАВА УКРАЇНІ, reunites 38 artists from Argentina to the UK. Hard hitting and intense sick techno, old school trance and electro beats, punctuated by happy and melancholic vibes, courtesy of the Tbilisi producer Krawai, and the left field take from Insane Blind, also from Georgia. There is a light that shines through the tracks.
GERMANY – Number of refugees from Ukraine: 310,000
Cohesion features previously unreleased material, newly recorded tracks, and hidden treasures from the album’s roster. There’s vintage Nadja and trademark Aidan Baker, next to the bass drones and electronic soundscapes of Agate Rollings (Alessandro Sgarito and Stefano Gallone). Other highlights include Demetrio Cecchitelli’s amplified classical guitar, Tegh’s warm analogue layered sound and Karen Willems understated musical ethnography with an industrial touch. Fragile by nature and conviction.
First Aid For Ukraine // Label: Guerrilla Bizarre // Tracks: 69 // Cause: Red Cross
“This should have been a simple VA compilation, but now looks more like a megapack because of the overwhelming response that we received. A megapack of underground electronic music. Free, not bound by style or genre, and yet recognizably à la Guerilla Bizarre: you’ll come across minimal techno soundscapes, ambient experiments, spacy house grooves, razor-edged breaks and much more. But perhaps the most impressive contribution comes from Koloniari, who was able to send us his track Control from Kyiv, where he resides, despite the current situation.”
Надія в єдності / Hope In Unity VA // Label: HÖR Music // Tracks: 27 // Cause: Bridges Over Borders Berlin – a community-based collective of fellow artists and volunteers that aims to support BIPoC, LGBTQIA+, and other marginalized individuals.
Charity compilation from the main radio bastion of Berlin techno – club beat-lines, atmospheric breaks and punchy rhythms. HÖR has done a lot to showcase Ukrainian talent in recent years, and was quick to stage emergency fundraising events on its YouTube channel. One of the best examples of how the techno scene can come together and show solidarity.
Grooves for Ukraine // Label: Grooves for Ukraine // Tracks: 17 // Cause: Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe
A hard hitting rhythmic journey, from the obtuse angles and intense physicality of Peder Mannerfelt to the propulsive and yet soothing nocturnal sound of Barker & JakoJako. This is very much a Berlin centric reconnaissance party still open to relative newcomers like Alarico hailing from Bergamo, Italy.
International Chromies Vol. 10 // Label: International Chrome // Number of tracks: 10 // Cause: Ukrainian Red Cross; Support black people fleeing Ukraine
“100% of the money we take for this release will be directed to the Ukrainian Red Cross and other charities working with people displaced by the war in Ukraine. As this is an ever-changing situation we’ll send the money to wherever we think needs the most help at the time we send it, and will be prioritising those working with POC who are experiencing extra difficulties at border crossings – if you can afford to do so we encourage donating directly as well.”
Lethal Aid // Label: X-IMAG // Tracks: 16 // Cause: The National Bank of Ukraine
A fierce and unapologetic compilation by X-IMG, the platform of dark electronics, signalling annihilation from Mova’s March of Death to STKD:999’s Final Close, whilst revelling in Survival Paradox’s syncopated black and white dance of despair and floating in Lvcerate’s Travesty of One’s Self, dripping with disquiet and measured anxiety. From Denmark to Georgia via Ukraine, Lethal Aid proves that sparks fly between worlds with the right sound.
A Permanent Vacation Dance Therapy – Fundraiser For Ukraine // Label: Permanent Vacation // Tracks: 20 // Cause: United Help Ukraine.
Rhythmic disco house therapy from an eminent German label who’ve also done fundraising compilations for Afghanistan. The project was started in 2014, after the Russian attack on Ukraine, by a small group of people who met at a protest in Washington, DC. Most, but not all, have a personal connection to Ukraine.
