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¹7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope


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28 February - 6 March 2014

Ukraine History

A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels

With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidan’s three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the country’s stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.

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Ukraine Today
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard – and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.

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Ukrainian Culture

When Walls Can Talk

People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.

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Ukrainian Culture

Floating About Space with Ummagma

Forget about the plastic pop on the radio and the hardcore beats in Kyiv clubs – for an authentic musical experience, tune into the ethereal tracks of Ummagma; an international husband and wife duo who might just be the next big thing out of Ukraine.

Alexander Kretov and Shauna McLa­ron are an unlikely pair. A fated meeting in Moscow back in early 2000s led the two from Russia to Ukraine to the Canadian Yukon back to Ternopil, “the Nashville of Ukraine”. Making music for no one but themselves throughout this time, the two had amassed a “massive archive”; something needed to be done. Enter Ummagma.
A shortened form of Pink Floyd’s fourth studio album Ummagumma, products of their musical collaboration appeared on the music scene in July of last year in the form of two albums – a 12-track self-titled album, and Antigravity, another dozen tracks “dedicated to time, space and everything that makes your reality much lighter”.
With radio play in nearly 20 countries, spots on the Scottish New Music Charts and New York’s Indie Darkroom Radio, a feature in Russia’s Rolling Stone and most recently the win on British Amazing Radio’s Alternative Eurovision, the Ukrainian-Canadian team are making musical waves. Likened to Peter Gabriel, Arcade Fire, Pink Floyd and Snow Patrol, they have found their own sound, despite this rather prestigious list of comparisons, which can only be described as a fragrant potpourri of “ethereal dreamrock powerpop fusion”.

You’ve been compared to some pretty big names. Is there one you relate to more than another?
[As to] who we personally relate to, I think we are closer to Cocteau Twins and Slowdive in terms of our sound, but to Pink Floyd and David Sylvian in our approach to doing things. We are definitely hard to pigeonhole, as our music crosses at least eight musical genres.

You released Ummagma and Antigravity on the same day – what’s the story behind the two albums?
Most of the material from our self-titled album was drawn from our Moscow and Kyiv period, where we were living at that time. The Antigravity album is more reflective and melancholic because [of] the sentiment we were experiencing at the time of writing. Moving from Kyiv to Ternopil, then to Kremenets, then to northern Canada, then back to Ternopil/Kremenets, [with] the birth of a child along the way has been a bittersweet period of worry mixed with hope in all respects.

Have you found Ukraine the best diving board from which to jump for your music?
I can’t say that Ukraine was “the best” diving board for Ummagma, because there exists a whole set of limitations to trying to get anywhere with good music in this part of the world. What I can say is that there have been certain “pluses”. First, [there is a] high volume of great and unique sounding music coming from here. Moreover, there are amicable relations between so many bands, which makes for a nice support network. Looking from the outside too it seems that music writers and listeners are intrigued by the idea that the music they appreciate originated in Ukraine.

Keeping the lyrics to a minimum seems to be a trend on both albums, what’s the motivation behind that?
I don’t see it like that at all. I think it would be fairer to say that the lyrics don’t dominate in our music. We like the idea of vocals as an instrument, so that they are woven into the song in the same way that the other instruments are.

Some tracks on Antigravity, such as Bal­kanofellini, embrace a different feel than the ambient/dreampop you’re known for. Are you making a move to more Balkan-inspired music?
Actually, I don’t foresee us heading in any concrete directions – we have a broken compass, and we like it that way. We create music on a whim and that whim depends on the convergence of so many factors at different points in time. It’s all a matter of chance, timing and inspiration. We understand how people are pleasantly surprised by our music because, to tell the truth, we also often surprise ourselves in the process of its creation.

Your videos remain true to your otherworldly lyrics, featuring scenes of nature predominantly. Have you remained visibly behind the scenes on purpose?
We definitely have tried to create videos that expressed a similar sentiment to what we felt the music represented. We didn’t see the point of being the focus of our own videos, since we never wanted to give people the impression that the music centred on us – I mean, we are not selling ourselves – we’re pitching a concept and a feeling.

What comes next for the two of you? For Ummagma?
Well, it seems we may be working with a rather well-reputed British producer for our next release and we’ve already begun recording for that. In the meantime, we’ll likely go ahead with the CD and vinyl release [of our previous albums]. To tell the truth, our debut releases felt pretty much like a crapshoot as to how things would turn out, so we didn’t invest in any hard copies at that time. We also plan to release an EP with the Moscow-based post-rock shoegaze project Sounds of Sputnik. Apart from that, the game plan is to do what we’ve always done – write music that we, in first order, are happy with.

The music of Ummagma can be found at www.ummagma.com

by Lana Nicole

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Comments (3)
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Franciellen | 24.11.2013 02:40

Hi i have come across a moyccotrle i would like to identify it has a villiers xvc 148cc engine, single exhaust port and a 2 spd albion gear box the only markings on the frame are G1/1005. Any help would be greatly appreciated. http://footogpm.com [url=http://ocleoqhjhl.com]ocleoqhjhl[/url] [link=http://bpnxxf.com]bpnxxf[/link]

Irwan | 22.11.2013 22:28

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Kristina | 22.11.2013 14:45

Unfortunately you describe any one of a dozen bikes from a dozen maafenctururs. The small Villiers/2speed box utility bike was a bottom of the range favourite confection for many factories in the hard times of the late twenties and early thirties. Fitting the single port version of the normal twin port Mk XIIC (thats what the Mk XVC is) made it even cheaper. They saved on the cost of the exhaust system. These little bikes were cheap but can be great fun as they bring a challenge back to riding.The frame number helps to some degree but not enough. A photo is very necessary.Cheers,


 
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  • When Walls Can Talk
  • Rights We Didn’t Know We Had
  • The Path to Europe Begins Here...
  • Documenting Life
  • Head into 2014 Healthy

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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didn’t Know We Had

    Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Univer­sal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they don’t understand the meaning of these words.


    Kyiv Culture

    Pulling Strings
    Located on Hrushevskoho Street – the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades – children’s favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. What’s On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.

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