Radio Quarantine -Маяк – Романтика

Wikipedia has a decent description of SOVIETWAVE here that goes well beyond the descriptions and discussions on Reddit fora or music sites. There are far too many genres and subgenres of music for me to wrap my head around or even bother with. To my ears though, Sovietwave is a thing. You can readily find the influences of western pop groups like A-Ha or Depeche Mode but this has a vibe all its own and distinctly apart from anything in the west or any of the various ‘waves’ in electronic music. I’m going to stick with the term HAUNTOLOGY, with all apologies to Jacques Derrida who may or may not be pleased, to place the pervading mood of the music. This act, Маяк from Ukraine I think, is a big player in the ‘scene,’ and appears in many of the mixes online.

I wonder some mornings if the music would have resonated the same way outside of the context of the current strange circumstances, with a worldwide pandemic and lockdown and all the civil strife. It’s not that it reflects all the upheaval or anxiety but it perfectly soundtracks the long hours with nowhere really to go. There is a portrait in the music, that fairly well represents the empty streets and shuttered gates and abandoned train stations during what would usually be a bustling rush hour. It’s lonely music. It’s curfew music. It’s ‘things used to be so different’ music. It’s ‘if you ever told me that things could be like this’ music.

It’s ‘waiting to see’ music.

The funny things is, it could in fact be lazy afternoon at the beach chilling out music, under different circumstances. I went down to Rockaway Beach and spent some time wandering the boardwalk. It was far from empty and people were scattered at ‘social distance’ distances with their umbrellas out on the sand. Families set up for the day. Group of young people wheeled coolers down from the train and went into grocers one at a time for drinks and ice, while other lined up in their masks outside. People gave other people out on the boardwalk a pretty wide birth. Occasionally you’d see that someone was smiling, just from the crinkles around the eyes. It looked like squints in the bright light at first but then added to congenial nods, it was easy to see the new signs of… signs of hey we’re doing this despite it all.

It’s mostly sitting through the morning coffee music though, coming up from a meditation with no plans for what would otherwise be a busy day. The icy digital chill that speaks more of Northern Europe isn’t melted at all by the heat, and it is already blazing hot this morning. We’re in that July wave of tropical nonsense that always seems to out of place here in New York.

No place to go music. So much is still shut down. Shuttered shops are still the rule in many neighborhoods. The usual New York Summer Festival vibe is noticeably absent. There are no street fairs. There are no subway performers. it’s just… different. Hauntology again, we are all in that place thinking of the summer we thought six months ago that it would shape up to be, the future that didn’t happen. Maybe that’s why the Sovietwave is so perfect for all of it. Rather than a lost dream of a distant future, it’s a lost dream of… the words aren’t with me. Something feels lost. This is in that sense, waiting room music. It’s what’s piped through the speakers over the fake elephant leaf plants in an artificially lit room while we see what comes down the pike next.

I’m going to wrap this up, despite that it feels like there’s more to say. I still want to examine this idea of the pandemic as a psychedelic trip further, but it doesn’t seem like that’s what is sitting just below the surface right now. It’s there for certain but there is something else. It will come out or not. It may just be a mood that will melt off as the sun gets higher.

Not sure.

  • 1-Романтика 00:00
  • 2-Каникулы 03:07
  • 3-Утреннее солнце 05:55
  • 4-Эхо ушедших дней 10:04
  • 5-Пейзаж из окна 13:53
  • 6-Воспоминания 16:54
  • 7-Мертвый город 20:29
  • 8-Долгий путь домой 24:44
  • 9-После полуночи 27:50
  • 10-Звездопад 30:26
  • 11-Кто-то другой (Бонус) 33:57

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