Protect The Sky – United Artists for Ukraine // Label: Deestricted // Tracks: 13 // Cause: Come Back Alive
The initial input for this release came from Caravel, who first suggested the idea to Deestricted, the Berlin based record label and event organisation. Being familiar with he Ukrainian techno scene, they enlisted #BSKD, aka Suicide and Paradise, and Splinter (UA) both from Ukraine, alongside Schacke, Ezy, Vixen, Tham and others, to produce a stellar slab of techno.
The Solidarity V/A is composed of twelve tracks produced by artists from all over the world. Curated by Xul Rether, the release showcases the sounds of Whistle & Klont, Marlu, Track, Jor9, Pale Blue Sky, Franco Bertoli, Kthonos, Ghost Of Black Wood, hyphonc, Yarck, Short Wave Research Group and No Sir. Each artist brings their own flavour to Solidarity V/A, with a stellar selection of 90s-influenced techno, futuristic electro, sultry EBM, experimental sounds and broken rhythms on offer While some tracks are aligned towards a heaving dancefloor, like the progressive ‘Boo’ by Marlu or the rolling ‘Light in Hell’ by Franco Bertoli, others lean into more introspective listening, like Whistle & Klont’s haunting ‘tot Putin’.
“Miami and TERR are just some of the many artists across both labels who have joined forces to spread this message. The aim is to raise as much relief as possible for two organisations close to our hearts for people who need our help right now.
Ukraine Pride and Dance Delivery are dedicated to supported Ukraine’s queer and creative communities, all of whom have seen their lives turn inside out since the Russian invasions began on February 24. Livelihoods, families and cultures torn apart. We stand with, send love to, everyone affected by this humanitarian crisis.”
Support Ukraine Compilation // Label: Toy Tracks // Tracks: 13 // Cause: The Red Cross
Dance pleasure in the style of deep house from a specialized Berlin label. Spreading positive vibes and soulful quality music polished to a glittering brilliance.
GREECE – Number of refugees from Ukraine: 16,700
Sounds Against War // Label: Ponao // Tracks: 40 // Cause: Support Hospitals in Ukraine
One of the most intricately layered and carefully curated compilations on this list, tackling the delicate art of approaching that which surpasses us. To paraphrase the late Greek poet Odysseus Elytis, the lofty vocation of music is to be found in such an intervention in the real, both penetrating and metamorphosing. In such dismal times it is good to have the widest view of things.
HUNGARY – Number of refugees from Ukraine: 428,954 (as of 11 April)
Compilation for Ukraine // Label: Dalmata Daniel // Tracks: 33 // Cause: United Help Ukraine
Drawn mostly from Budapest based electro artists, this one has a precise sense of locality. A clear and distinct panorama unfolds with primary depth and naturalist atmosphere, from Norwell’s grainy analogue textures and electronic music structures, to “the uncompromising coldwave of Hungarian minimal synth” of Cipolla Varieté, aka Új Látásmód Fúzió.
LEBANON – Number of refugees from Ukraine: N/A
Rust // Label System Revival Recordings // Tracks: 12 // Cause: Save the Children
Shifting the centre of gravity away from the US / EU axis of the majority of these compilations, the Lebanese label System Revival Recordings casts its net wide, whilst managing to retain a definite identity and produce a cohesive and sensuous sound infused by ambient and electronica.
Whypeopledance is a music platform and record label founded in 2013 in Vilnius. It is also one of the most active and tireless funderaisers outside of Ukraine. We spoke to Paulius Kamblevicius, one of its founders.
Do you have any direct connections with Ukrainian artists?
Honestly, we didn’t make many connections with artists or labels from Ukraine before the war started. Our closest friend in Ukraine is Igor, aka ID_UA, who recently launched the Povilno label with Maks.
However, after we launched the fundraising compilations, we had the pleasure to e-meet with Lostlojic, who seems to be very active in Ukraine’s music scene. Lostlojic runs Mystictrax and NONESIDE labels. They are now fighting for freedom, and we are standing with them. The victory is close, guys! Stay strong!
