Ukrainian Field Notes XV

artwork by Mariia Primachenko

We’ve broken another milestone here at Ukrainian Field Notes, with 100+ interviews to date. Once again, thanks are due to all who entrusted us with their stories.

We’ve also featured a number of pets and, for episode XV, we meet the Mariupol born Ginger, while talking post-industrial music with Ship Her Son in Lviv. Meanwhile Bunht discusses Herman Hesse in Petropavlivska Borschahivka, and Bejenec tries to make ends meet in Warsaw, having lost both his home back in 2014 and now his livelihood.

We also hear Del Cano musing on the late Jean-Luc Godard and Medium discuss drum and bass while Andrii Sichkovsky (aka Olympic Snow) debunks the traditional narrative of Odesa being founded by the Russian empire.

Downtempo is provided both by Povlino Records, now based in Germany, and Cepasa, who reminisces on a chilled live set on the shores of the Azov Sea.

Over the past seven months we have covered most genres, sticking mostly to instrumental music as per our remit. Jurij Josyfovych is one of a number of exceptions we’ve made, combining traditional folk songs with electronics.

And to round up our interviews, Artem Ikra recommends “memetherapy” for the masses!

As customary we feature a couple of new releases (Habal Garmin by Casa Ukrania, and the collaborative two track EP Ataka by Liza Aikin and Zavoloka), as well as the obligatory fundraising compilations and a selection of the best podcast and mixes from former, and hopefully future guests, including Svitlana Nianio, Nina Eba, Mystictrax, Alien Body, Koloah, and Andrey Kiritchenko.

For our viewing room we have a session with brainhack_musicbox and a video by Ukraїner about Khortytsia, the largest island on the Dnieper, below the Dnipro Hydroelectric Power Plant in Zaporizhzhia as recommended by Cepasa.

But to begin with, we have the latest UFN podcast for Resonance FM with Nata and Leonid from Casa Ukrania taking in the recent shellings of October 10 as well as the controversy surrounding the Nobel Peace Prize.

Tracklist:

Misha Ziganoff – Oi oi di Koilen
Casa Ukrania – Trunok u Darunok
58918012 – Previous Experience (background)
Undo Despot – Asterisk

05:AM – Hats & Snares (background)

The House of the Hidden Light – The Abducted Automaton.
05:AM – CH8 (background)
Polje – Maliunok
05:AM – NNM (background)
Casa Ukrania – Dalnyk

05:AM – Odesa Winter (background)

Ginger Snap5 – Zaida
58918012 – Roar of the Skies (background)

Misha Ziganoff (reprise)
Casa Ukrania – Krov Moia (Acoustic)

 

OCTOBER 13 2022 – LVIV

Ship Her Son

So, my name is Anton, I was born and raised in Dnipro and moved to Lviv seven years ago. For almost half of my life, I’ve been working as a designer with a big bag of music-related works and collaborations. It started with musical fan art, fan sites, and wallpapers. I loved Rammstein and began to dig into the post-industrial scene so such acts as Wumpscut, Skinny Puppy, Front 242, Combichrist, KMFDM, Laibach, Feindflug, and others were in my player since high school. Later in university, I switched to Swans, Neubauten, and the post-metal scene.

With friends, we started to organize trip-hop parties in Dnipro. Then came the Module club and a big community started its formation. I met a lot of musicians, helped them with graphics and covers, gathered too deep in underground music life, and in the end tried Ableton on the first covid lockdown.

What is your setup and what would you say is the dominant feature of your sound?

My setup is pretty lightweight – laptop, Ableton Push, audio interface, and electric guitar, which I rarely use in arrangements. Tight kicks, aggressive basslines, four-on-the-floor, danceability, irony, someone speaks in German. I’m thinking of killing the last feature in the list because it’s too dominant.

You described your latest EP, Alles Wird Gut, as a complete story about the crisis state of man and his worldview, where there is still some room for irony and hope. Irony does indeed seem to be an integral ingredient of your sound. How do you manage to retain your sense of humour and not be sad under present circumstances and what did your worldview shift, if at all, since February 24?



Humor is one of the body’s defensive reactions to what’s going on. You should not lose it to keep your head in normal mental condition. There were mental swings when during the day you could feel absolutely the whole range of emotions from complete despair to hysterical laughter. The spirit of the Ukrainians, doing something useful, the joy from some positive news – everything helped the head to stabilize. I waited for the moment when the condition was close to my usual worldview in order to continue my ideas.


Eugene Kasian from Kurs Valüt acted as the sound engineer on Alles Wird Gut, whilst also having to change locations and volunteering. Was there ever a time when you thought you would not be able to finish and release the album?



Eugene with me from my first releases and I really depend on him because no one knows better what to do with my tracks. There was no rush or release date so this album could wait until any date Eugene could do his job. When you’re releasing your music in Ukraine in 2022 it’s pretty unnecessary to plan some perfect release date or plan anything else.

Would any of your albums retain their post-industrial sound, were you to re-record them in Ukrainian?

Voices in my music are just additional instruments in the mix, so yes, sure, this sound works very well with the Ukrainian language, it’s perfectly proven by Kurs Valüt, Tucha and others. Currently, I think that this text-to-speech robotic era should be finished because I told everything I want in German and need to move forward. The Ukrainian track is already in progress. I like the Massive Attack format when you have a lot of guest vocalists on the release in the mix with your own vocals. Wanna try something similar. It’s definitely a lot more work than translating something in German and generating a speech, but I’m in no rush with my music.

Does your work as a designer inform your musical practice and vice versa?



Yeah, actually I’m thinking more like a designer than a musician when composing my music. It’s like a file with layers or the design system, but you have sounds and instruments on the artboard instead of images and UI elements. Instrument selection reminds me of font selection sometimes. I see a bunch of similarities between track creation and design practices and principles. You will get a finished composition in the end in both spheres. The main difference is that design is more user-oriented, and music is more artist-oriented if we speak about indie and underground.

Dnipro Center For Contemporary Culture

Have both your relationship to music and your playlist changed since the full-scale invasion?

When my favorite band announced their new single at the beginning of March it was like, “I don’t care”. I started to listen to music again in the middle of March, my usual Spotify daily mixes and some new albums. I banned russian music forever and when I see some suggestions of another post-punkish russian band that sounds like all other bands I ask them to stop recommending this shit immediately. I loved and listened to a few bands, but now they are all gone even if the singer has been dead for decades. As for genres and moods – nothing actually changed.

Should Tommy Wiseau ask you to score his next film, what sort of soundtrack would you come up with?


It could be something minimalistic, suspenseful, sick, and absolutely not fitting with a picture. Like you put the Midsommar OST into The Room.

What impact has the war had on you both personally and professionally?



I had to relearn how to do my official job and how to compose tunes. I reconsidered many values, and the importance of some things, realized what I was wrong about before, and admired what a great country and nation we have.

The Fifth Day of the War

What is the name of your dog and how has he/she reacted to the war, the explosions and the air raid sirens?


His name is Ginger and he was born in Mariupol. When he was a pup we went to the dog school for socialization and our trainer turned on some loud ambient sounds while we fed him with yummies. So now he absolutely doesn’t give a fuck about sirens and explosions. Usually, he doesn’t even wake up when the siren starts.

