Philipp Markovich & Olegue Zabava
Your mix is titled ‘Unter Der Linden’, tell us a bit about the making of it?
P: I’ve derived the idea of our mix from the old Roman religious concept of «genius loci» — a protective spirit of a certain place. It is quasi-homage to Lypky-district in Kiev, a place I’m deeply connected with since many years. «Lypky» means «lime trees» in English or «Linden» in German, therefore this mix was recorded under lime trees (unter den Linden) scattered throughout the district.
O: It’s peculiar, but this is our first collaboration despite of the fact that we have been playing together at LOW Party for 10 years now. Referring back to the origin of this mix, I think, it’s became possible because our paths have crossed at Lypky. So in this case the location played the very same role as Passy in the Last tango in Paris.
LOW party has a consistent stellar lineup of int. guests (Ivan Smagghe/Gilbr/Phuong Dan most recently), over the years what have been some of your hightlights?
P: One of the best nights at LOW for me is dated back to 2011. Bariş K from Istanbul smashed the dancefloor of currently disband Xlib Club with tunes ranging from dark and slow e-disco through high-pitched acid up to dervish vibes. I remember (barely) standing with Bariş at the bar by the end of the night, watching him explain a Turkish verse from one of his edits. The original song was about a beautiful girl trying to get to the river’s bank jumping on the small rocks. So did Bariş — jumped with his morning grace along the bar counter, trying not to fall down into the water of imaginary river.
Another great moment was our annual LOW Boat party 2014 on a pleasure craft floating around Dnipro river. Chris Kontos and Hugo Capablanca were just brilliant. Even as we moored, people didn’t want to leave and demanded the party to go on. That was just a perfect open-air/water party, let alone the afterparty on the ground.
O: Yes, I reminiscence that morning at the bar with Barış K, we drank black sugar-free coffee and then he asked very seriously something like: Do you believe in Devil? Those were good times. Also it’s hard not to mention Bill Brewster’s sunset “dj kicks” mix on the beach and absolutely unforgettable Bjørn Torske, who had been playing spiritual gamelan techno at Xlib Club as if we were at the secret rave in the woods. What I find important is a crazy and earnest mood of our closest friends. They never plan anything for the day following LOW party, so when our guests see such a party attitude on the dance floor they return the love and party becomes unpredictable in a good way.
What triggered your fascinations and led you to follow a musical path?
P: My long lasting obsession with obscure noise and drone soundscapes came from my school years, which I spend listening to «extreme» genres such as black-metal, crust-, grind-, noise- and hardcore-punk (all along other more easy-listening stuff like alternative rock and shoe gaze). My second path, which led me to more danceable beats started with my involvement into the football fans subculture around Arsenal Kiev FC, which introduced early ska, rock steady, skinhead reggae and northern soul music to me. After passing through this turning point I came to disco, which showed me the way to the bright and shiny world of dance-music.
O:I don’t want to retrospect to my childhood too much, though the most important were my student’s years. Reading Nietzsche, Wagner and Adorno I realized why music plays such an important role in humans life and eventually became interested in experimentation with forms of collective listening. For instance I used to work at the bar where prostitutes and criminals would usually hung out, playing Marvin Gaye for them. Although I’ve been playing “some sort of trance and chill out mix” in clubs for over ten year by now, I’m still inspired by experimental and performative elements of djing. So at the moment I work on the project called Negroni Talking Club and what I intend to do is to dub on air German, Japanese, Brasilian etc. songs into Ukrainian and Russian. Quite a challenging yet extremely interesting task to accomplish.
Both of you are currently living in Kiev, can you give us an insight into the music scenes of your city?
P: There is a certain swing in the local music scene here in Kiev — we’ve got as many new venues opened as possible since long period of time. First of all a strong techno-mainstream is on, the rumor has it at least. But we push it more towards eclectic soundscapes with the help of our own LOW Party nights at Closer. What I really like is a growing interest in New music and avant-garde, which wouldn’t be possible without Ukho (Ear) music agency and their Ukho Ensemble conducted by Luigi Gaggero.
O: The attitude to life of the local youth is very inspiring, they live on the verge, generously wasting their energy as if it was perpetual. Such a youth vibe is rare to spot, yet some time ago one could encounter it in Berlin.
Is this perpetual energy you mention expressed through the work of local bands and artists?
