Официальный сайт группы Open Space (Минск, Беларусь): последние новости, афиша, блог группы.
7 января 2010

Far From Moscow «Cambridge and Open Space: Pacific Fairy Tales and a Belarusian Happy Ending»

Сслыка на оригинал: http://www.moscow.ucla.edu/pop/2010/01/06/cambridge-and-open-space-pacific-fairy-tales-and-a-belarusian-happy-ending

…The reason for such wavering is understandable if we look at the recent events in and around a band from the opposite end of Russian-speaking lands, Open Space. We offered a snapshot of the group earlier in 2009, when they released their second EP “Beautiful”, which can still be downloaded for free from several locations. At that time of the EP’s initial availability, we wrote that “this is a charming ensemble whom we can easily imagine enjoying more attention from central media, not only at home in Belarus, but across Russia, too.”

We had faith. A trusting, open-armed view of the world seemed possible.

группа Open Space

Since that time, a couple of events have come to pass, both of which bode well for the near future — and anybody whose worldview is troubled by “rain and fog.” A few days ago, Open Space declared: “We’re happy to inform you that our new album is now available for free listening across most of the social networks.” Entitled “Deal with Silence”, it’s the bands first album-length publication, consisting of 11 songs. Having gathered together smaller projects of the recent past, such as prior singles, EPs, and other offerings, the group was quickly interrogated by fans as to the general raison d’etre of the album: “There’s no real sense in trying to describe the basic idea of the disc.”

Given the name of the CD, in fact, it would be both ironic and counter-productive if the members of Open Space lapsed into wordy definitions of their new material. Thankfully, the Russian press did the job for them.

A review just appeared in Russia’s version of Rolling Stone, with — as we can see — Shakira on the front cover. The band clearly remains shocked to find themselves in such company. The magazine offered some very kind words to justify this unexpected surprise. “Time and again we find ourselves obliged to return to that theme of the ‘Belarusian Wave’. Indeed the most interesting bands of late keep coming from nearby Belarus. Whatever style we’re talking about, whether it’s pop-rock — in fact, it could even cabaret material with ambient elements[!] — the stuff that comes from Belarus will have something original about it, a fresh view of things, so to speak. That’s usually explained by virtue of a ‘time machine effect,’ i.e., the fact that Belarus has supposedly remained some kind of socialist wildlife park…”

Assumptions of old-world cultural constraints, however, would prove to be mistaken.

группа Open Space

“…But then, [despite all those stereotypes,] there are bands like Open Space, who prove that they’re operating in the same informational sphere as our up-to-date indie groups in Russia. Open Space play an energetic kind of English-language post-punk. Some of the songs’ melodies almost operate in the realm of catchy anthems for the [football] terraces.” Not only, therefore, was this a CD of surprising optimism and market savvy; other cliches would be unexpectedly subverted: “As opposed to the anglophile clubs of Moscow, the radio and TV stations of Open Space’s homeland show how this kind of band can expect media attention. We can only be jealous.”

In a nation associated with a media stranglehold, music appeared to be moving with greater freedom — and garnering more attention.

группа Open Space

Placed side by side, Cambridge and Open Space produce a pleasing and informative snapshot of modern music’s dilemmas in the Russian-speaking world. Young men and women, nurturing their dreams of success, find initial inspiration in the sweeping landscapes of their homeland. Their early optimism may be marked by the occasional, if not insistent greyness of «rain and fog,” but a positive worldview endures.

The forces of the modern market — and commerical media — will, however, subsequently make things extremely difficult. Should anybody suddenly find themselves shoulder to shoulder with Shakira on the pages of a glossy magazine, there’s neither rhyme nor reason as to why it should have happened at that given moment. Hard work is met with arbitrariness.

Nurturing anything, therefore, becomes very difficult.

группа Open Space

There’s one place, we might argue, where less commercial and more adventurous styles could possibly develop; on non-commerical radio, in the kind of state-run venues that, with huge irony, still operate in Belarus. Maybe there’s some evolutionary logic at work here that could be profitably employed. Young bands should be raised on the beaches of the Pacific, fostered in the TV studios of Minsk, and then bussed into Moscow.

Russian-language pop music should start from this bench. One of our Vladivostok musicians, inspired by the vista, is already casting a hopeful glace westwards, to the streets of distant Minsk…

Back to the future, so to speak.


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