Where are you now and have you been able to tour at all since the full-scale invasion?



I’m in Lviv, with my spouse and dog. There was a charity tour by the Kyiv-based label and promoter WornPop related to the Rukh compilation series with live performances in Germany, Denmark, and Sweden. Also, there were a few events in Lviv, Kyiv, and Dnipro. Maybe some additional dates will come soon.

According to figures quoted by Ukrainska Pravda, “Russian troops used 84 cruise missiles and 24 unmanned aerial vehicles against peaceful cities in Ukraine on the morning of October 10. What is the current mood on the ground in Lviv?


The last time until 10/10 in Lviv we heard sounds of explosions in April. Also, people stopped paying attention to the sirens, which sounded no more than once a week. So this was like a forgotten feeling. What I could say is that we stop feeling fear like it was on Feb 24 and it doesn’t reflect on the mood too much. The day was without electricity, the network was down so people went for a walk or read some books instead of feed scrolling. These people cannot be broken by any missiles. russians can stick these rockets up their asses and this will be more profitable. Our utilities are real superheroes, they restored everything by the evening after huge explosions.

Is there anything about the way the war has been covered in the West that you find problematic and / or is there anything you wish the West would stop asking?

In the first months of the war when famous people started to share their thoughts and rays of peace I was triggered by the cute combination of Ukrainian and russian flags in emojis or photos – that’s a really superbad message and no one liked it. I’m pretty tired of these pacific signs and doves of peace and don’t want to listen to Imagine-like narratives, it’s genocide guys, not a conflict between brothers organized by a third party.

Stop being afraid of putin, he is not a supervillain with all his nuclear threats, he’s not powerful, he’s just a diarrhea that needs to be flushed. russian propaganda is a powerful machine, just look at what Roger Waters and Elon Musk posted and don’t do it like them. The map from the 2012 election, what bullshit! Always check what you see and just keep in mind that Ukrainians know better what is happening in Ukraine than 18-year-old communists from the West. Whataboutism is a bad tactic. And don’t even think about asking anything about surrendering or giving up territories, just imagine if this was about your own country or home. Stand with Ukraine, give us weapons so that we can win quicker and stop this russian cancer.

How do you unwind and what makes you laugh nowadays?

Friends, work, chats, Twitter, community, pranks, memes, memes, memes. I rarely watch anything except my newsfeed now. Meetings with friends to discuss all this shit once a week with a few bottles of wine work better than tv series.

Which book / film / album / traditional dish / podcast / blog / artwork / building / meme best captures Ukraine for you?

Who should I interview next and should I ask them?

Lyana Mytsko, the founder and CEO of Lviv Municipal Art Center. It was transformed into a place for the round-the-clock rest of refugees and psychological assistance.

Stepan Burban aka Palindrom – my friend, poet, and musician, author of one of this year’s best Ukrainian albums in my opinion.

 

OCTOBER 13 2022 – PETROPAVLIVSKA BORSCHAHIVKA

Bunht

My name is Yaroslav Tatarchenko, I am a musician and music producer based in Kyiv, Ukraine. 
Right now I’m releasing music under the moniker Bunht and producing for intelligent-pop band TOHKA. I have a music production studio in Kyiv, where I collaborate and work with different musicians.

You have released two albums since the full-scale invasion. How have you managed that and has music helped to keep you sane?

Music is the main thing that kept me sane since the full-scale invasion, and finishing the album inner ghosts was my bridge to get back into music in April, after two months of non-stop volunteering and working on a documentary in different parts of the country.

They were really hard times, when it all began, and I was among many artists who lost their connection with making music because there were just too many things to do which seemed much more important.

It was indeed difficult to come back to music, but the process of finishing this release, which was like 70% ready, helped me to do that. And also because of the fact that inner ghosts was about self-therapy and overcoming mental and personal problems through the music, the idea to release this album in April seemed to me very actual.

So I walked through this bridge and I realised then the importance of keeping making music in spite of everything, and the warm feedback from listeners proved it for me once again.

Is inner ghosts inspired by Herman Hesse and if so, have you discovered the meaning of life?



Yes, in some way it is really inspired by Hesse’s Narcissus and Goldmund, Steppennwolf, Demian and The Glass Bead Game. A lot of Hesse’s viewpoints resonated with my present perception of myself and my role as an artist. His work helped me a lot to clarify and strengthen my position. Not only I consider making music my goal in life but also sharing my experience and creative process with younger musicians, and Hesse helped me to lose any doubts I might’ve had.

Comprehension came out in September on Koloah’s label, Salon Imaginalis. In the linear notes you described the process as structured improvisations. Is the element of chance offered by analog gear an integral part of your practice? And is the acoustic element, in this case provided by Karen Vagradyan on violin, an essential ingredient to produce an organic sound?


The element of chance is not an integral part, but I use this approach to introduce “happy accidents” a lot.

I like both the digital and analog worlds very much. I invested a lot of time practicing technique on guitar and piano, and discovering different types of synthesis, sequencers and all this “machine” stuff, and now I’m at this stage of trying to get the best from these two worlds.

In the case of Comprehension the structured semi-random improvisations on elektron-boxes was a huge source of inspiration. Also, the guitar, bass, piano, and especially Karen Vahradyan’s violin, made these recordings more alive and more dynamic. Improvisation is very important to me in that it helps to enrich the music with true raw emotions.

But I don’t think adding acoustic instruments is essential to achieve an organic sound. There are a lot of fully synthesised and even digital-only productions which sound great, it depends more on how much soul people put into their music.

Has your relationship to music and your playlist changed since the full-scale invasion?

Not that much. I keep listening to a broad range of music depending on my current mood. I started to delve more into jazz and guitar music as of lately, because at some point I felt such a strong connection with that kind of harmonies and vibes, that I now feel inspired to make an album influenced by this type of music, only for it to sound as music in 2022 sounds like in my perception.

What impact has the war had on you both personally and professionally?

The war affected me and all of us Ukrainians in many ways. It has been a hard emotional experience that has changed our lives forever, but this is our fate now, and I hope that we will all teach each other how to live in this new reality and help one another. The main thing for me is to live absolutely in the present moment, without global plans for the future, and to perceive reality for what it is now and not as it was yesterday.

Where are you now and have you been displaced by war at any point?

At present, I’m in Petropavlivska Borschahivka, a village near Kyiv – at my home. Luckily our district wasn’t too affected by the February-March invasion and we were forced to move only for one month to the center of Kyiv.

Is there anything about the way the war has been covered in the West that you find problematic and / or is there anything you wish the West would stop asking?

The main point the West should understand is that the people of Ukraine are fighting not only for its freedom, but for the freedom of all Europe and the security in the world. That russia is a terrorist state and it is a real danger for every country in the world. That Ukrainians are absolutely different then russians. I wish the West would stop asking us to negotiate with putin’s regime. Because it is 100% useless to negotiate with a terrorist. It’s like you’ve been attacked with a bandit who cut your leg and he is asking to stay friends but he will take away your leg.

According to figures quoted by Ukrainska Pravda, “Russian troops used 84 cruise missiles and 24 unmanned aerial vehicles against peaceful cities in Ukraine on the morning of October 10.” What is the current mood on the ground in Kyiv?


