Moscow-based electronic musician, Jekka, has created a blog called ‘Parallel’ to bring more visibility to women in the Russian electro scene. She shares 18 of her favorites below.
Jekka is a Moscow-based singer-songwriter and music producer. In addition to participating in the Red Bull Music Academy Bass Camp in Saint Petersburg in 2013, she’s self-released two EPs and several collaborative singles with artists such as 813 and My Kingdom; produced several music videos; opened for Emika, Pictureplane, Blackbird Blackbird, Love Cult in Moscow; and played a great number of venues in Russia and abroad. Jekka is actively interested in technology and the arts. She even created a first prototype of a sound reactive dress in 2013 and is part of Playtronica – an interactive music playground exploring DIY technologies and accessible music-making.
When we contacted her, she kindly gave us the scoop on 18 of her favorite bands of the moment.
“I started the Parallel music blog because I was frustrated with the music media and the unsupportive environment that keeps posting the music and work of the same artists over and over. I was also disappointed by the fact that the percentage of coverage about female musicians was almost zero. My mission is to break stereotypes, inspire other women to make music by exposing them to their peers, and have a place to talk about education, developing your skills and believing in your abilities.
With most of the music media and music critics in Russia gone, the most thriving community for listening to music and discovering new artists is still the Russian social network VKontakte. VK has several advantages over Facebook, one of them being that you can upload your music directly onto the social network platform and share it in posts, messages and any other form, which is convenient for aspiring musicians.
This mix presents the first heroes of the blog, many of whom are my friends, but some of whom I discovered while browsing music on VKontakte.”
“I discovered this musician browsing through one of the many popular music groups in VKontakte and was amazed at how simple yet catchy her songs were. It might remind you a bit of Solange or Jessy Lanza in terms of the overall impression. And it was the first time that I really liked someone singing in Russian instead of trying to emulate some Western type of singing and applying it to the Russian language. She’s already published 3 EPs under different monikers, which were all made in Garage Band, but she has no artist page, no SoundCloud and wants to sing in a garage blues band (so weird!).”
“Lala was one of the first musicians I discovered who is not from Moscow. I found out about her by asking my friends from the promo group Tesnota in Yekaterinburg to send me some links to women making music in their city. Lala makes beats, finger drums, sings and loves neo-soul and hip-hop. I saw a video where she participated in a beat maker’s competition and she was the only woman!”
“Gala is an amazing singer and songwriter. Her voice is simply stunning and sensual, she loves collaborating with different bands and musicians. Natural Sequence is her current band, but be sure to check out her other projects as well. Mostly it is neo-soul which is her natural musical space but she experiments with a variety of genres.”
“Someone suggested I check out Anya’s music when I first talked about setting up Parallel and I was amazed by the fact that she was a professional sound engineer and sound designer and also made these kick-ass beats. My favorite track of hers is still Going Crazy ft. Natalie Williams which has some killer rhythms. She’s putting lots of her own music out on SoundCloud as well as mixing and mastering tracks for Russian label Hyperboloid and DJing.”
“I’ve known her for about 5 years via Facebook and she was the first girl I saw using controllers and a laptop for live performances and not singing. She has a huge following and although she rarely releases anything, her concerts are always packed. Now she is into modulars and wants to completely rework her live set-up.”
“Soela is a fan of Ishome, as it so happens, and I came across her chill dub music also on VKontakte. Although she says she started using Ableton Live only a couple of months ago, she already has a record out on the German label sub.spiele.”
“She was also referred to me by my friends from Yekaterinburg and makes beautiful ambient music like a soundtrack to an imaginary film. She is also actively collaborating in making sound for video-mapping projects and wants to make music for film.”
“This is a duo by contemporary academic composers Sasha and Kirill. They make minimalistic compositions drawing upon, perhaps, the work of composers such as John Cage or Steve Reich. Sasha is also actively curating contemporary academic music events showcasing young talent and mixing both acoustic composers and electronic musicians.”
“Salama only started making music a year ago, but already has an EP out on a Mexican label. She is also part of the Pati Soft DJ collective in Nizhniy Novgorod, which likes to mix different genres of music and switch tempos, from African to experimental.”
Rosemary Loves a Blackberry
“Diana is a trained drummer and has played in different bands. Now she’s the drummer for post-punk band Fanny Kaplan and makes more experimental music and does art-based performances under Rosemary, exploring the influence of the internet and the digital age.”
“A trio of ladies playing post-punk. What appeals to me the most is that they manage to maintain a melodic aspect to their songs, along with their intricate and groovy rhythmic patterns and clever lyrics.”
“Another VKontakte discovery. It’s a bit folky psychedelic guitar music, swimming in delays and reverbs. In addition to her digital releases she also has cassette releases and was bold enough to organize her own European tour.”
“A resident of Moscow’s Powerhouse bar and night club, she mixes African beats and UK bass in her own sets and is also incredibly engaging with the crowd. The song Clear Smoke is one of her own productions combining lo-fi pop with a touch of garage beats.”
“Synth-pop sweethearts, Oksana and Dima make dreamy music reminiscent of our favorite 80s movies, always with a touch of summer romance. And of course, it makes you want to dance.”
“This Grimes-esque pop princess from Belarus has taken her home music scene by storm and is actively touring Europe as well. She does all her own production and uses mostly analog synths in her not so small collection.”
“Red Bull Music Academy alumna, NV has been growing her audience and participating in several music projects simultaneously. It seems like her creativity has no end, whether she’s working on a comic book or a performance piece. Combining elements of pop music and performance art, her live sets are always filled with incredible energy. Her Binasu record is out on CD in Japan and she will be on tour in the US in December and January. ”