The Russian electronic scene is alive and well, and it’s not likely to change for a while. Lipelis, Art Crime, Buttechno, Machine Woman, Kito Jempere, Lapti.. a wealth of names sweeping the whole spectrum of dance music from end to end, consistently remapping the boundaries between floor-focused rhythms and uncleared horizons of electronic possibilities.
Well aware of the effervescence at work from Moscow to Yekaterinburg, Vanguard pushers Opal Tapes decided to take the bull by the horns and enlisted Kazan-based producer Kirill aka YancityGurl as curator of the very special ‘U S S R‘ compilation project – also contributing a track to the tape and providing the quality of insight that so often lacks through the well-tried thematic approach.
Over a window of three months, YancityGurl garnered cuts from all over the Russian territory in order to shed light upon the Soviet scene’s most exciting prospects – leaving the final selection up to label honcho Stephen Bishop. With just a few days to go till the release of the tape, we joined forces with Opal Tapes to bring you the ‘U S S R‘ compilation in full-stream and sat back with Kirill to go in depth about the making of and selection process.
Interviewed by Baptiste Girou
"We realised that my wish to release a compilation matched with Stephan's interest in the Russian scene so I offered to help him."
You’re the curator behind Opal Tapes’ very special ‘U S S R (Ur Social Status Resistance)’ compilation, which scans the emerging Russian house and techno scene in all its diversity. When did you first get involved in the project?
I discovered Opal Tapes a long time ago, so it is fair to say that I’m a fan of this label. I met Stephan personally about half a year ago, though we contacted only over FB because of the distance between us. Through the conversation we realised that my wish to release a compilation matched with Stephan’s interest in the Russian scene so I offered to help him.
How did the idea for this tape release come about?
Initially there was no plan of a tape release, there was only the thought of joining forces and make something together. Honestly, I didn’t know which form it would take. I wrote a message to Artem (AN System) about an idea of the VK chat where we would be able to gather producers from Russia and Ukraine in exchange of our music and experience. So we made it two days later.
"Initially there was no plan of a tape release, there was only the thought of joining forces and make something together."
What kind of portrait of the Russian scene did you want to brush?
I don’t think that it’s necessary to describe the music’s meaning, we have a lot of talented producers who are able to make that thing which is called “original art” and that does not require a description.
When asked about the nature of this gathering, you mentioned “this spirit of resistance to the canons of the social environment, the rage in the art…”. Is it fair to say there is something political about it?
How did you proceed for the selection? What’s been your guiding line?
Each of us felt completely free, because Stephen didn’t gave us any concrete conditions. There was a lot of material and it was very diverse, so Stephen picked all the tracks by himself.
"Stephen didn't gave us any concrete conditions. There was a lot of material and it was very diverse, so Stephen picked all the tracks by himself."
You are a producer yourself and contributed a track to the compilation. What’s your position on the current chessboard? What are you up to these days?
In the near future I will have another big release with some guys from U S S R, it will be a compilation. There’s an upcoming track on Cazeria Cazador, another one on Lit Level, a split track on La Chinerie, and I hope to release a tape on Opal Tapes and one on another big label too. I also work on a side-project with a friend of mine.
"About the project, overall work took three months. Preparation, music collecting, mastering and artwork. All the communications were made only via social networks."
Russia is quite a huge territory and the cast involves producers from Moscow, Kiev, Yekaterinburg, Kazan and beyond. How does the scene organise? How’s the emulation happening?
The overall picture is great, we have a lot of guys who have already shown to the world what they’re capable of. I myself love what Kedr Livansky does with John’s Kingdom, GOST Zvuk, Oblast; also guys from Systema – they’ve had a good start, and they published my first mix! Also Cape Code, Cream Soda, also I like what Foner does, and there is my mate Curv. We don’t stand still. The number of exciting new names is increasing every year.
About the project, overall work took three months – preparation, music collecting, mastering and artwork. All the communications were made only via social networks.
A final word?
I take this opportunity to say a big THANK YOU to each of the participants – all this happened only because of you. Peace!
U S S R is scheduled for release via Opal Tapes on 3rd June 2016, pre-order a copy from the label’s Bandcamp.
1. Rad Machine – Nightingale
2. Buwalda – Nas Krepyat
3. Ewan Limb – Le Douanier
4. Camin Mraz’ – Quagmire
5. Åmnfx – Please Do It Gently
6. Monotronique – Midnight Call
7. YancityGurl – Thou Shalt Not Forget
8. Yung Acid – Sonic
9. Low Tape – Sad But Thru
10. Внеземные соцветия (Extraterrestrial Infloresence) – Времени нет
Discover more about Opal Tapes on Inverted Audio.ÅmnfxBuwaldaCamin Mraz’Ewan LimbLow TapeMonotroniqueRad MachineYancityGurlYung AcidOpal Tapes3 June 2016ExperimentalHouseTechno