Yes, Moday was a really hard day. We have just more rage in our hearts but no fear at all. Kyiv just swooned for two days and continued to move forward. No panic at all.

How do you unwind and preserve your mental health?


Music helps a lot. Especially practicing guitar, which I rediscovered in new bright ways this year. Also sport is very important. I’m making an hour run 2-3 times a week and also doing some functional workouts. And the most important is traveling — I was happy to have the opportunity to travel Europe on tour with TOHKA this summer and it helped me to reboot myself and to get new impressions and experiences.

You included voice samples of some old-school hip-hop artists in your album Unfairy Tales. Have they ever come after you for daring to do so?

I think they will never know about this. But It would be very interesting for me to get their feedback. But I’m pretty sure they would be fine with it, because hip-hop music by it-self was always sample-based. There is a moment in the life of some musicians when you become just a sample.

Which book / film / album / traditional dish / podcast / blog / artwork / building / meme best captures Ukraine for you?



You know, these days Ukraine is best captured for me in the poems of the great Vasyl Stus, who was fighting for Ukraine all his life and even the fact he spent biggest part of his life imprisoned by the soviet regime has not broke him. I really admire him and strengths of his will.

Who should I interview next and what should I ask them?

Maybe some one of Ukrainian musicians who were forced to leave Ukraine. Ask about how it has affected their music.

 

OCTOBER 14 2022 – WARSAW

Bejenec

Well, I am Daniel, my do my live project Bejenec for 8 years already, it literally translates “refugee” ’cause I’m from Donetsk and it all started at the same timeline when russia annexed Crimea and then eastern parts of Ukraine. I haven’t been home since. Before that project I had a band called Save Switzerland (for no particular reason) we were making like indie, post-punky synthpop idk, and here I am.

What is your setup and how would you define your sound?

So, at present, for live sets I just have a Maschine+, Elektron Digitakt and Elektron Digitone. My style: idk, music for pilltakers I guess. It’s so random, I feel bored doing the same thing again and again. For the past few years tho’ it’s all been quite fast, usually now it’s around 140-155bpm for me. It’s a mixture of breaks, twostep, trance and whatever else.

What impact has the war had on you both personally and professionally?

No gigs first of all, and I do music for a living, so I was kinda screwed in the beginning. But people wanted to help and they paid me for making remixes or ghost productions. Now I have a couple of dates, not much tho’, still kinda screwed. But it started to be bad in 2020 because of Covid, war just made things even worse.

Back in November of 2021 you released the EP What A Time To Be Alive. Have both your relationship to music and your playlist changed since the full-scale invasion?

The first couple of months I wasn’t able to do shit. Now it’s better, this November my new vinyl ep is coming out on my own label.

The recent livestream for Kyiv BPM is amongst other fundraising initiatives you have taken part in. How does one keep up the momentum and avoid burnout?

I just can’t do anything else besides music, so I don’t have any other options: either I’m working and making music or I’m screwed and have no money for rent or food hehe, but I still enjoy doing it. Sometimes. There are moments when I hate it with all my heart.

Where are you now and have you been displaced by war at any point? Also, how did it feel to be able to perform abroad, namely in Warsaw and Berlin, after the full-scale invasion?

Right now I am in Warsaw. When the war started I was in Kyiv, then I moved to Ivano Frankivsk for a couple of months, came back to Kyiv in May and last month came to Warsaw.

The first gig was the hardest one, I went to New York, first time in my life and when I finished I felt disgusted, guilty and felt like I was doing something wrong and unimportant, but that’s just a part of being traumatised by war. Just don’t be too harsh on yourself, kids.

According to figures quoted by Ukrainska Pravda, “Russian troops used 84 cruise missiles and 24 unmanned aerial vehicles against peaceful cities in Ukraine on the morning of October 10.” What is the current mood on the ground in Kyiv?

I have not experienced it myself, ’cause I went “touring” a month ago and now I am currently staying in Warsaw, but looking at my friends who were there at that time, it just makes people more angry. russia lives in two realities: on one hand they “fulfilled” all their goals with those strikes, as they say, and on the other, how is a kids playground a strategic target? They use terrorist tactics and on TV they say to their people how cool and professional they are. That’s a disorder when things are this bipolated that the government lives in two parallel realities.

Is there anything about the way the war has been covered in the West that you find problematic and / or is there anything you wish the West would stop asking?

Yeah, the worst one is the western approach to make us friends with russians by giving the Nobel Prize for peace to both of countries for example. Or calling this whole thing a “Ukrainian conflict” instead of russian agression\invasion etc. Were Jewish people supposed to just negotiate with Hitler and nazi Germany? We’re facing genocide and some people in the West are saying, “Just stop shooting and shake hands.” It’s ignorance. russia has already shown that one cannot make any consessions, ’cause just like a bully it will use this to become more and more aggressive. Pacifism is a nice concept, but unfortunately it works only with consolidation.

Personal question, how many tattoos do you have and have you added new ones since the full-scale invasion?

I never counted them to be honest, around 20 I guess. I haven’t been getting any new tattoos for the last three years. I just used to make them at my friends who made tattoos, so that was more a story of a memory of a person who made this one or that one, then a thing that I really wanted something specific to stay on my skin.

How do you unwind and what makes you laugh nowadays?

Oh, like I guess life itself, I still find it funny and bizzare, sometimes in a harsh way but still. I find a lot of things funny in life. After all, we are all travelling on a big piece of rock that flies through time and space and if, for example, a meteor hits it and humanity goes extinct – the rock itself will still continue its journey. everything that we care about is public relations and survival instinct and i find that pretty funny to be honest.

Which book / film / album / traditional dish / podcast / blog / artwork / building / meme best captures Ukraine for you?

Oh, that’s a tough one, I don’t think that you can describe a country as one thing. Let’s say then try to read all of thewikipedia articles about Ukraine to begin with, you’ll defo find something there. If you’re a movie person: start with articles about the Ukrainian cinema industry and so on.

Who should I interview next and should I ask them?

You should ask Vitya Polje about Ukrainian post-colonialism.

 

OCTOBER 15 2022 – LVIV

Del Cano

My name is Serhiy Vovk, I was born and raised in the south of Ukraine, in Odesa. In my youth I became interested in making short arthouse films and in 2014 I discovered music. I started recording musical sketches and soundtracks for my own films. Actually, Del Cano was conceived as a soundtrack project.

What is your setup and how would you say your sound has evolved over the years?

It evolves from one project to the other. Stylistic dynamics are important to me. Maybe there will come a time when vocals will be added to my music, but for now, I still enjoy writing the music more than anything. The atmosphere and cinematography of the work are very important to me.

Your latest album From The Air, is an acoustic representation of the sonic fracture caused by the full-scale invasion with a clear before and after demarcation. The first half is dreamy whilst the second, produced after February 24 opens with the now familiar air raid sirens turning swiftly dark and menacing. In spite of that it still retains a glimmer of hope with friendly lights breaking through the darkness.

Does the album represent for you a sort of audio diary of the unfolding events and how difficult has it been for you to keep producing music in times of war?

