The Southern Russian city of Krasnodar originated as a fortress, built by the Cossacks in the district of Kuban. Today, the region is the key fulcra of a distinct culture, and a carrefour between the Caucasus, the Black Sea, Eastern Europe, and Western Asia. Narcissi—a duo of Krasnodar residents, Eugene and Sasha—use music as a focal point to explore the roots and folklore of their region, from local spiritual legacy and Cossack traditions, to old Slavic and Russian folk songs. It’s an experiment in rethinking the ancient through the prism of our time; of storytelling and singing about today with the wisdom of generations behind you; of decrypting a folklore filtered through countless individuals, every word filled with the meaning and emotion of a single person.
Generating music outside of the computer, Narcissi operate using aging Soviet and Japanese synths, guitar pedals, cheap drum machines, and samplers loaded with videogame snippets and TV sound effects. Rich soundscapes and stuttering cosmic electronics unfold beneath the duo’s chanting, singing tales of loneliness and horse riders while their keyboards shudder and buzz. An emotional syntax developed and shared across generations finds a home alongside rich blasts of voltage and washes of synthesized chords.
Narcissi is about who Eugene and Sasha are within the sphere of their roots, and a geographically specific link to a lost universal knowledge. Sometimes it’s sad, hard, and destructive—a heritage of loss, blood, ecological violence, and resistance—yet the beautiful things of inner, meek, ancient, spirits and Saints, they have them too. “Devils we have, but Angels too,” declare Narcissi. “No hypocrisy please, but the good is stronger.”
released November 22, 2019
Mastered by Jeremy Cox
Design by Niels Wehrspann
Figures from Visitors by Pasha Bezor & Pasha