These 5 Moscow Producers Are Pushing The Boundaries of Techno
Russia has experienced an electronic music renaissance of late, with fearless musicians creating some of today’s most exciting sounds.
We take a look at five artists from the country’s capital, who in their own way represent the very best of Russian techno, house, experimental and beyond.
Arguably Moscow’s most prevalent techno producer — and certainly one of Russia’s — Nikita Zabelin has helped launch the careers of some of the city’s most exciting young names, including a few on our list. Zabelin has done so through his label, Resonance Moscow, and more prominently through his weekly radio show of the same name.
Nikita’s rise to fame is primarily linked to his outstanding releases on Nina Kraviz’ трип (Trip), though he’s also released on Icelandic label X/OZ. And these days, Nikita is spreading his multifaceted techno sound far from home, playing Berlin’s Berghain, Waking Life Festival, and Giegling x Moscow.
Since making their Radio Cómeme guest mix debut five years ago, Interchain have steadily ticked all the right boxes. They spun a suitably-oddball mix for NTS in May of 2018, remixed Maelstrom’s “Snow Falls” into a furious post-punk dance frenzy, and delivered a wonderful album on Hivern Discs sub label HVNX for the imprtint’s 500th release, which covers distorted synth wave, techno, ambient and industrial for a mini-opus of the duo’s scatter-shot tastes.
Having primarily released singles on Moscow label PG Tunes until late, the duo, Lee & Gorbunov, have so far not toured far outside their region. But with any luck, the rest of us will be in on their fun soon.
An alumnus of Nikita Zabelin’s Resonance Moscow and Montreal’s 2016 Red Bull Music Academy, Unbroken Dub personifies what’s great about Moscow’s underground — he makes music that sounds like almost nobody else, spanning ambient, dub techno, and deep house.
This is exemplified on the spaced-out “Factory Presets Improvisation,” which was part of the first Resonance release in 2016. But his unique abilities shine through even on more conventional releases — like 2017’s Two Floors EP on Dubwax — which since 2011 have come mainly via Frankfurt’s famed Rawax label.
Like Interchain, Åmnfx embraces the punk ethos, which seems to be running strong through Moscow’s growing electronic scene. His productions rarely stick to one genre, instead encompassing dusty electro edits, ethereal techno, swinging deep house, and harder to classify sounds.
Real name Vasily, Åmnfx’s releases come via an equally wide range of labels, including 100% Silk, Opal Tapes, MMODEMM, Neo Violence and Moscow-based imprint Firering, a DIY cassette label that releases only on recycled materials, which Åmnfx co-runs. The punk spirit runs deep.
Inspired in-part by British IDM duo Autechre, Sestrica’s sound is perfectly described by her one-line biography: “emotional music for empathic individuals.” A fully live act, she uses her machines to thread the needle between thrilling, gritty electro, and delicate, classic trance.
Her 2017 track “For The Wrong Reasons” was chosen by Mixmag for Best New Techno Tune. And the Baron of Techno, Dave Clarke, played her 2018 electro-breakbeat track “Confidence” on his long-running White Noise radio broadcast. She also released her debut album, Unity, on Umwelt’s New Flesh Recordings. And more recently, she reworked Donato Dozzy and Anna Caragnano’s “Love Without Sound” to haunting effect. While she’s only recently started gigging outside of Russia, her first show was at Berlin’s famed live music venue Funkhaus. And in 2019 she played two gigs at Tbilisi’s famous Cafe-Gallery, as well as Gamma Festival in St. Petersburg. We’ve no doubt there’s plenty more in store.