Yes, without a doubt, this album is a kind of diary. It absorbed many experiences and emotions I was going through. In some sense, music has become a lifesaver for me in terms of mental health. It was difficult because I was worried that I might not have time to finish the album, because at any moment I could’ve died or been severely injured by a missile attack. But now, I feel calmer because the work is completed. And it’s out there.


Have both your relationship to music and your playlist changed since the full-scale invasion?

Yes, more heavy rock music appeared in my playlist. At present, I find it very appropriate to cheer myself up with powerful metal riffs.

You are also a filmmaker, how much of your visual work is informed by your musical practice and vice versa?



Connected directly. I often draw inspiration from musical works to create a scenario, atmosphere or visual image. In the process of creating a film, composing the music is a special pleasure for me and most apposite. In this way, it is like creating a picture twice. I love cinema for the fact that it requires knowledge of different disciplines, which makes the director a little closer to God.

How affected have you been by the passing of Jean-Luc Godard?



Definitely a great master. It seems to me that such artists do not die as long as the memory of their works lives on. But sometimes a philosophical question arises: does the creator own what they created? Are we simply the conduits of what the world needs to see?

What impact has the war had on you both personally and professionally?



Most of my life I live in stress and anxiety, I have no rational reason for it. But when the war started, this stress and anxiety became the norm and this condition became easier to accept. Of course, war affects all aspects of life. I began to think even more about creativity, because it is the only thing that really matters to me. This is what I want to do. But alas, in my country it does not bring money to earn a living.

 I could write music for video games and movies, but I’m just useless with those skills because there aren’t any jobs.

Where are you now and have you been able to tour since the full-scale invasion?

I have been living in Lviv for a year. I would very much like to travel through Europe after the war is over. I don’t know if it would be a tour, but it would definitely be accompanied by a lot of creativity, be it film or music.

According to figures quoted by Ukrainska Pravda, “Russian troops used 84 cruise missiles and 24 unmanned aerial vehicles against peaceful cities in Ukraine on the morning of October 10.” What is the current mood on the ground and how are you preparing for winter?



The government warns of a very difficult winter, due to possible interruptions in the supply of heating and electricity. It is difficult to scare Ukrainians with anything. russia loses on the battlefield, so it resorts to terrorise the civilian population.

Is there anything about the way the war has been covered in the West that you find problematic and / or is there anything you wish the West would stop asking?


The civilised world must understand that it is not useful to separate putin’s regime and “ordinary russians”. This war is happening with the tacit or active consent of the russians. Those russians who are now fleeing abroad they are not fighters against the regime, they are running away from mobilisation. Before the war affected them personally, everything suited them, or they were indifferent. Therefore, russia is a terrorist state, a criminal state, and its citizens are dangerous for civilised society, so they should be isolated.

How do you unwind and what makes you laugh nowadays?



The films of Quentin Dupieux entertain me. I unwind when I create and do what I want (creating or looking at art). I unwind when I don’t have to think about survival.

Which book / film / album / traditional dish / podcast / blog / artwork / building / meme best captures Ukraine for you?

The history of Ukraine is too long and diverse to tie any one symbol or meme to it. I can say what Ukraine is like for me today: it reminds me of the Joker character from Todd Phillips’ film. Ukraine is a Joker whose behaviour and reactions are normal in an abnormal world. We live in an abnormal world.

Who should I interview next and should I ask them?



You can interview a very talented musician and my best friend Oleksiy Lupashko. His approach to music and experiments – fascinates me.

 

OCTOBER 19 2022 – ODESA

Medium

Hi! This is Medium – drum’n’bass live band. We are Pavel, Ihor and Timur from Odesa. We’ve been writing drum’n’bass for over 15 years and released on labels such as Ohm Resistance, Sonic Terror, Hardline, Close2Death Recordings, Distortion Records, Combat Records and more.

Your latest album BE:AT WAR was released in August 2022. The title and tracklist indicates it was produced as a direct response to the full-scale invasion, but how much of it was already written before February 24 and how did you go about producing it under present circumstances?

The entire album was produced entirely after February the 24th. Nobody could have even imagined that full-scale war would come to our homes so quickly, and we were compelled to express our thoughts urgently in musical form while we still had a chance to do so. It’s what prompted us to a first track and then the whole album. Only then the first rockets fell on Odesa.

Frequent air alarms are very distracting when writing music, as one has to be alert and try to understand what type of missiles or drones have been launched on our city.

You’ve included air raid sirens in the track “Cry The Alarm”. How did the new sonic environment shape the sound of the album?

The basis of this track was the regular sound of air raid sirens, and every day sirens sounded louder and louder. Previously, we only had a few in Odesa, but every day more and more of them were installed, and in the end, the layering of sound from the sirens acquired a certain unique resonance, which inspired the track.

Have your relationship to music and your playlists changed since the full scale invasion?

At first we could not listen to music at all but after being saturated with the sounds of war and adapting to the situation, thoughts about a new album began to come.

What impact has the war had on you both personally and professionally?

Each of us had to face many difficulties for which we were not ready. Loss of work, loss of usual life, being separated from family members.

If we talk about music: we lost the possibility to have gigs and share our music through fans all around the world.

In general those times ghost producing and Patreon support were the only things which allowed us to survive. Like ghost producers we are making music in any style, so if someone has a desire to cooperate – you are welcome.

Where are you now and have you been displaced by war at any point?

Since the first day of the war, we have stayed in our city, Odesa. Only 8 months after the start of the war, mechanisms began to appear that allowed artists to leave and now we want to try to go on tour to promote the album. If anyone who is reading this interview wants to see Medium in their city – please email our manager.

Is there anything about the way the war has been covered in the West that you find problematic and / or is there anything you wish the West would stop asking?

There is too much politics in our country right now. We as musicians want to talk about music. We do not have all the information to competently speak about this issue.

According to figures quoted by Ukrainska Pravda, “Russian troops used 84 cruise missiles and 24 unmanned aerial vehicles against peaceful cities in Ukraine on the morning of October 10.” What is the current mood on the ground in Odesa?

This is true. On October 10, there was the most massive missile attack on Ukraine and in Odesa there was the longest air raid. In general, the day was extremely difficult.

But anyway Odesa is gradually adapting to wartime.

We have a curfew from  11 pm to 5 am and all the nightclubs in Odessa naturally do not work, but the organizers began to create day parties, so people can switch a little and listen to their favorite music in a good sound. However, many musical events are stopped and postponed due to massive missile strikes.

How do you unwind and what makes you laugh nowadays?

Odesa is the capital of humor and we try to face any situation with humor.

Which book / film / album / traditional dish / podcast / blog / artwork / building / meme best captures Ukraine for you?


Who should I interview next and what should I ask them?

Do an interview with Kurt Submerged, who was not afraid to come to Kyiv recently and play his set there. He helps Ukrainian musicians a lot and naturally did a lot for us and our album BE:AT WAR.

 

OCTOBER 19 2022 – ODESA

Olympic Snow

My name is Andrii Sichkovsky. I’m a sound artist, journalist and cultural manager from Odesa, Ukraine.

According to figures quoted by Ukrainska Pravda, “Russian troops used 84 cruise missiles and 24 unmanned aerial vehicles against peaceful cities in Ukraine on the morning of October 10.” What is the current mood on the ground in Odesa and has there been talk of resuming sandbags and roadblocks in the city and sleeping in shelters overnight?