How would you qualify the experimental music scene in Ukraine in relation to neighbouring countries?
I would say it’s very interesting and unique, more bass-oriented. At least viewed from here, the impression is that Ukrainians love massive raves and stomping techno. But then again, who doesn’t? There are a lot of great producers out there, and we are hoping they are safe!
How did you manage to get over 100 artists to contribute to your fundraising compilations Why People War I and II, what has the feedback from the community been?
Everything is possible when people are united! The 1st batch was launched after 3 sleepless days with the help of a large team: 8! sound engineers, a graphic designer, a writer, WPD’s team member Jaroška and friends Koneliūnas and Florindo. The feedback is outstanding! The numbers say it all – we raised almost 10K Eur!
What is the current situation on the ground in Lithuania in terms of housing, financial aid, and visa permits, and what is the public opinion about the war?
The situation is still in control. As I mentioned, people are so united. Everybody is helping the refugees! There is enough housing, the government and charities are helping with money and food, there are no strict visa requirements, Ukraine’s brothers and sisters are very welcome here! They are being offered jobs very fast, we are looking after them, they are in safe hands!
The public is divided since the covid has started… Same with the war, but we do not hear that much from those who believed in Russian propaganda anymore. They must be ashamed now hiding as rats!
NETHERLANDS – Number of refugees from Ukraine: 21,000
VA – Music For Freedom: A Fundraiser For Ukraine // Label: Music From Memory // Tracks: 17 // Cause: Red Cross Ukraine
Famous dutch imprint with a delightful selection of artists – soothing synth fusion, delicate boogie dub and enchanting ambient ballads, all peppered with a sprinkle of downtempo and spiked with an undercurrent of nostalgia. Its rarefied lounge atmosphere calls to a bygone era.
#StandWithUkraine // Label: SonCe Trio // Tracks: 15 // Cause: Direct aid to Ukraine
“It was the sixth day of full-scale war in Ukraine – the biggest European country, fourteen hours drive from the border of the Netherlands. My sixth night with three-hour sleeping time, my sixth morning, which starts with a message in my family chat, ‘We are alive. We survived the night.’ My good friend and colleague Michel Banabila called me to ask if I would like to collaborate with him in compiling a music album, from which all the proceedings would go to the needs of civilians standing strong protecting their home country Ukraine. I said yes and reached out to my musician friends right away.
In three days I called with my Ukrainian friends residing all over the world: Ukraine, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, United States, Poland… We need to act now. We stand together and this is what keeps us powerful. Doctors heal, cooks cook, car mechanics fix cars, snipers shoot, artists use their art to speak up – every one has its role in life and in war. We stand together!
This album compilation is so diverse and versatile – from jazz to folk, to fusion, to electronics, and all the way to contemporary classical music. This is my Ukraine: colorful, talented, strong, deep, fun, hopeful, full of love.” [Maryana Golovchenko, March 4th, 2022]
NORWAY – Number of refugees from Ukraine: 11,000
Around The Tree Of Peace // Label: Monument // Tracks: 16 // Cause: The Norwegian Refugee Council
Eight years on from taking part in the 2014 fundraiser album Grassroots: United Over Ukraine, in aid of the Maidan movement, Semantica resident Svreca finds himself contributing to yet another fundraiser with a foreboding new version of the 2011 track Jade, full of menace, darkening skies and rumbling thunder.
But it’s a slice of dark ambient by co-label manager Monodogue that opens proceedings, before Monument’s journey Around The Tree glides into a groove by picking up tempo in Tbilisi courtesy of Saphileaum. This is an album that confounds expectations, constantly wrong footing the listener lulled into a false sense of security by appeasing electronica, before taking sharp turns into deep and minimalist art via hypnotic beats. Carefully constructed tectonic shifts.
