A guide to the New East

Anya Kuts and Ivan Zoloto of Love Cult are heroes of Russia’s new underground music scene: they’ve been recording disturbing, gripping, abstract tracks for over eight years and have their own cassette label, Full of Nothing, based in Karelia in the Far North of Russia. Their music plays in the bedrooms of like-minded youngsters, not only in remote corners of their country but also in US and Japan. It’s more than just noise — it’s the new sound of the Russian North, a sound of youth and self-awareness.

Despite the abstract nature of their music, Love Cult has always been curious about the world around them and the way contemporary Russia influences their creative process (in one of their earlier videos they’ve used found footage from a Russian village in the 1990s). They found a perfect collaborator in director Alina Filippova who shares their interest in the dark stories hidden behind the everyday. In this video, Wonderland, Love Cult’s net of beats and samples is layered over footage of Filippova’s feature film Holy Days, a story of teenagers spending their summer vacation in a small Russian village. The film is due to be released in 2016.

“It’s the summer holidays in the small town of L”, writes Filippova in her introduction to the film. “Here time stands still, every other day is exactly the same as the day before, there is not a single unfamiliar face and absolutely nothing to do. We follow some teenagers through the best days of their adolescence — through love, dreams, drugs, ambitions and boredom.”

Filippova belongs to a new generation of Russian image-makers who are reimagining youth in their country and seeking to do it as honestly as possible. She uses natural light, real village settings and amateur actors who act as characters based on themselves. Her shots are almost painfully sincere and evoke works by photographers Daria Tuminas or Olya Ivanova. Both musically and visually, Wonderland is a great insight into how youth in remote corners of Russia lives and breathes.

Text: Anastasiia Fedorova

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