Yes, within the last week and a half russians were (and still are) attacking Odesa and most of the Ukrainian cities with cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles. Endless air raid alerts and numerous explosions or the sounds of air defence actions are heard. It reminds me of the morning of the 24th of February. Having no success on the battlefields russians turn to the real terror of the civilians as their main aim is either the civil infrastructure objects or the fear that these attacks might cause. The mood is very diverse and here we can see the variety of reactions – most of the people are staying at the shelters as the new attacks can follow 9 times in a row but some don’t react anymore in spite of the obvious danger. That is the typical character of the Odesa people.

What has the reaction been in Odesa to the annexation of the neighboring region of Kherson by Russia?

Basically, the reaction and the whole mood were changing as the situation on the battlefield was changing. Ukrainian people have some anarchistic features in their character in terms of self-organisation. So as the more dangerous situation had become, more people were volunteering, fundraising and directing their emotions more in support of the Ukrainian Army and helping old people as well. And our famous sense of humour helped a lot too.

On a general note, how has Odesa changed over time since February 24 in terms of the population, have some of those who fled in the first few weeks returned to the city and are there many internally displaced people who’ve come to Odesa from Russian occupied territories?



Of course, it changed as a lot of people fled from war during the first days of the full-scale invasion and at the same time, there was (and still is) the flow of Ukrainians from different regions who lost their homes. A similar situation we had in 2014 when the war started and a lot of Ukrainian people were displaced from their homes in Eastern regions of Ukraine by the war.

According to figures from a survey by the Sociological group Rating quoted by The Odessa Journal back in August, more than half of the respondents always spoke Ukrainian before the war, a quarter, sometimes, and every fifth one, rarely or never.

Over the past six months, the share of those who began speaking Ukrainian on a regular basis increased to 64%. 24% speak Ukrainian sometimes, and 12%, rarely or never. Also, the residents of the South and East of Ukraine and the internally displaced persons (IDPs) began to use Ukrainian more often.

Have you noticed this shift in Odesa and how do you feel about the language debate?

Odesa as the port is historically a multinational and multicultural city and we got used to hearing different languages here. Anyway, for a long time most of the Odesa people were really speaking russian – the consequences of 2 centuries of russian empire and the soviet colonial past. After the Revolution of Dignity 2013-14 and the annexation of Crimea, and russian invasion of Eastern Ukraine in 2014 and especially after the 24th of February 2022 more and more people are starting to speak Ukrainian, becoming more interested in Ukrainian history and literature which is another good example of returning to their historical memory.

What are the common misconceptions about Ukraine in Western media that you still find yourselves having to counter?

The main misconception is the famous myth that Odesa was founded by the russian empire in 1794, and it causes the whole perception of Odesa as a russian city. In fact, it was founded in the XIV century by the what was at the time the Lithuanian state, but the story of the people who lived here is much longer. Actually, this is a good example of an imperialistic approach – to destroy the history and the culture of the invaded people and to pretend that it all starts only when they came.


How do you see the situation developing over the winter and into the new year?


It is hard to predict now, but definitely, the winter will be tough.

 

OCTOBER 19 2022 – GERMANY

Povilno Records

[Techija] Povilno Records appeared in our minds as an idea for the first time at the beginning of 2020. We met for the first time all together just a month before. The three of us were inspired and motivated by the same idea – to deliver maximum joy and love to the community with downtempo music. Povilno translates as slow from the Ukrainian language. Soon it had become more than just a range of BPM, but the philosophy of the project. There are many beautiful people we’ve met on our way. We are happy and proud to know each one of them.

Povilno is the first downtempo label in Ukraine. Could you put it into context within the electronic music scene in Ukraine?

One rather famous DJ once said to me, “I have the biggest folder with downtempo music in my collection, but I don’t have places to play it.” Electronic music as well as its scene is much wider than just raves, which I must to say are absolutely beautiful in Ukraine. There are many more options. And here we are. We have not invented this genre, similar waves have attracted attention from music communities in Germany, Austria, Estonia, the US, Mexico, and other countries. So it was a matter of time before downtempo came to Ukraine. We need someone who is not in a rush. And here we are. Again.

What impact has the war had on you both on a personal and professional level?

We were starting Povilno at the same time as the COVID pandemic. We thought that was the worst that could have happened. We were so mistaken! Everything changed in one moment.

Where are you now and have you been displaced by war at any point?

We are in Germany now. With our families.

Has the war changed your relationship to music in terms of motivation and even down to your playlist?

Yes, it has. Priorities, values, awareness – it all became an absolute mess from the beginning of the war until now. Maybe now it’s a bit less so.

Regarding the playlist – this is has always been the fruit of imagination and fears reflected by community and the specific atmosphere of a venue, so yes, the music has changed but the direction is not something that is possible to predict.

You have been fundraising for the army. How difficult is it to maintain momentum and how do you deal with burn out?

This is the answer to the question: “What more can we do in order to help Ukraine to win and finish the war?” The most valuable and important question for us as Povilno Records and each of us personally. We wish we could do more.

Are there any releases by Ukrainian artists since the war that you feel are especially poignant and any tracks you feel should be global hits?

Of course, there are many. Many have been released and more will be. There is one from our label that we want to mention here: itwo5 – Wilds. It is so especially poignant that itwo5 has joined the Povilno team during the preparation of the release. And we are happy to become bigger!

 

OCTOBER 19 2022 – KYIV

photo by Marina Fastova

Cepasa

I’ve been writing music for more than 20 years, and in the last 10 years my musical expression is Cepasa. My father was an architect and architectural historian. He worked as an expert in the reconstruction of St. Michael’s Monastery, the Dormition cathedral of the Kyiv-Pechersl Lavra, and was engaged in the reproduction of architectural heritage of national importance all around Ukraine. I also wanted to become an architect. But my older brother was already studying architecture when I was finishing school. He often brought home cassettes and CDs with electronic music from trip-hop to house, or even drum bass. I listened to releases by Ninja Tune, Warp, Good Looking, Naked Music. It was quite unusual music at that time, with which I became totally obsessed. So, when my father bought a computer  I started writing my own music. In my student years, my favorite label was the Plastic City label, where I also released my music.

In the late 2000s I was writing house music with Darran Nugent for his label Elevation, and as part of the trio Tomato Jaws I started touring live and also DJing in clubs. At some point, it became clear to me that I was not interested in DJing and I created Cepasa, where I can play live my own music. And the club background influenced me with its rules of building the structure of live sets and the construction of tracks.

What is your setup and what would you say is the dominant feature of your sound?

My music is said to have a restorative or healing effect .I like to bring my music to a nice and not boring sound. At the same time, it should amaze me in general. I love my Elektron Analog Four, Elektron Analog Rytm, Moog Mother 32 and Cubase synthesizers the most.

Have you had any Eureka! moments in your musical development?

It was in 2012, I was preparing my first live gig as Cepasa as a warm-up set before Gus Gus in Kyiv.

