Photo credit: Noah Kalina
New Amsterdam Records is pleased to announce Russian-born, New York-based composer/producer Olga Bell‘s new album Krai, available world-wide on April 29, 2014. Inspired by the lesser-known corners of Bell’s homeland and written entirely in her native Russian, Krai is Bell’s second LP and first large-scale composition. Lead single “Perm Krai“, about a region in Russia’s interior and its 16th century Cossack inhabitants. Pitchfork premiered “Perm Krai,” noting that one could listen to the track “like you would peck at a fancy tasting plate, snacking on bright blobs and crunchy bits on a backing of white space.” All formats of Krai are available for pre-order directly from New Amsterdam here, including a limited-edition red vinyl 12″ LP packaged in double foil-stamped sleeves–a collaboration with London-based One Little Indian Records.
Krai (край) is the Russian word for edge, limit, frontier or hinterland. Present-day Russia is divided into a myriad of ‘federal subjects’, including nine krais. In this capacity the term is a political designation, like ‘territory’, but for the earliest Russians these places represented both the promise and terror of the vast unknown.
While much has been written about Russia’s major cities, Olga Bell’s Krai is concerned with the rest of the map: the wilderness, the towns, the inhabitants and their stories. From the Cossack melodies of Krasnodar Krai in the West to the Chukchi drumming of Kamchatka Krai in the Russian Far East, Krai is a journey across the Eurasian landmass in forty minutes.
Scored for cello, electric guitar, bass, pitched drums, mallet percussion and electronics, Krai features a vocal ensemble of six Olgas (four female, two ‘male’) singing entirely in Russian. The texts of Krai are a mix of traditional, liturgical and original poetry Olga created with her mother, a former Radio Moscow broadcaster. Cossack fables, Orthodox chant and politically charged limericks collide in a dizzying mosaic of avant-garde and vernacular soundscapes.
Край / Krai track list:
1. Краснодарский Край / Krasnodar Krai
2. Алтайский Край / Altai Krai
3. Пермский Край / Perm Krai
4. Ставропольский Край / Stavropol Krai
5. Красноярский Край / Krasnoyarsk Krai
6. Приморский Край / Primorsky Krai
7. Забайкальский Край / Zabaikalsky Krai
8. Хабаровский Край / Khabarovsk Krai
9. Камчатский Край / Kamchatka Krai
Krai was recorded at Machines With Magnets, a Rhode Island studio where many like-minded musicians (Battles, Lightning Bolt) have created groundbreaking work. In February, the work was premiered to a sold-out Walker Art Center.
Born in Moscow and raised in Alaska, Olga Bell is an American composer, producer and performer based in Brooklyn. A prodigious classical pianist as a child and teenager, Bell graduated from the New England Conservatory at age 21 before moving to New York City to pursue electronic composition and songwriting. The past nine years have seen Bell’s steady rise from the city’s open mics to performances at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.
Bell makes original music, remixes and videos under her own name. As half of Nothankyou, Bell makes electronic music with British musician Tom Vek. In 2012 Bell joined Dirty Projectors for the band’s Swing Lo Magellan cycle and remains a keyboardist and singer with the band today.
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