POLAND – Number of refugees from Ukraine: 2,5 million
Drawing from the Zagovary tradition, a form of verbal folk magic, Darja Kazimira conjures the chthonic deity of Mother Raw-Earth, In Матінка Сира-Земля, calling on the Ukrainian protector goddess. With a glittering overflow of energy, For Ocalenie mixes confusion and anger, melancholy and rage in a carefully constructed dialogue, with contributions raging from Ukraine to Bulgaria and from Georgia to Poland, bookended by the fragile ambient quality of the Leopolitan artist ногируки.
PL2UA // Tracks: 93 // Cause: Open Dialogue
Being presented with the daunting task of tackling 93 tracks might engender ambivalence, surfacing in the shape of restlessness and anxiety. But the presence of some of the best names from the experimental Polish scene such as We Will Fail, Lutto Lento, Souvenir de Tanger, Pleq, and Szuszkiewicz / Zemler, alongside Slovak colleagues like Dead Janitor and Stroon should dispel any apprehension. This is a surprisingly solid compilation, looking at the uncertainty of human faith and prospects with a light touch and healthy dose of humour.
Sunflowers (Opus Elefantum & Friends for Ukraine) // Label: Opus Elefantum // Tracks: 17 // Cause: Fundacja Ocalenie
Understated and unpretentious, lo-fi ambient compilation with beats by a small and unassuming label. In the face of fear and anxiety, Sunflowers attempts to bring peace of mind with a soft touch and a gentle breeze of piano notes that unforgiving loops cannot mask. A steely resilience covers wounds that run deep. Discordant intermissions arise from feelings of insecurity but in the end it’s the quieter sounds that remain on the surface.
Quirky sampledelic house and hauntological downtempo compilation that doesn’t take itself too seriously and doesn’t outstay its welcome. There’s fun to be had, for those with the propensity to seek beauty in darkness. Pride of place is taken by ETNOBOTANIKA – a duo of producers from Ruda Śląska, with eyes and ears turned to the hauntological scraps of the past – fragments of old Polish movies, communist era TV series, excerpts from half-forgotten Polish songs.
Various Artists – Utopia // Label: Miejsca w techno, gdzie… / MWTG // Tracks: 12 // Cause: Polska Akcja Humanitarna (PAH)
Several days ago the demons of war awoke. We thought we had come to live in peaceful times. Locked in our own bubbles. Focused on the pursuit of an idealised world full of consumption and entertainment. But something broke. A bestial attack on Ukrainian civilians took place next to us. We realised then that not everything we know is given to us forever. Therefore, with modest means, we want to make a contribution to help the victims of war, who are mainly women and children.
W snach widzę spokojny Wschód / In my dreams I see a peaceful East // Label: Fundacja Palma // Number of tracks: 9 // Cause: Gdańsk Helps Ukraine
So taken were we by W snach widzę spokojny Wschód, one of the warmest and empathetic compilations on here, that we decided to have a chat with the people behind it.
“We created the Palma Foundation in 2017 and we are based in Gdańsk. We organize cultural events, connected to the history of the city, but also to the Wrzeszcz district, where we live: workshops, secret-concerts or radio plays, touristic walks. Last year we published “Architectural Guide to Wrzeszcz” to show amazing routes outside the main historical city centre. We don’t have special connections with artists from Ukraine, but we listen to their music, especially from labels such as Muscut, Standard Deviation, but also reissues of recordings released in the 90s by Koka Records.
I think that, like any scene, [the experimental music scene in Ukraine] is very diverse and it depends on what you like the most about it. In the western discourse, when people talk about eastern music, they tend to talk about folk bands that refer to the tradition in some way – hence the popularity of a band like DakhaBrakha, which we really liked when we first heard them. Personally, however, I am interested in works at the crossroads of avant-garde, experiment and song: recordings of such artists as Svetlana Nianio or Valentina Goncharova on the one hand, and, on the other, contemporary experiments of Nikolaienko or Katarina Gryvul, who are outstanding in creating their own original worlds.