The live show that I was building in Ableton gave me incredible opportunities to control the dance floor, and somehow I just imagined that I could really do all these things during my performance. For example, while playing live, I could hold the loop for a long time and go into a drop just in time when the best-feeling moment in the hall comes, but not when it’s pre-recorded in the original track. The feeling that you can act out of the box with the entire arsenal of tracks and any effects is incredible.

Your latest album Niby Chaiky is dedicated to the Ukrainian nation’s fight for freedom. Most of the artists I have interviewed have told me they found it difficult not only to produce music in the months immediately following the full-scale invasion, but even to listen to music. Has the motivation to make music changed for you since February 24?

February 24th – a terrible day, explosions, panic, single enemy tanks in Kyiv, traffic jams at the exits from the city. When I saw a low-flying fighter jet, I understood it was time to evacuate my family. We did not leave Ukraine, but during the first month of the war, we tried to adapt to the new reality. I remember very well from history how the Russian Empire dealt with Ukrainian culture, simply because it is Ukrainian. In the USSR, for example, my father was not allowed to defend his thesis due to accusations of idealizing the Zaporizhia Cossacks, my grandmother barely survived during the famine organized by Moscow in the 1932-1933s.

Now the russians were carrying plastic bags and mobile crematoria with them, meant for the residents of the Kyiv region, whom they put on the lists of “nationalists”. After the murders in Bucha and the terrorist attacks on civilians, it became clear that no one was wrong about our expectations. They are actually a barbarian horde. As a child, I often escaped from my troubles into music.

photo by Marina Fastova

I remember when my grandmother died, I wrote a track for several days in a row, even forgetting to eat. It can be said that even at the beginning of the war, I found a reality in music for myself where there is no doubt that Ukraine will stand and win. So writing the album then helped me to believe that everything will be fine, and the album will therefore be needed. This is a signal not to give up on yourself and to everyone, to believe in victory. It so happened that we Ukrainians have such a destiny, we have an enemy who hates us because he wants to appropriate our achievements, history, and heritage.

But can a barbarian horde destroy this incredible power that our ancestors handed down to Ukrainians? Including through songs. It is impossible in my opinion. The second month I started writing the Niby Chaiky album, and thanks to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, in April we already returned to Kyiv, where I finished it.

Could you talk us through the making of the album, and the shift you’ve operated by adopting the Ukrainian language and incorporating traditional folk elements whilst also retaining trademark features of your sound such as the lower pitched vocals and particular brand of downtempo?

I researched old Ukrainian music and found that it has its own distinctive strengths. The first is the harmoniousness of the Ukrainian language, according to this parameter it is second only to the Italian language, so it goes very well with the music. The second is the rich natural sound of the arrangement. The third is an honest melody, without any tricks of entertaining purpose, everything should have a meaning. I tried to preserve these achievements with the means and skills of an electronic musician. For the first time in my life, I didn’t record a lot of vocal takes, everything was recorded almost from the first time. In this album’s arrangements, the main elements are clearly separated from the secondary elements, each sound has its own meaning in the mix and there are no sounds that are left in the mix just like that.

Are there any dates in places for you to present Niby Chaiky abroad?

A few performances are planned. On January 15th Niby Chiky in Melkweg Amsterdam. Also, we are thinking of some additional gigs.

Is the Akkerman Fortress, one of the most impressive settings you’ve played live?

I can’t get it out of my head my live at the Spotguide party. This is a place on the shores of the Sea of Azov, where kite surfers from all over Ukraine gather to kite, dance and have fun. There was an incredible atmosphere. Now this place is occupied by russia. It was also cool to perform at MRPL City Fest in Mariupol, and at Kazantip in Crimea. It hurts me a lot what the russians have done to the wonderful city of Mariupol and the fact that normal life has left Crimea. Kazantip has not been held since 2014 after russia occupied Crimea, despite the fact that its russian CEO supported the annexation.

Where are you now and have you been displaced by the war at any point and what is the current mood on the ground in Kyiv after the recent shellings of the past few days?

In the first months of the war, I took my family to the west of Ukraine, and at the end of April, we came back to Kyiv. The city was quite empty after returning, it was especially felt that there were fewer children’s voices, I was embarrassed by this. Then I recorded the track Kyiv.  But people quickly returned and now the city is full of life. If at the beginning of the war, the government asked people not to panic and not to interfere with the Armed Forces, now the government is urging them not to try and shoot down Iranian drones by themselves. I heard the explosions and the sound of the engine of the Iranian drone in the past few days because I live in the central part of the city, but there is no fear because the global decision to stay here was made by us as the only true one.

What impact has the war had on you both personally and professionally?

Probably, I became braver, began to honestly evaluate the situation around me, and my relations with people became closer. I honestly evaluate the results of my work and accept them.

Is there anything about the way the war has been covered in the West that you find problematic and / or is there anything you wish the West would stop asking?

It is necessary to understand one important thing about russian propaganda. It does not shy away from any dirty methods in order to persuade our allies that “not everything is so clear-cut.” I know very well from my own experience how this works when I participated in the 2014 Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine. The protesting people came out against the arbitrariness of the authorities, no one was against russia. But even then russian propaganda every day invented news that slandered the Maidan movement and slandered Ukraine, just to justify the annexation of Crimea, which it soon captured. Therefore, freedom of speech should not be confused with the outright subversive work of propagandists.

I am outraged by the fact that the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary Szijjártó Péter recently wrote, “It’s time for everyone to understand – we need peace”. This is classic manipulation because everyone understands that everyone needs peace, the only question now is  – at what price? If the price is the transition of the world under the power of totalitarian regimes that threaten the world with nuclear weapons and seize foreign territories – then no. But the field of activity of pro-russian forces in Europe is becoming weaker and smaller, thanks to the Armed Forces and the support of allies.

There is another dangerous thing – it is the romanticisation of the “russian mysterious soul” as something irrational and therefore interesting. It must be understood that the consequences or “meaning” of this are the murders, torture, and rape in Bucha and, in principle, this whole war. Behind this is the recognition in russian society of the right to violence from those who hold an authority position, and who decide what it will punish you for. This is the norm for them, but this is not the norm for us.

How do you unwind and what makes you laugh nowadays?

It is not a problem for me to find any reason to laugh, I love to joke. Basically, humor is a national Ukrainian tradition, now it is especially relevant to laugh at the residents of russia, who believe in their inalienable right to control other nations, calling Ukrainians younger brothers and forgetting that when Kyiv adopted Christianity, there were swamps and trees where Moscow now stands.

Which book / film / album / traditional dish / podcast / blog / artwork / building / meme best captures Ukraine for you?

It is not easy, the Ukraine I know is very different, but freedom is in the air. There is a purely subjective feeling from childhood. My father worked on the architectural project of the Museum of Zaporizhian Cossacks on Khortytsia Island (Zaporizhia city). We had so many drawings of this museum at home that I still have them in front of my eyes. I knew that my father loved this project most of all. Zaporozhian Cossacks created the first Ukrainian constitution and lived according to this constitution, they were skilled warriors and did not take orders from anyone. The guiding principle of Cossacks is the will, in the sense of having strength, and protecting one’s freedom to live freely. This is a small model of today’s Ukraine. I tried to convey my love for Ukraine in my music.

