Braindance: The Ukrainian Musical Revolution
ШЩЦ (SHITS) – Their name in Cyrillic translates roughly to the expletive seen above. Ambitious AND humorous. Score one for ШЩЦ already. According to their Bandcamp site, this playlist is chock full of Ukrainian ‘braindance’ electronic music. Braindance is quite an appealing style name all on it’s own. Enough to draw me in initially. Drawing me in is not as easy as it may seem. Sometimes I’m rather closed minded or downright stubborn for no conceivable reason. Now, despite being an electronic artist of late, I can say I’m not particularly a fan of the style. Something about it rubs me the wrong way. However, ШЩЦ is full of emotion and uncontested musicianship. This glimpse into post revolution Ukrainian underground culture is not something to be ignored. The former member of the Soviet Union has something to say and they flat-out don’t give a fuck what you think.
Who are you talking about?
ШЩЦ is actually an independent record label, founded in 2016. The record label states they desire to shift from commercial aesthetics and the norms of the music industry in order to shed light on the ‘real’ Ukrainian underground. There were 200 potential artists vying to be part of their playlist. Of that number, 23 were selected for the compilation.
For this Country which has been beaten down as hard as the Ukraine has (revision 2019 – keep in mind this article was written before the whole mess with Donald Trump, their Prime Minister, our embarrassment of a State Department which led to the recent Donald Trump impeachment inquiry), their electronic music is light, airy, and hopeful. I am unsure if this is exactly what I expected of a Country I don’t know much about, or the polar opposite. Either way, it’s damn good.
Do yourself a favor and give it a listen. I anticipate you will be very pleasantly surprised at how much you enjoy this quirky, ambient hodgepodge of flavors.
Aside from bright and airy, the material has grit. It’s not afraid to get down and dirty whilst being ethereal. This material is not intended for the top 40 and for ШЩЦ’s honesty in stating that it is not meant for that makes me only respect it more. Art for the sake of art. What a brilliant thought!
The syncopation used among all the artists is what stands out most to me. These folks are able to, both sonically and rhythmically, tear down the entire structure of their composition, slowly piecing it back together brick by brick. Much like the war torn regions of the country itself. They capture their own political environment so well without really uttering a word outside of the intro. Transitions can be sudden but everything always ends up finding itself in it’s right place somehow. This brightness is where the element of hope plays into this compilation.
Speaking of respecting this compilation, there’s not much nobler than releasing an album for free on Bandcamp reflecting their ambitious efforts to be working with artists. Not making music for the sake of landing on a major label or record company.
Especially for a collaborative I’m sure is not raking it in. Everyone is used to giant acts doing this these days but for, what I imagine are literal starving artists, this is a momentous feat. A feat which deserves a hearty round of applause.
Please give a listen and let me know what you think in the comments section below and, as always, keep on rockin’ and rollin’.