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covenant6ARMA Music Hall, Moscow, Russia
7th & 8th December 2012
X Moscow Synthetic Snow Festival 2012 Day 1: Mental Discipline, Felix Marc/Frozen Plasma, Haujobb, Clan Of Xymox, Covenant

Ten years ago, the first Synthetic Snow Festival in Moscow was the biggest alternative electronic and synth music event in Russia and it managed to maintain this status up to the present, when Russian Synth Community invited admirers of dark synths and pushing rhythms to celebrate its first anniversary with 2 days of excellent music, unforgettable performances and festive atmosphere. Unfortunately, it didn’t go off as smoothly as it had been planned because of the unprecedented cancellation of 3 out of 10 acts right before the beginning of the festival (PROJECT PITCHFORK and DIORAMA - due to vocalists’ health conditions and T.O.Y. - due to flight problems). Nevertheless promoters managed to cope with this situation with the help of remaining acts.


Mental Discipline (Vera Petrij)

MENTAL DISCIPLINE is a Russian one-man project from Perm formed by Alexandr Mental back in 2008. Since then, MENTAL DISCIPLINE has polished its sound blending synth pop and future pop together and with the release of maxi-single ‘Fallen Stars’ which featured the guest vocalists Felix Marc and Peter Rainman in 2011, the project became one of the most promising future pop acts in Russia. The debut album ‘Constellation’, that was released this December, carries on the tradition of guest singer invitation and offers listeners a chance to enjoy Alexandr Mental’s collaboration with such artists as Felix Marc, Alex Brown and many others. https://www.facebook.com/mentaldiscipline / http://mental-discipline.com/

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Music & Performance
MENTAL DISCIPLINE were given the honour to open the festival, but it turned into not an easy task, as due to some sound check problems doors opened an hour later than it had been scheduled, so people had to wait outside freezing in below zero temperature. But the band managed to fulfil it successfully. Alexandr Mental, supported on stage by the members of UNITY ONE, decided to make a presentation of his fresh debut album ‘Constellation’. Of course it was impossible to invite all the guest vocalists to the show, so he sung most of the songs himself, yet two tracks were performed closer to the album version. First of them was ‘Shine On Me’, when Alexandr Mental swapped places with Alexander Gladky from UNITY ONE and ALPHA POINT giving him the microphone. For the second track ‘Fall To Pieces’, Felix Marc appeared on stage to join Alexandr. It was a surprise for the audience, because everyone expected to hear well-known hit ‘Fallen Stars’, but it surely wasn’t an unpleasant one, as the public received it very well.

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 7.3 / 10

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Haujobb (Vera Petrij)

Started in 1993 by Daniel Myer, Dejan Samardzic, and Björn Junemann, German formation HAUJOBB has always been in the vanguard of intelligent electro industrial music. Never afraid of experiment, they are mixing different styles, blurring the borders between genres, constantly seeking for novelty and thus creating unique recognizable sound, cold, complex and intricate. The 8 years break after releases of 7 studio albums was followed by the release of ‘New World March’ in 2011, which presents a powerful, accurate, high-tech and solid piece of art. https://www.facebook.com/haujobbmusic / http://haujobb-music.com/

Music & Performance
Daniel Myer could be called a saviour of the event, he made a record number of appearances on stage in order to save the situation with the cancelled shows: two times in a key role in his own projects HAUJOBB and DESTROID and secondly in a supporting role in COVENANT, which happened to play both days of the festival. This was the first time he entered the stage, bringing explosive energy and drive.

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The setlist included old classics as well as fresh material and Daniel not only simply performed but also experienced every track on stage with the passion that contrasted with the uncompromising alienated coldness of his music. While in the beginning of the set a considerable part of the audience seemed to be rather suspicious of what was going on, closer to the end nobody was able to resist Myer’s radiant energy, dancing, jumping and singing along. There was even a banner from fans saying “Give us some hand job please”, that made Daniel Myer smile and ask the rest of the audience to help those guys get what they wanted.

Setlist
01. Letting The Demons Sleep (Nightmare)
02. Renegades Of Noize
03. Little World
04. Let's Drop Bombs
05. Eye Over You
06. Dream Aid
07. Crossfire
08. Penetration (Fuck The Floor)
09. The Noise Institute
10. Dead Market

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 9
Light: 8
Total: 9 / 10

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Felix Marc/ Frozen Plasma (Kira Kalinina)

Felix Marc is known as the member of the bands DIORAMA, FROZEN PLASMA as well as famous for his solo project, which he started back in 2008. On his debut album ‘Pathways’ the musician collected all the material since he has started composing in the early 90-s. His second album ‘Parallel Worlds’, which came to the world last year and also has some of older stuff, sounds more powerful. His melancholic and philosophical songs are shiny little pearls in the ocean of the modern synth pop scene, and his hits like ‘Give Back Moments’ or ‘Life is Porn’ are real blockbusters at the dance floors around Europe. https://www.facebook.com/pages/felix-marc/184231984968 / http://www.felixmarc.de/ / https://www.facebook.com/pages/Frozen-plasma/119865398065719