 

OCTOBER 20 2022 – LVIV

Photo by Denys Strashnyj

Jurij Josyfovych

I’ve been exploring traditional singing Since 2006. Since 2018 I have been actively looking for new forms of existence for traditional music. The result of this was my first project “New Psalma. Maidan.” In 2019 I started a solo singing career which culminated in the project Серце. Нова автентика (Heart. New Authenticity), with two albums released to date back in 2020 and 2021.

I live near Lviv, I’m married, and I’m the father of three.

Aside from being engaged in traditional singing, you have also mastered Ableton and music production. How do you combine the two different practices?

After a long period of acapella singing and working with, let’s say, pure, authentic and sacred music, the tools that Ableton opened up for me became very helpful. This process helped me to learn both about music and video production, to create songs, to release them, and to actually start singing as an independent artist. With DAWs you can sing polyphony. Ableton and digital music tools help me to enhance the dramatic structure of the traditional songs I decide to sing, to play with them and to try to build a new form for them, I hope not for selfish reasons, but to present them in a contemporary form, deep and strong as they are and to touch today’s listeners.

Has your motivation behind making music changed since the full-scale invasion?

Photo by Denys Strashnyj

I couldn’t sing or think about music for about the first 6 month after February 24.

I’ve moved away from my previous music a lot, now I don’t listen to a lot of it.

Now I’m more ready to give concerts, especially when it helps to raise some funds for the multiple needs of the Ukrainian Army.

On the other hand, I think I have shelved my ambitions of trying to earn a living through music. I try to understand and accept the situation, but it’s hard.

My position as a singer isn’t strong, I’m not a widely known artist, and I don’t manage to get the basic minimum of paid gigs and projects to really make it viable, that is the reason that unfortunately I often need to turn down proposals of free concerts and events. I just don’t have time for that, ’cause I need to prepare and leave home for let’s say three days. At present, for instance, I’m busy with renovating my place, which I should do myself. Of course, I could get builders in, but I would have to pay them, which would be difficult when I’m not earning.

That is why I’m currently in the process of moving to some project management or similar job in IT and then maybe doing music more like a hobby again, whenever possible.

Photo by Svitlana Kukharuk

How do you feel about the language debate?

I don’t really understand that “language debates” are still possible after all that has happened and is still happening now here in Ukraine.

What impact has the war had on you both personally and professionally?

Many losses, it hurt a lot.

Where are you now and have you been displaced by the war at any point?

With my family we’ve been in Lviv throughout. In February-March my mother moved from Kyiv to be with us, but later returned to the capital to be with my father.

Is there anything about the way the war has been covered in the West that you find problematic and / or is there anything you wish the West would stop asking?

It would be problematic if the West stopped asking questions. And it would also be problematic should the West delay or hesitate in providing us with weapons. This would cost us a lot.

photo by Daria Bedrenichek

How do you unwind and what makes you laugh nowadays?

I happily watch the bodies of killed russian occupants while eating sandwiches. There really isn’t much to laugh about.

Which book / film / album / song / traditional dish / podcast / blog / artwork / building / meme best captures Ukraine for you?

Жадан і Собаки – Метро music and lyrics.
Polyphony Project – people, music.

Who should I interview next and should I ask them?

Denis Strashnyj, documentary filmmaker.
Severyn Danyleiko, singer.

 

OCTOBER 22 2022 – ODESA

photo by Elizabeth Belo

Artem Ikra

My name is Artem and I am from Odessa. Somewhere in the sixth class of school, I realised that I want to put on songs and write texts. I started organising parties in 2007. At that time there was a wonderful place in Odesa, the art club Exit. We did mod revival parties there. I’ve always had very eclectic musical interests. Therefore, italo, 8bit, IDM (etc) began to appear in the tracklists. I always wanted to implement some new trends at events.

In 2012 I moved to Kyiv and began to play actively at the Fazenda bar. It was an unforgettable time. There I met Sasha Tessio. Soon we started to make an online music magazine togheter. The first interview we did was with Gigi Masin, the legend of Italian ambient. The magazine lasted from 2013 to 2020 and during this time we managed to do quite a lot. In 2017, I began to live and help organise events in the most dear and close to my heart place. This is, of course, club Otel’.

The most important thing that I understood for myself in music is that there are no bad genres, there is your laziness and unwillingness to go digging. I’m interested in albino projects in every genre, which seem to do everything according to the canons, but with an admixture of devilry.

photo by Masha Drotskaya

You are a druid, visionary, fantasista, musical archivist, textual wishmaster, lonesome cowboy, and true spirit. Which one of these descriptions better represents you at present?

I’ve always been fascinated by the formula “the weirder the merrier”. As always, I’m deeply interested in finding and discovering some fresh, wild artists. Looking for a new sound. And trying to share it with the world. This function of the visionary is always a part of me.

Being a music archivist is also a constant feature of mine. Sometimes form dominates action. This is when you are in a hurry to download something and leave it for later. And it’s all cumulative. Both life and production are so fast now. You know, the Japanese have a certain word that refers to a person who buys books but doesn’t read them. So now I have almost a balance between downloaded/purchased and listened to.

photo by Maria Tikhonenkova

I’m pretty sure that every real DJ is a druid who conducts a session of psychotherapy. Builds bridges between generations and decades. Introduces the past and allows you to see the future. But with a certain amount of irony. Irony is just what I always have enough of.

I’ve always been amused by the Wishmaster movie series. This is when the dark genie grants wishes with a negative polarity. I really like to play with words, or to indulge in wordplay, if you like, putting words in awkward places, but in a positive way. Sometimes something useful comes out of it. That’s why I’m now trying to construct poetic forms. It’s fun to say the least.

If we talk about a true spirit, then I hope that it is still with me. This is the most important thing in a man, not to lose his being.

How would you describe the ambient / experimental and electronic music scene in Ukraine and what place did / does Krossfingers occupy within it?

photo by L. Lebedkin

I would describe it as a mighty mycelium. Its scale and heightened beauty are not immediately perceptible. But when one looks at it carefully, one immediately opens up such views, such diversity, such soulfulness and deep sincerity. The four foundations of Ukrainian electronics are mysticism, majestic energy, the power of our earth and an inhuman passion for experiments.

Krossfingers included vinyl releases of our Ukrainian brothers in the monthly charts, albums by Konakov, and the Muscut label. We tried to promote our content as best we could. We also had a lot of joint sessions with Nikolaenko, Dima Prutkin and others. As one of our friends said, Krossfingers has brought together more nations than the United Nations.

Have your relationship to music and your playlist changed since the full-scale invasion?

It began to change even during the pandemic. At the beginning of the war, none of us had any time for music. Then it became more intimate. Like a deer that creeps through the thicket. Now I listen to a lot of dub experiments, field recordings, Xian rock, library, Ukrainian naive synth-pop and idm.

photo by S. Lazutina

Are there any recent albums / tracks by Ukrainian artists that have surprised you and that you believe deserve to be global hits?

Volodymyr Gnatenko, Kai Noob – Ayakashi Committee Ep
Andriy Kostyukov – For fishes that think they are swimming in the void
John Object – Life
Fundraiser compilation: В О Л Я by Muscut
VA. NOTATOK 1 by Liky Pid Nohamy
all options – considered
monodont – Woe Kitchen
elija – After Night
tofudj – Take
Nikolaienko – Nostalgia Por Mesozoica
Borys – Voice In My Head
Volume One by Black Sea Dub Creators
VA – indefinite state by ejekt

What impact has the war had on you both personally and professionally?



