Emerging Movements: From Russia With Love
The Dutch and Swede’s have become renowned electronic maestros throughout the scene and its genres over recent years, arguably containing some of the pioneers for the status of the industry today. But a new phase of cultural talent is quickly emerging into the limelight from the vast wilderness of Russia. A wave of production has begun its ascent towards electronic dominance.
The re-emergence of genres like progressive, garage and tropical house have seen labels and industry leaders turn to talent with a point of difference. The ones who have a certain edge to their material, a refreshing angle and take on musical production. The ones who tend to look at the standard formats and sounds catalogue and flip it on its head.
The industry looks set for a Russian take over in 2016. The streak of dominance can already be seen, bubbling quietly in the latest releases, leaks, rips and ID’s scattered across media platforms and sites. With a combination of established and emerging artists, the wealth of talent on hand to spearhead the musical assault is one of impressive stature to say the least.
Former Hard Rock Sofa member, Shapov, can arguably be seen as one of, if not the golden boy for the move. With established links to Axtone through his previous work, Alexander Shapovalov’s new chapter already has the makings for something special, with his remix of “Paradigm” receiving wide critical acclaim and the yet-to-be released “Welcome To Our World” creating a stir online. The hotly tipped Shapov has already been making disk jockeying waves, with consistent appearances in Ibiza at Ushuaia along-side Axwell & Ingrosso, with whom he also has a confirmed collaboration in the works. With his latest release, “Runic”, already exemplifying the young Russians array of production talent, there’s little wonder the Swedish powerhouse-duo have taken a strong fondness of him.
Pairing up with Shapov for his latest release “Vavilon”, Russian prodigy 19-year old Amersy already has quite a list of achievements under his belt. After winning Nicky Romero’s Beatport Remix competition at the age of 16, releases on prestigious labels like Refune, Axtone, Protocol Records, Doorn Records and Armada Trice have seen young Max receiving major support from artists such as Axwell /\ Ingrosso, Steve Angello, Alesso and David Guetta – not bad company to have. With a reputation for genre-hoping, Amersy’s latest track, “Air”, received its premiere on A State of Trance 720 and his remix of Hard Rock Sofa’s “Let Me Hear You Scream” dropped on SIZE records – he’s 19. And if his latest release, “Go” is anything to go by, along with his remix of Otto Knows “Next To Me”, Amersy’s 2016 is looking in very good health.
The distinctively named M.E.G & N.E.R.A.K seemingly couldn’t get enough of each-others work, with frequent collaboration and remixes of each others work almost making them a duo before it was official. The Russian pair have been receiving big support of late, from the likes of Axwell and Afrojack, with their distinctive sound reminiscent of the wave of Russian talent hitting the scene. With the massive success of their track “Concorde” on Wall Recordings, and their collaboration earlier this year with Shapov, “Party People“, the duo’s name has become synonymous with descriptions including fresh, sharp and rave-worthy. And with a snippet from their new collaboration with fellow Russian, Shapov, already drawing attention, it seems the pair has a lot in store for 2016.
Matisse & Sadko are another Russian duo that are experiencing a surge into the limelight. One of the most established Russian acts on this list, their name is already synonymous with the more modern format of progressive house, producing the likes of “We’re Not Alone”, “Riot” with Arty and “SLVR” with none other than Steve Angello. While their productions are fewer in number than many fellow DJ/Producers, the caliber of material in their catalogue brings a timeless essence to it, with an ear for quality over quantity. They’re arguably responsible for the emergence of the Russian scene internationally, with their remix “Beat Of My Heart” featuring on the 2012 Tomorrowland Aftermovie, capturing ears, hearts and interest worldwide. The pairs status however seems to have caught a second wind, with back to back collaborations with young Dutch maestro, Martin Garrix. “Dragon” has already been tipped as one of the tracks of the year, reaching the top spot on Beatports chart in a heartbeat. And with their latest release with Garrix, “Break Through the Silence”, already clipping at its heels, Matisse and Sadko look set to elevate their status as a powerhouse within the electronic scene. Pairing up with the likes of fellow Russian Vigel for an unconfirmed new release, and consistently creating riveting build-ups and some of the best melodies within the genre, the duo combine some of the defining characteristics of the Swedish and Dutch dominance in years prior, culminating is some very impressive tracks indeed.
Swanky Tunes. The light-hearted Russian trio have been around for over a decade, with their ‘Showland’ podcast already on its 52nd episode. Revered for consistent and regular hits, whether as a collaboration, remix or solo material, Swanky Tunes can be seen as one of the modern ‘fathers’ of the Russian movement. With their recent string of hits including “Get Down” with Vigel, “Fire in Our Hearts”, their emphatic edit of Arston’s “Star Warz”, “Wherever U Go” and “Fix Me” , the trio’s broad spectrum of electronic sounds seems to cater for every related setting you can think of. Now record label chiefs, Swanky Tunes are curating the next phase of the Russian movement, bringing the likes of Reunify and Vigel onto their Showland label. And with their latest release with Tom Swoon dropping on July 20th, the trio looks set to continue their streak, setting up the summer season and 2016 in very good stead.
Arty, some would argue the best has been saved till last. Bursting onto the scene as a 20 year old with his EP ‘Vanilla Sky’, the Russian Maestro quickly found firm footing, signing to Above & Beyond’s Anjunabeats. From radio-worthy remixes to trance to progressive house, Arty and his alias Alpha 9 have accumulated an esteemed collection of tracks including “Rebound” with Matt Zo and “Around The World“, which became a Swedish House Mafia staple for their sets over the years. With remixes of Ed Sheeran and Rudimental’s “Bloodstream“, One Republic’s “I Lived” and London grammar’s “Hey Now“, and original hits like “Bliss“, “Kate“, “Together We Are” and “Up All Night” the genre-bending producer has covered whole spectrum’s of genres in a relatively short amount of time. Now established as a consistent performer, Arty will no doubt feature as a one of the poster boys for the Russian wave, as fellow countrymen start to ascend to his level of status and performance.
While Dutch, Swedish and even American producers are still churning out quality productions, the Russians knack for something unheard is what has them standing apart from the rest of the crowd. Their ability to excuse common practices with such elegance and performance could possibly bring a new approach to music, one where the creative process is prioritized over the desired final product – a more natural process with diverse results. With a mix of established and upcoming talents leading the charge, and multiple collaborations within the wave, the electronic scene looks destined for a bit of Russian treatment. And with record labels from all nationalities picking on the trend, it seems it won’t just be a passing phase, rather a new establishment, a new monarchy as it were within the electronic landscape.