Launched in February this year, Moscow-based online station New New World Radio has set a standard for independent radio programming. The project, run by DIY figures in their own right, Arthur Kuzmin and Ivan Zoloto, and their mission continues to be supporting and promoting exchange between artists and collectives outside of the major cultural centres. Artists from Hungary, Israel, China, Taiwan, Ukraine, Jamaica, have all contributed, with collectives and labels like Equiknoxx, Genome 6.66 Mbp, Baba Vanga taking part.
The name of the station is a play on the mid-2010s era genre revival of so-called New Age music, nestled somewhere between dream pop and hypnagogia, and appropriately dubbed the ‘New New Age.’ There’s also the obvious connotation to the by now maligned ‘World Music’ category, which has too often implied everything outside of the Western canon, as well as the less obvious inspiration of Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel Brave New World.
To encourage furthering the decentralised, globalised world of art, music and culture, AQNB invited NNW to share a mix of their favourite music, to which the station responded with an excellent selection of Eastern European numbers, aptly titled ‘A Very Russian Mix.’ NNW also answered some questions about the organisation via email, along with a track-by-track of the mix and some fascinating insights into what populates it. The sounds sampled carry from underground music icons and a Russian Stereolab rip-off to a dysfunctional family soap opera and very creepy computing lecture.
**Could you tell us about the community of New New World Radio? How many people run the radio station?
New New World: Well, we’re just two people in a way — Arthur Kuzmin and Ivan Zoloto. In the first several months Ivan’s wife Lera Alfimova also was a huge help in terms of visuals and online presentation etcetera. But now it’s just the two of us, basically. Arthur is currently in Moscow running the studio and arranging monthly fundraiser parties, whereas Ivan is traveling the world and doing designs, developing concepts, communicating with new contributors…
We have to say that Danny Venzin of Australian post-punk bank Nite Fields was a very important person right before we launched — he talked us into being a bit more brave and radical, and he’s the first one who approved the name. Also, we wouldn’t be where we are without the venue that hosts us, Powerhouse Moscow. It’s a special little place, though, with a professional studio and a gorgeous backyard. It’s a commercial venue but it’s surprisingly open. Like, they would host a punk show, record Pussy Riot demos, do an indie-pop gig and then book Maria Chavez, you know… On top of that, loads of people in Moscow help us get by. Some just attend the all-nighters and donate cash, others lend us audio equipment or vinyl needles when needed. We feel loved there.
**Do you have regular radio hosts/DJs ? Or do you continually have new contributors?
NNW: It’s probably 50/50. Since it’s a non-profit thing so far, it all comes down to having spare time to do shows. Some contributors just don’t have the time and energy to do monthly shows in the long run, so they just do several. We’ve got a lot of one-offs. And we also have quite a few dedicated and punctual contributors whose shows are the backbone of the station, like Dale Cornish.
**Whats the concept behind your name/title?
NNWR: Do you remember ‘New New Age?’ It’s always been a fun genre tag, it’s hilarious but it also makes a lot of sense. We were playing on that. We love a lot of gloomy music so we figured it’d be nice to play with positivity. But then we thought of Brave New World you know…
When we had this Jamaican crew Equiknoxx in our studio in the first week of the station — they told us ‘new new’ means ‘fresh’ or ‘cool’ in Jamaica. Hell yes!
**Why do you call yourselves post-political?
NNW: We just put the music forward. Like, you know about all the Russian-Ukrainian tensions? It’s dumb to comment on that, all the people with a heart know what’s what there. So we just did a collaboration with a Ukrainian radio in Moscow, and nobody, not a single soul asked anything. Because it’s all about the music and the intentions behind it. We’ve had amazing shows from Israel on air and we’d love to have some Palestinian mixes, too. Because why not? We’ll soon stream a series of American shows from the likes of Smegma or Spencer Clark but we also have contributors from mainland China. It all makes sense to us. And being post-political is more about feeling politics, not talking politics.
**When you visit the website, you press play and have no idea what you will hear or expect. Can you tell us a bit about your choice of of anti-genre?