Some of my friends went to fight, I admire their courage, fortitude and inner strength. And I am eternally grateful to them for everything. Some close comrades have left forever and will never come back. This is a terrible price to pay. One must always remember this. Many people have opened up in new ways and our nation has opened up in new ways. I am very proud of our country.

Where are you now and have you been displaced by war at any point?

I have been in Odesa throughout the entire full-scale war.

After the recent strikes of October 10th, when according to figures released by Ukrainska Pravda, “Russian troops used 84 cruise missiles and 24 unmanned aerial vehicles against peaceful cities in Ukraine”, what is the current mood on the ground?


There is no fear on the ground. There is only anger and inner strength. Ukrainians united even more. Memes have become even more ironic.

And don’t forget that russia can’t afford such massive attacks every week. It’s very expensive. And most importantly, what is worth remembering is that our air defense forces are made of extra incredible guys!

Is there anything about the way the war has been covered in the West that you find problematic and / or is there anything you wish the West would stop asking?

The main thing that the West needs to do is to supply Ukraine with more weapons and not to forget that the Ukrainian people are fighting for democratic values and are part of European civilization. It needs to support Ukraine until russia capitulates. It’s also necessary to recognise russia as a terrorist country and expel it from the UN. And to fight as much as possible on the information fronts against all russian narratives. Destroy them at the root.

How do you unwind and what makes you laugh nowadays?

The best way to relax is to exchange memes. “Memetherapy” for the masses!

Here are three three telegram channels about animals we’ve set up with our Anthony Junkoid.

 

photo by S. Tessio

This is a question from Anthony Junkoid: should you launch your own Ukrainian label, what would its name be?

The first thing that came to my mind was Trembitious or Much Highder

Which book / film / album / traditional dish / podcast / blog / artwork / building / meme best captures Ukraine for you?

Book – Kotlyarevsky’s Eneida
Movie – Parajanov’s Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors
LP – Ihor Tsymbrovsky – Come, Angel
Traditional dish – potato pancakes + borsch
Podcast – АШОШ
Telegram blog – Buddhist Bubblegum
Building – Kyiv Crematorium

photo by Sasha Tessio

Who should I interview next and what should I ask them?

Alexey Volusunov
Vanya Samokrutkin [Ukrainian Field Notes II]
Dmytro Isaenko
Misha Bondariev
David Shamiev
Dmytro Prutkin
Sasha Tessio
Bryozone
Gennadiy Boychenko
CJ Plus
Alexey Makarenko
djemergencyloop

2 questions, “What motivates you at the moment?” and “What color are your lucky socks?”

 

NEW RELEASES

Ataka – Liza Aikin & Zavoloka

The Ukrainian label I Shall Sing Until My Land Is Free, set up by Kotra and Zavoloka to support Ukrainian resistance has been releasing a steady flow of albums since last June by the likes of Muslimgauze, Ilpo Väisänen and Merzbow. It was only apposite for Zavoloka to take centre stage at a time of heavy shelling on Kyiv with a collaborative two track EP Ataka produced together with Liza Aikin. Like lightning cracking oxygen molecules in the atmosphere, Ataka ignates the sky with sizzling electric currents. Incendiary and caustic it is over all too quickly leaving one to wonder what hit them. And yet, as Oscar Wilde famously quipped, “What fire does not destroy, it hardens.”

 

Habal Garmin – Casa Ukrania

Conceived before the full-scale invasion, Habal Garmin looks at a largely forgotten piece of history, the murder of over 108,000 Jews in the Odesa region, including up to 25,000, shot or burnt alive in artillery depots near Tolbukhina Square. The album covers the events from Jewish pre-war life to the elimination of local ghettos and deportation of the victims to the execution sites and includes infamous episodes like the rounding up of Jews near the village of Dalnyk in October 1941.

In spite of its subject matter Leonid Zhdanov and Nataly Hrytsenko have managed to construct a rich sonic tapestry that is at once dark and unforgiving, but also humorous and tender at times. The album includes archival material from Romanian newsreels as well as samples taken from the documentary Цветы времён оккупации with a running thread provided by a stylised Jewish lullaby, first appearing in the opening track “Viglid”, and reworked into several parts of the album. It draws from a number of musical references from Bach to Penderecki via Akira Yamaoka, but the main inspiration for it were the diaries and testimonies of the survivors.

Originally scheduled to be released back in April, Habal Garmin took a darker and angrier tone after the full-scale invasion, demonstrating once again that, as the saying goes, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

 

FUNDRAISING COMPILATIONS

Ukraine Fundraising Compilation by Various Artists – Acephale // experimental

This is a compilation to raise funds for organisations conducting aid work in Ukraine in response to Russia’s military invasion. It features music by Acephale-related artists and friends. We stand with Ukraine.

All revenues go to Blau-Gelbes Kreuz E.V. and kyivangels. Blau-Gelbes Kreuz E.V. is a Ukrainian-German humanitarian organization based in Cologne bringing medical supply and food to Ukraine. kyivangels is a team of volunteers from the Ukrainian capital. Started by a bunch of friends the now 50-strong group distributes food, medicine and other supplies to civilians and defence forces in Ukraine.

 

For The Lack Of Better Words – A Compilation In Solidarity With The People Of Ukraine by Otomatik Muziek // experimental, avant grade, drone, electronic, improvisation, noise

This is not a regular OM release. It’s a compilation which grew throughout April. All proceeds will go directly to Frankenkonvoi, a help organization which works directly at the polish-ukranian/romanian-ukrainian borders (and, as of now, have found a direct way to deliver goods into Charkiv). These people do a fucking great job at taking direct action and help where GO’s and multinational help organizations lose time and money due to their structures and systems.

 

PODCASTS

Ukrainian artist Svitlana Nianio with tracks she’s currently listening to, put together especially for Currents and Mutant Radio. Svitlana is an avant-garde singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Ukraine. Nianio grew up with an interest in religious and traditional music and went on to attend a music conservatory in Kyiv, where she formed Tsukor bila smertʹ in 1988 with Eugene Taran, Oleksandr Kochanovsky, and Tamila Mazur.

An hour-long broadcast with a selection of new domestic experimental music and ambient, collected by a musician, founder of the Next Sound festival, and winner of the Qwartz Electronic Music Awards – @andrey-kiritchenko

“Last days were very hard for my country, and I’m fucking ANGRY!” —> guest show with Nina Eba
Recorded live in PSR studio with some people hangin’ around

In the new episode, Volodymyr @lostlojic plays tracks that are getting ready to see the world on his label. Among the producers who will be heard on the air: Poly Chain, 6th Crowd, Andrii Kunin, Sergiy Russolo.

Kiosk Radio is an online community radio streaming 24/7 from a wooden shack in the heart of Brussels’ historic “Parc Royal”. More info and music: kioskradio.com

Mixtape by Ukrainian trance punk band Alien Body for Psychotherapy Sessions on Bristol @noodsradio

 

VIEWING ROOM

(Gianmarco Del Re)

 

 

 

 

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