Our compilation was created very spontaneously – on February 25th we came up with the idea and contacted some friendly musicians – as Stefan Wesołowski, Emiter, Olga Markowska, Immortal Onion or Bled – from Gdańsk and surroundings, and 3 days later we had the whole set of songs ready. We also spontaneously chose a cause to support, the “Come Back Alive” Foundation to support Ukraine at the front. However, in the following weeks more and more refugees started arriving in Poland – first of all in the capital, then also in Gdańsk. Our city authorities reacted very quickly by providing accommodation and material support, but more support is still needed. That’s why we came to the conclusion that as people and the music scene from Gdańsk, we must now support the aid for Ukraine here.” [Jakub Knera]
A number of artists on these compilations forged personal connections with the Ukrainian music scene. Amongst them is Marco Shuttle who also released his own fundraising EP. Of his experience he writes, “Everybody who was lucky enough to go playing or clubbing to Ukraine knows very well what a special experience that was, personally I can easily say that it has been my favourite place in Europe to play in the last years and I feel extremely grateful to this land and its people for the happiness they gave me…” Here he gives some of the happiness back alongside other 33 artists from the world over.
UKRAINE – Internally Displaced People: 7.1 million [Data from IOM – International Organization for Migration]
AZOV // Label: Mystictrax // Tracks: 6 // Cause: Ukrainian Defence Force
Ukrainian musicians are taking part in the war against the Russian occupier: someone on the front line in the army, territorial defense of their hometown, someone helping to relocate people to safe places. We decided to collect tracks of freedom and direct funds to the needs of the Ukrainian army forces. Osonnya & Whaler, Rugo, Rostyslax, Loweast, Korper & Distortion (UA), Decorodi. Join the resistance!
Sounds Of Survival From Ukrainian Underground // Tracks: 15 // Cause: name your price release in aid of humanitarian help for the people in Ukraine with a list of suggested fundraising NGOs.
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.
Together With Ukraine // Label: Together With Ukraine // Tracks: 136 // Cause: Ukrainian Red Cross Society.
A cross country collaboration of over 100 producers, artists and volunteers, with a goal of uniting the music community in support of Ukraine. 136 choice cuts from across the Drum & Bass and wider Bass Music spectrum organised in alphabetical order from A Sides to Zero T with art direction by uno.graphics. Massive.
WHNZ:74:WAR // Label: We Have No Zen! // Tracks: 40 // Cause: Ukraine Armed Forces
Pasolini is the go-to heavyweight when it comes to adding gravitas to a project, but in the case of Fabio Orsi’s contribution, Da Ragazzo, his words become poignant. Orsi weaves into his signature ambient soundscape a looped audio clip from a 1971 interview with Enzo Biagi, where Pasolini talks about consumer society. “In my youth I believed in revolution,” – he says, “just like the youth of today, but now this belief is waning. I’ve become apocalyptic,” he adds, “I see in front of me a world of suffering, and an increasingly ugly one.”
Originally conceived as a compilation of words of support to the Ukrainian people, this album gives personal and diverse responses to what could be seen as “the soundtrack to a newsfeed from Ukraine.”
Various Artists 01 // Label: ШЩЦ (SHITS) // Tracks: 23 // Cause: The volunteers who help Kyiv’s Civic Defence.
A rerelease of a 2019 album speaking of more promising times when Ukrainian artists were revelling in a febrile and creative atmosphere they compared to the one of the UK in the 90s. Sadly it reads like a message in a bottle from a bygone era.
Various Artists 02 // Label: ШЩЦ (SHITS) // Tracks: 17 // Cause: The volunteers who help Kyiv’s Civic Defence.
Music by experimental and forward-thinking Ukrainian electronic artists on the second fundraising compilation from the ШЩЦ label. Luminous vibes and freshly crafted tones from a society under siege.
