Moscow’s Kedr Livanskiy (real name Yana Kedrina) today shares the video for album title track “Ariadna”. The video debuted with i-D who’ve described the song “a distorted summer soundtrack”. Shot by Masha Demianova in the country of Georgia and based on the Greek myth of Ariadne, Kedr tells the story of the video’s creation:
“I asked Masha, an old friend of mine, to work with me firstly because I wanted to get away from the usual image which my videos have added up to. This is what the song requires and indeed these changes happening to me are reflected in the music, so naturally I wanted to convey them through the video.
Masha works with mythical images and structures, blending them into the now in a way that doesn’t look staged, and that’s what I needed.
The crew who worked on this video was all female which is quite important in the context of the song.
I’m also very grateful to Olesya, who worked on style and approached it as a true artist. The clothing translates the character’s condition delicately, linking it with natural imagery. I think we’ve managed to express the female archetype. Nature and beauty, divine and human, an odd combination which everyone actually has an innate experience of. It only has to be heard, this ancient, archaic knowledge of life. Accepting it at the levels of intuition and eternity, and at the same time endlessly rushing about in the labyrinths of worldly situations – one doesn’t exclude the other.”
To accompany the release of her debut album ‘Ariadna’, which is released on 2MR on September 8th, Kedr will also share a beautiful companion piece, a limited run of zines with images shot by Masha Demianova.
“Synthesizers help me maximally feel the present moment.” Livanskiy was born into a shifting and critical time for Russia. The Soviet Union had exhausted and old values were anathematized because of reconstruction. A sense of displacement drove Kedr to find herself. She’s escaped reality repeatedly in her explorations into the imagery and ideas of romanticism, mythical and fairytale themes which visibly bleed throughout her work and especially on her debut full-length ‘Ariadna’.
Kedr considers this album to be divided into a couple of different parts – like how one person can contain many different moods. The first half revolves around mythological thoughts and the second takes cues from the urban and suburban environments around her, all the while in the middle of everything is the hero who experiences real feelings and emotions.
Kedr also channels the places in her neighborhood on the outskirts of Moscow (affectionately dubbed by her as “BORDER MOSCOW”). There’s a river there where identical Soviet high-rises stand on both sides, with a bridge and garbage processing plant adjacent. Where nature and industry meet. The whole scene looks very apocalyptic, but also mystical and mysterious, especially at twilight.
Her inspiration for this record comes from the Izhevsk (sometimes referred to as “the capital of Russian electronic music”) sound of the 80s, including groups like Stuk Bambuka V XI Chasov (Bamboo Crash at 11AM) and Samtsy Dronta. The movement in Russian experimental music is especially inspiring, with acts likes Valery Chkalov, Sergey Kuryokhin and Pop Mechanica; in general, the late-Soviet period was very inspiring with all its figures in music, cinema, their energy and their approach towards life and art.
‘Ariadna’ marks a change in her recording approach: her critically acclaimed breakthrough EP ‘January Sun’ was written and recorded completely in Ableton, while ‘Ariadna’ was written using the Roland SH-101, Roland Juno 106 and Korg Minilogue synthesizers, then mixed down in Ableton. According to Kedr, “This way, one gets into a flow of live interaction, here and now, with the instrument.”
To her, this interaction is more “raw and sacred” than actually mixing the track down, which seems like “mere formalism” in comparison. There is a definite leap in production values this time around, but Kedr manages to keep true to her sound despite the greater polish and depth.
Albums and artists she is inspired by in general:
Cluster & Eno
Biosphere – Shenzhou
Some albums by Coil
NEU, Kraftwerk, Huerco S.
Muslimgauze, Psychic TV, D.Å.R.F.D.H.S.
Mono Junk – Gloom
Anthony Rother, Varg
Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin are of course eternal companions and an endless source of inspiration.