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Music & Performance
It was the first changes in the program of the festival. DIORAMA cancelled their part right before the show because of Torben’s health condition (as he told later, it was a food poisoning). And it was the first kick for the fans. Although there were a lot of people who visited the concert just because of or mostly because of DIORAMA, there were not much negative emotions. Thanks to the great replacement. It had its advantages also because not everybody managed to visit Felix Marc’s first solo concert, which took place in Moscow earlier this year. In his set, Felix combined his own hits with Frozen Plasma’s, and it couldn’t be better. On the keyboard, the MENTAL DISCIPLINE front man helped him. The public greeted the singer full of enthusiasm. Even if from time to time people were pretty quiet, in general it seemed as if the whole dance floor enjoyed the show. Of course it might be pretty difficult to make a full show without any preparation and the other member of the band, but Marc did his very best. Charming as always, he presented quite a nice warm show.

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 8
Sound: 9
Light: 8
Total: 8 / 10

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Clan Of Xymox (Vera Petrij)

During the impressive 29 years of their career Belgian band CLAN OF XYMOX has gained cult status in the dark scene. Their creative path crossed various styles and genres such as dark wave, synth pop, gothic rock, synth rock, never passing unnoticed and always bringing a massive influence. On their latest albums, CLAN OF XYMOX refine their sombre melancholic but at the same time danceable sound. This year saw the release of ‘Kindred Spirits’, a collection of covers from artists that the band cherishes. https://www.facebook.com/pages/clan-of-xymox/111769160178 / http://www.clanofxymox.com/

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Music & Performance
CLAN OF XYMOX entered the stage as a men-only trio, because the ladies couldn’t come to Moscow, unfortunately. Beautiful atmospheric melancholic intro has set the mood for the entire concert right from the start. Extensive gloomy soundscapes smoothly flowed one into another, making way through the “best of” setlist and shrouding the audience to entrance it. SHOCKING BLUE cover ‘Venus’ seemed to dynamically stand out of the rest of the setlist and probably the purpose of playing it in the end of the show was exactly to bring the public back from melancholic trance. As a very special treat an old song from the XYMOX times was performed for an encore – and of course it was nothing else but ‘Muscovite Mosquito’.

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The only grave drawback of this show was a terrible sound in the front rows, where hearing the guitar was totally impossible and hearing the vocals needed quite a lot of concentration.

Setlist
01. Stranger
02. Love Got Lost
03. She Did Not Answer
04. In Love We Trust
05. Hail Mary
06. Jasmine And Rose
07. Farewell
08. Delete
09. A Day
10. Venus (SHOCKING BLUE cover)
---
11. Muscovite Mosquito

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 6
Light: 7
Total: 7.3 / 10

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Covenant (Kira Kalinina)

COVENANT doesn’t really need any presentation. If the person knows synth pop at least one album of this band has to be in this person’s CD collection. The band was founded back in 1986 and today has a legendary status. These Swedish musicians managed to stay on the top through all of the years, releasing one successful album after another and providing new hits all the time. Their current album ‘Modern Ruin’ (2011) is featured with the song ‘Wir sind die Nacht’, recorded for the movie with the same name. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Covenant-OFFICIAL/156626197713557 / http://www.covenant.se/

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Music & Performance
As the festival started more than one hour later, it was already night as Covenant entered the stage. After the evening full of (mostly not nice) surprises the public seem to be pretty tired. More over melancholic CLAN OF XYMOX’ show didn’t really load with lots of energy. Those who had to go home should hurry, because the Moscow subway is closing at 1:30 AM. But since there was also the after party till the morning, there was an option to stay in the club and enjoy the show. And it was absolutely worth it. In Russia, we call Eskil’s condition at the moment the “right condition” or “needed condition”, it’s when somebody drinks enough to become light minded, let the problems go and fully enjoy the party.

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It was somehow unusual to see this cold Swedish man jumping and shouting around, at the same time he managed to keep his Scandinavian elegance. The evening finished with greatest band’s hits like ‘Ritual Noise’ and some new stuff.

Setlist
01. Intro
02. Monochrome
03. Bullet
04. Judge of My Domain
05. 20 Hz
06. Voices
07. The Beauty And The Grace
08. The Men
09. Ritual Noise
10. Wir Sind Die Nacht
11. Stalker
12. The Passion Game
13. Call The Ships To Port
---
14. Happy Man
15. Dead Stars
16. We Stand Alone

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 7
Sound: 7
Light: 8
Total: 7.7 / 10

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All Pictures by Alexander Kondrusev


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