NNW: Well, we don’t want our website to feel like a shop where you choose goods. In most cases, people simply love emotional and real music, and genre tags are supposed to be markers of that. They are also markers of tradition. We are just like, ‘it is what it is.’ We’re trying to look for contributors who makes their musical connections not obvious, who rely on intuition. It’s way more interesting than knowing, ‘I like house so I’ll click that house tag and it’ll get me to that page with the shows I might like.’ That’s boring as hell. Press play, listen up and try to make sense of what you’re hearing. It’s fun.
01. люмены — идём! за солнцем
“This band was basically copying Stereolab but singing in Russian in the 2000s so their only album is nothing special unless you know every single Stereolab tune by heart (like me). But this interlude of theirs samples a super creepy lecture on computers, comparing them to penises and vaginas and calling files ‘excrements.’ We’re pretty sure he says something about necrophilia in computing, as well, but it’s hard to decipher.”
02. Strange sound in Kiev again Aug.11.11. Опять странный звук в Киеве 11.08 (YouTube)
“JUST LISTEN TO THIS SOUND OMG !!!”
03. Alexey Borisov — Pr. Vernadsky Solo
04. Astrosuka — Unsolved
05. KGXXX — Untitled set_2
“This project belongs to an amazing Moscow label ТОПОТ, which deals with free music and all sorts of experiments. But that crew also have a soft spot for Kenny G. All of that is pretty evident in their NNW show.
06. Torn — Blackout
07. ОЗЁРА — СЕВЕР
08. Тальник — Люди как ты
“This incredible Moscow duo are quite something. Their oeuvre is similar to that of Dean Blunt and their latest album is just heartbreakingly gentle. Also, look at this artwork of theirs — fits the radio very well!”
09. ADD — Live @ National Library of Karelia
“A nostalgic bit for me. This is a bootleg of a show I organized when I was 17 or 18 back in the Republic of Karelia. ADD were a cult electronic duo for me, local heroes. They went just full-on weird that time, sampling some Orthodox Russian priest, presumably.”
10. Suokas — Scratches
“Another cult producer from Karelia with a very crooked take on house.”
11. Быдло — Народ
“Proper fucked-up folk-rock from a Soviet ‘science city’ of Snezhinsk. It has super straightforward lyrics that are hard to translate but there are lines like “nobody ever told us we are worms” and “a nation of simpletons — that’s us!.” There’s a sub-genre of 80s Soviet punk that’s almost entirely acoustic — because hardly anyone could afford amplification in smaller places. It was most widespread in Siberia.”
13. Мама, мне страшно (YouTube)
“One of my favourite hobbies is making random searches in YouTube. This time I typed, “mom, I’m scared” in Russian and this soap opera snippet came up first. No idea what the show is, but like most of popular local soaps, it revolves around a dysfunctional family with a violent dad, petty crime, small town life and alcoholism.”
14. IC3PEAK — ETHER (SKOTO EDIT)
15. Zurkas Tepla — Nap In Suitcase
This radio contributor has the. best. ever. New New World related pic.
16. ARM Author — raspisanie (live at alcotron 19 02 2011)
“Andrey Mitroshin is another NNW contributor. Hailing from the city of Omsk but now based in Moscow, this fella has around 40 musical projects ranging from garage punk to synth-y new age and radical digital music. This is a song of his off some bootleg from 2011. Most of his music is released via his label Dopefish Family. He’s a real rock star and a truly talented musician.
17. Alien Pat. Holman — Mi-Tekno Pierce
“Simply a classic 90s underground gem from Russia. We’ve just found out that this bloke is a stepfather of one of our favourite NNW contributors. Wow.”
18. Софья Губайдуллина — Светлое и тёмное
“We really hope you know this composer.”
19. Drojji — Badruddin
“This Moscow duo are also NNW contributors and they make rather sick computer music, very skippish, sounds gorgeous live.”
20. Ночной проспект – Этой ночью
“Alexey Borisov is an absolutely cult figure in the Russian underground. This is a not-so-known tune from his most popular band, Notchnoi prospekt. After they fell out he is known as a dedicated noise artist. Alexey is a frequent guest at NNW studio, and there’s also a solo track of his in the beginning of the mix. His NNW show is an audio diary of sorts.”**