The man who seems to have a hand in everything cool coming out of Toronto these days, Josh Korody (Beliefs, Wish), got his hands on some modular synth stuff and now there is more cool music in the world. SeeNailbiter.
This is my second autumn in New York and therefore my third one living in the Northeast. Sure, some would consider Toronto the Northeast, but by American standards, it might be more Midwest, considering how close it is to Detroit and Chicago. In any case, there’s definitely a beautiful, Northeast autumn vibe that some bands and artists capture really well. Here’s a little regional, seasonal playlist.
Directed by Chad Gracia, The Russian Woodpecker is a documentary following Ukrainian artist Fedor Alexandrovich as he investigates a possible conspiracy involving the Soviet Duga radar system and the Chernobyl disaster. As Alexandrovich’s investigation continues, Russian authorities apparently get wind of the project and pressure the film crew to back off the subject. All this takes place during the 2014 Ukrainian revolution.
Alexandrovich was four years old when the Chernobyl disaster occurred. Along with other children in Kiev at the time, he was evacuated from the city and sent to live in an orphanage in another city. Even though the relocation was temporary, it had a strong, traumatic impact on the young artist. From then on, he developed a strange fascination with the Chernobyl disaster.
When his friend’s father, a former Soviet air force pilot, told Alexandrovich about a luminous pyramid he saw while flying over Chernobyl, Alexandrovich decided to look into the matter. He discovered this was the Duga radar system.
Could it be that the Duga – a grand, 7 billion ruble failure of a radar system that for years emitted a low-frequency, woodpecker-like sound across the arctic circle – was located right on the Chernobyl site by coincidence? Alexandrovich doesn’t think so. Tracking down and interviewing those who worked on the Duga and at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, Alexandrovich uncovers a possible (but convincing) conspiracy of a Soviet bureaucrat who covered his ass at the cost of the worst nuclear disaster in history.
Whether the conspiracy is true or not, The Russian Woodpecker is a stirring, beautifully-crafted work with an engrossing personal subject. As entertaining as the best cold war thrillers, the film also sheds light on the intricate relationship between Ukraine and Russia. It further confirms that we should sleep a little less soundly, as Putin brashly pushes Russia beyond its borders in what many, including Alexandrovich, liken to a Soviet Union return from the dead.
Steven Lambke is best known as a member of the Constantines, but he’s been releasing quiet, folksy solo music for years under the pseudonym Baby Eagle. On October 30th, he’ll release Days of Heaven, his first album under his own name, via his own excellent You’ve Changed Records (which Lambke runs with Attack in Black‘s Daniel Romano).
Appropriate for an album with such an epic name (seemingly inspired by Terrence Malick‘s much lauded film of the same name), Days of Heaven is an intimate but weighty affair. Like Lambke’s adopted home of Sackville, it seems destined to be a hidden treasure, never encountered by most of the world, but cherished immensely by a chosen few for its understated beauty.
Collapsing Opposites is the idiosyncratic pop project of Vancouver’s Ryan McCormick. Recently, he released a new album called Dreamland on my friend Soren little Brothers‘ label Ur Audiovisual. It’s apparently inspired by some heavy life events he went through last year, including the birth of his first child and the death of his brother. I haven’t heard the whole thing, but I liked the song below, “cops get local music 2097”. Hopefully, one day, I’ll get to hear the whole album…