Russian and UK Music Industries in Focus at Selector Pro
One of the most anticipated events of the festival is the Selector Live closing concert, where Darren Cunningham will perform with the London Contemporary Orchestra
Tom D. Morgan
If you’ve ever thought about starting your own record label or putting
on your own concert, Selector Pro, kicking off today, is where you’ll
find the information about how to do it, and where you’ll find the
people to do it with. The festival organized by British Council Russia
is focused on nurturing emerging talent, providing guidance and advice
for industry professionals, and building ties between the Russian and
the UK music industries.
A full program of workshops, public talks, film screenings and
performances is planned for the event, which takes place Thursday through Saturday. Music industry professionals will discuss all aspects of the
business, from the ins and outs of running a record label in the 21st
century, to how new technologies are changing music search and listening
A Platform for Collaboration
Selector Pro — which has evolved from the British Council’s Selector
radio show and its Selector Live parties — provides a platform for both
UK and Russian musicians and industry professionals to learn from and
work with one another, particularly as Russian musicians are gaining far
more exposure and recognition abroad than ever before.
“We believe in music and its strong power to unite people,” British
Council Russia head of creative economy Evgenia Gerasimova said. “Just
like our first forum held last year, we are looking forward to bringing
people together to share their experience and will provide our guests
with a unique insight into the latest music industry trends.”
Speaking to The Moscow Times, Stepan Kazaryan, founder of gig promoters
Connected Agency and organizer of music festivals like Bol’ and Moscow
Music Week, said the growing interest Russian bands from abroad should
come as no surprise.
“Russian musicians are finally producing good music, and more
importantly, they’re unique”, he said, citing St. Petersburg alternative
band Pinkshinyultrablast, which has received rave reviews from the
British press and is far more popular in the UK than at home in Russia.
“It is because there is cultural and social engagement reflected in the
music. We are seeing a generation of musicians who are not trying to
copy, but are instead producing something authentic,” Kazaryan, who is
speaking on the panel “This Will Be Legendary: How to Create the
Mythology of an Artist” on Saturday, said.
Lectures, Screenings and Workshops
Opening the festival today is the lecture “How to Speak About Music” by
Russian music critic Artemy Troitsky, followed by a Beat Film Festival
screening of the documentary “The Man from Mo’Wax”, which follows the
30-year career of DJ and music industry icon James Lavelle and his MoWax
record label. The film will be presented by its director Matthew Jones
and producer M.J. McMahon.
Among the festival’s other highlights is a talk by John Robb, frontman
of post-punk band The Membranes and founder of music website and
magazine Louder Than War, who will speak about the stories that were
compiled in his bestselling book “Punk Rock: An Oral History” on Friday.
The following evening, music historian Simon Reynolds will revisit
themes from his 2011 book “Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to Its
Own Past,” which was translated into Russian in 2015.
There will also be two music management workshops, one aimed at
beginners and the other for professional music managers, conducted by
British & Irish Modern Music Institute senior tutor Daniel Tsu.
James Lavelle (L) and DJ Shadow
An Experimental Performance
The highlight for music fans will undoubtedly be the Selector Live
closing concert, a unique collaborative performance by British
electronic musician Darren Cunningham — better known by his stage
moniker Actress — and the London Contemporary Orchestra (LCO).
Artistic directors Robert Ames and Hugh Grant founded the ensemble of
young musicians in 2008. Since then, LCO has been involved in numerous
cross-genre collaborations, and is best known for featuring on the
soundtrack to Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2012 film “The Master” and for
performing arrangements on Radiohead’s album “A Moon Shaped Pool”,
released in May.
The performance “Momentum” is based around tracks from a pair of Actress
albums that combine elements of techno, funk and ambient music,
“R.I.P.” (2012) and “Splazsh” (2010), as well as new material.
"We were really excited by Darren's sense of experimentation. As soon as
we were introducing musicians to him he was searching for sounds at the
extremities of the instruments”, Ames said. "Challenges have came from
trying to find a real blend between electronic sound and acoustic sound.
We have been trying to create a hybrid instrument between the two
worlds instead of keeping them separate."
The collaboration is scored for a chamber line-up of four strings,
clarinet, prepared piano, percussion and harp, but the musicians do not
follow a score, improvising and using a wide variety of props. Previous
performances have seen the use of plastic bags, fabric, clothes pegs,
Blu-Tack and metro cards – while Cunningham manipulates their output
“Basically, if you work in the music industry or generally interested in music, you can find something interesting at Selector Pro — to learn, to listen to and to watch,” Gerasimova said.
Selector Pro takes place from 21-23 July at Strelka Institute of Media, Architecture and Design. 14/5 Bersenevskaya Naberezhnaya. Metro Kropotkinskaya. Events, apart from the film screening and closing concert, are free of charge. Registration in advance is required. Visit www.britishcouncil.ru for more information.