Existing in various forms since 2009, Outline is firmly established as Russia’s foremost summit for bold and progressive excursions in electronic music and visual art. This year’s event takes place in Karacharovsky mechanical factory, a venue which presents an intriguing exercise in space and ephemerality – the plant, located in the historical industrial East Moscow, will be entirely dismantled before the end of the year. Gone, forever.
We’re going, and we’re hyped.
As well as attracting some of the world’s most revered DJs and live acts, including Atom™, Cobblestone Jazz, Ben UFO, and Ricardo Villalobos, Outline places real emphasis on also offering a platform for a range of Russian artists to display their worth on the most high-profile platform the country has to offer. So while you’re probably already familiar with the work of Nina Kraviz and Philipp Gorbachev, we’ve dug out a few less internationally-known names to shine a spotlight on the thriving Moscow underground. Here are our five Russian artists to watch at Outline 2015.
Arma17 revolutionised clubbing in Moscow. The venue, once described by RA as ‘one of the best underground clubs in the world’, sprung up in the wake of a thriving house and techno scene in a mythologised industrial park location which was destroyed by fire in 2009. Arma17 found a new residence nearby, and soon became an essential global clubbing destination, finding favour with international heroes like the Romanian trio [ar;pi;ar] and Berghain mainstay Marcel Dettmann.
One of the original visionaries behind the pivotal club and its offshoot label, its spokesperson and resident DJ, was Abelle. And while Arma17’s second incarnation closed its doors in 2014 – it’s since been leading a nomadic existence with various showcases across the world and at exciting, unorthodox locations in the city – Abelle’s reputation has continued to swell. Her warm and wonky excursions into analogue-sounding techno and acidic oddities, with an added taste for disco drama and marathon DJ sets which endlessly writhe and unfurl, expand and contract, mark her out as Moscow clubbing royalty.
The duo of Kirill Silantyev and Denis Kaznacheev spread their loyalties between Berlin and Moscow these days, and as well as DJing and producing run the expanding Nervmusic imprint, which they refer to as ‘Moscow’s first minimal techno label’, and earlier this year put out the impressive Orleans Bardel EP from Alka_Rex. When not wearing their label hats, the duo spawn a range of ambitious techno both as a pair and under their own names, and Kaznacheev’s recent remix of Swaab’s Kazak betrays the distinct influence of minimal master, and Outline headliner, Ricardo Villalobos in its unhurried yet propulsive vibe, sedate but full of wincing acidic tweaks with a mix of knowable and unknowable sounds seeping in and out of the mix.
Now a firmly-established figure in Russian underground electronic music, Alex Danilov’s reputation as a producer has spread beyond his native land, having released material via a wealth of labels over the last seven years including Cologne imprint Rough House Rosie and the memorable Can Speak Slow EP on the much-revered Frankfurt label Rawax, as well as having an ongoing affiliation with celebrated Russian label Pro-tex
With standout productions like the atmospheric, slurry house of Dzeta and Sequence Smoke, Danilov makes warm, loose machine music steeped in soul. His recent Outline warm-up mix promises a sleek but commanding set.
Another former resident at the legendary Arma17, Kurmyshev’s early production work delved through druggy, screwed dubstep and slushing ambient noise. On the evidence of his more recent mixes, however, he shows an expanding interest in more sultry and seductive strains of house and melodic techno, merging the dubby frequencies of his past with a more spacious and expansive purview. Which version will show up at Outline is an intriguing prospect, but what’s clear is that Kurmyshev’s lust for experimentation and progression will never leave him.
In line with the festival’s dual ethos of progressive music and visual art, Dasha Redkina is an intriguing multimedia artist whose Vimeo page will tell you as much about her creative direction as the wealth of dynamic mixes available at her SoundCloud page. Born in Ukraine, Redkina’s expansive creative pallet is a product of her mottled formative years, moving first to Moscow, then to the UK, then spending a period travelling around Europe, mining the continent’s best record stores and soaking up influences from its innumerable variations on club culture. Having accrued a huge collection of vinyl – her DJ sets are a strictly wax-only affair – and played some high-profile slots around Europe, she returned to Moscow in 2011, and has become a fixtures of the city’s electronic scene, collaborating on visual projects with the likes of Petre Inspirescu, and continuing her prolific work ethic through her surreal and evocative video output. Her set at Outline should be a pure and invigorating education.
Outline Festival takes place in Moscow, 4-5 July. For more information, head to outline-festival.ru