War changes everything around you: your home, circle of friends, your attitude to many things. But one thing is clear: the aggressor came to kill you, so you have to fight for the existence. Therefore, we call to the world not to be afraid and to support the army, that often at the cost of own life’s defends the borders of good from evil.
UK – Number of refugees from Ukraine: 12,000 out of 79,800 visa applications received and 40,900 visas issued.
Club Unity // Label: Haŵs // Tracks: 25 // Cause: With Ukraine
“It contains a diverse feast of artists that inspire us, and tracks that make you feel. Signature Haŵs vibrations touching on prog, trance and even reaching the realms of the jungle. But most importantly, all proceeds will go to the incredible platform ‘WithUkraine’, which consolidates international efforts in raising funds to provide humanitarian support to Ukraine and its people.”
LOBSTER PLUR Volume 5 // Label: Lobster Theremin //Tracks: 20 // Cause: The Ukrainian relief effort (unspecified)
Quality selection of house slices and techno tracks from a trusted label. And good to see Poly Chain making an appearance with Thayer’s Law (a method of camouflage in which an animal’s coloration is darker on the upper side and lighter on the underside of the body). Having fled Kyiv at the start of the war for Berlin, Sasha Zakrevska has kept active releasing the EP Dogtooth on Dom Trojga, whilst also curating fund-raising compilations with Lostlojic and Omon Breaker for Mystictrax.
Natural Selection: In Aid Of Ukraine // Label: Natural Selection // Tracks: 33 // Come Back Alive
Raw underground electronics by the likes of Alex Schultz, the techno producer from Odessa, who opens the album with Day One. There’s a dystopian quality permeating this compilation by the London based label with Cluster Lizard, the interdisciplinary mixed media project by Ukrainian artists Dmytro Fedorenko and Kateryna Zavoloka, suggesting that Being Alive Isn’t Everything. The immediacy and urgency is compounded by Religia with Morning Invasion. A timely release.
How did you manage to gather 48 tracks by March the 4th and how did you go about curating the compilation? I expect most of the tracks come from the artists’ archives or are there any unrelated and original compositions?
My friend Antony Harrison (Konntinent) mailed me about whether we could do something to raise money and support the children of Ukraine the weekend the attack began. After speaking to many friends on the Monday after returning from an isolated weekend away recording, I decided to invite close artist friends to create or submit original tracks for. The reaction was incredible with artists providing original tracks within 48 hours.
How did you select UNICEF as a cause?
Again this was a suggestion from Antony. My wife and I talked about what direction would be good to take, as we had done during the Tohoku earthquake when we lived in Japan. Antony’s suggestion to support the children specifically was something we felt was clearly the right path. UNICEF’s work is very well researched, informed and most importantly, rapid.
You’ve mastered the album yourself, with polished clarity of sound. Considering the time constraints, this must have meant working round the clock?
Yeah I was up for four days and nights in the end contacting artists, mastering and curating in time for Bandcamp Friday. But the whole time I was constantly in touch with the artists who are all close friends, and who kept me focused to get it done in time. Whilst mastering is my day to day job, this was a challenge but a welcome one.
What has the feedback been so far?
Incredible, truly. We’ve raised close to £7,000 before releasing on streaming platforms alone. We even got some feedback from the UNICEF program media team who have kept us up to date with where the donations have gone to. Whilst it is easy to feel helpless in such an awful situation, coming together like this from artists to supporters for this cause gives a tiny amount of hope and optimism. [Ian Hawgood]
Resist // Label: Braindance News Community // Tracks: 75 // Cause: DEC Disasters Emergency Committee
Comprising of 70+ 90 second contributions on the theme of resistance this could be considered a concept album. Inclusivity being the backbone of this project, everything received by the Braindance News Community was accepted and mastered together. In Utopias and the Welfare State, the Late British MP Tony Benn wrote, “I don’t believe that utopia is the name of a train station and that I have a ticket for it.” Resist, might be attempting to board that train.