P: Kievan scene is developing and hasn’t reached its peak yet. We’re in a middle of something here right now. A major role in it play DJs, which we’d like to mention: — Pavel Plastikk, the godfather and chairman of LOW Party, who’ve set a new direction of post-disco movement in Ukraine; — Borys, a pensive techno-head, who is in a good company alongside with other great DJs in Closer’s roster; — and Slava Lepsheev, who used to be the half of «Zhiguli» DJ-duo together with Borys. Now he throws massive techno-jamborees called «Cxema», which are considered by I-D Magazine to be an avant-poste of Ukrainian techno-underground in the post-Maidan times.
There is particularly one band, which is worth mentioning in this context, cause they represent in my opinion a free spirit of improvisation and musical goodwill in terms of current musical agenda. It’s the «Nisantashi Primary School», a trio consisted of Lusya, Vlad and Misha. They are passionate studio-diggers, tapping on analog synths, bass and drums. But they’re great live-performers as well. They remain a «hidden gem» even for the locals. But this won’t be lasting for long.
0: Indirect is an improvised trio from Odessa, that lives up to the traditions of kraut and psychedelia. I might add that their new LP has been released recently on a very promising Ukrainian label Muscut. They’ve been on stage fairly long, but now their music is very much in tune with the post-Maidan Kyiv night life. So it resonates with Ukrainian reality and sounds pretty natural.
Who are some of the most inspiring musicians from your hometowns?
P: My local heroes are the composers: Alla Zagaykevych, Viktoriya Polevaya, and the living Maestro Valentyn Sylvestrov.
Alla Zagaykevych — Sans L’éloignement De La Terre
Alla Zagaykevych is one of the most prolific modern composers in Ukraine. Combining both electro-acoustic and contemporary academic attitude, she’s known for her live performances (improvisation provided) and scores for films. She’s also the founder of Electronic Music Studio at the National Music Academy of Ukraine.
One of the best live performances I’ve ever seen was a choral work of Viktoria Polevaya conducted in a swimming pool. There was an option to listen to the music in the water, which is truly unusual experience. Unfortunately I can’t really swim, therefore I’ve stayed on the poolside.
Valentin Silvestrov — Symphony No. 5
There’s nothing much to be said about Silvestrov’s work. You have simply to put aside all of your routine and spend 45 minutes with this beautiful masterpiece. As the Maestro once ironically described his attitude: «You don’t have to listen to it, there’s nothing but the music».
O: Odessa, my hometown, is a cinematographically famous city on the Black Sea (let us just recall Eisenstein movie). There is a bunch of truly talented local musicians. I really like that their true value lies in the lyrics and poetry rather than in a genuine music style. I’d been a fan of dubs and instrumentals for a long time, but at the moment I become to appreciate musicians, who are able to express their feelings poetically.
Flёur — A man with the 33 strains
Flёur is a mix of ethereal, baroque music and something else. An exceptionally beautiful love song about an anticipation of powerful feelings. The lines I like the most are I’d like to know if I should run or stay, escape or carry on? In my opinion they echo Robert Wyatt’s Just as You Are song.
Vladimir Nessi — My Soul is Restless
Unfortunately, I’ve never been to his concerts. However, my friend recalls Vladimir singing in Tindersticks fashion under the balcony of his beloved in the night. I tend to believe this story. This is a cover of a very well-known Soviet song by Alisa Freindlich from Eldar Ryazanov’s Office Romance movie.
Stas Podlipskiy — Poppy has ripened in the mountains
Podlipskiy is a legend of Odessa underground. The locals are familiar with his oeuvre as in the old days it was common to see him performing in a tram or on the street. This song exemplarily represents his style and is about poppy that has ripened in the mountains (in the 90’s the opium poppy was as popular among artists and criminals as heroin). What else can I say? I’m happy he performed on my wedding.
And since we are nearing the end of the year what have been some of your musical highlights and releases for the year?
Accident du Travail — Très Précieux Sang (The Trilogy Tapes)
Marie Davidson — Adieux au Dancefloor (Cititrax)
Toresch — Essen für alle (Offen Music)
Af Ursin — Classement Vertical (Ultra Eczema)
John Duncan — Bitter Earth (iDEAL Recordings)
Michael Moser — Antiphon Stein (Edition RZ)