Slava Ukraini! // Label: House of Mythology // Tracks 23 // Cause: The International Committee of the Red Cross.
Unashamedly melodious and kind, eccentric and capricious, wayward and impenetrable (but always in a good way), and above all unbridled and uncontrollable, Slava Ukraini unleashes unreleased tracks by the House of Mythology alumni, fugitives from the ‘epoch of universalised conformity’. This is an album that voices the overwhelming feeling of losing a hold on the present, but rather than leading to a wilting of the political will, it calls for a radical change in the state of human affairs.
Stand With Ukraine // Label: <1 // Tracks: 48 // Cause: The Red Cross
From ambient to dub, via noise and drone. Articulating strife through hushed tones and piercing sounds leading to divergent paths. Woken by blurred voices, with screams made corporeal.
The Sound Of Now / Music for Ukraine // 12 tracks // Cause: A charity compilation with all sales being split between the Red Cross and Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).
Just over an hour of mellow, dub, house, and Balearic downtempo.
USA – Number of refugees from Ukraine: 690
For Ukraine (Volume 1) // Tracks: 23 // Label: Headphone Commute // Cause: International Rescue Committee
Sometimes there are words to describe all the outrage. Sometimes there are protests with signs that are blank. On the first volume of this benefit compilation, a diverse representation of musicians from ambient and modern classical communities come together to speak with their music.
For Peace. Against War. Who Is Not? A Compilation For The People Of Ukraine // Label: Component Recordings // Tracks: 199 // Cause: Vostok SOS and Ukrainian Red Cross
A mammoth one just shy of 200 tracks roughly grouped by genre, from ambient to noise and every shade in between, gathered from an open call encouraging “everyone from everywhere to submit, and especially those from underrepresented communities, from the global south, minorities, female identifying artists, LGBTIQ*-artists.”
There are familiar names to ACL readers here, such as Scanner, Machinefabriek, and Marc Behrens. Rummaging will also bring up a cluster of intriguing electroacoustic tracks, alongside improvised music contributions by stalwarts, such as writer, musician and Sub Jam label runner Yan Jun (China). It can be unsettling at times, with some of the tracks especially resonant, like the eerie Kyiv Shelters by Dead Shall Not Have Died in Vain.
Portals: Energostatic (For Ukraine) // Label: A Strangely Isolated Place // Tracks: 11
Cause: Save The Children and their specific activities supporting Ukraine at this time.
Ambient and drifting dub techno selected by A Strangely Isolated Place from the Ukrainian netlabel Energostatic Records’ back catalogue (2008-2017) run by Marian Kitsenko aka Marc Atmost and remastered by Rafael Anton Irisarri. Lovingly put together by ASIP who explain their curatorial choices here.
RUNE: We Stand With Ukraine (Fundraising Compilation) // Label: Rune Recordings // Track: 50 // Cause: UNICEF and the Ukrainian Army
Today, we are releasing our Fundraising Compilation, consisting of some of the most prolific tracks we’ve released to date. 100% of all sales will be donated to the United Nations Children’s Fund, as well as towards the needs of the heroes of the Ukrainian Army.
We Stand With Ukraine // Label: Eastbloc Sound // Tracks: 64 // Cause: Genderz (supporting LGBTQI+ Ukrainians); FIGHT FOR RIGHT (for the rights of people with disabilities in Ukraine); Chuffed (Ukraine: help Roma access humanitarian aid) Білкіс.
One of the most active platforms in the promotion of Eastern European sound and music, a community full of radical and varied sounds from the former Eastern bloc, working to bring together a network of people in the region and its diaspora. Aside from having produced one of the best compilations, the Eastbloc Alliance have also set up an open spreadsheet of artists supporting Ukraine.
The artwork for We Stand With Ukraine is an homage to Mariya Oksentiyivna Prymachenko depicting the creature from her 1978 painting: “May That Nuclear War Be Cursed!”