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A Guide To Ukraine-Supporting Compilations On Bandcamp Friday
Miloš Hroch , March 4th, 2022 10:01

Miloš Hroch has come up with 11 suggestions for those looking to buy some Ukraine-supporting music on the latest Bandcamp Friday

The most effective way to help people in Ukraine is to give money directly to suitable humanitarian charities and organisations. There is a list of such organisations at the foot of this piece. However, we recognise that no one is being forced to make a binary choice and if you can afford to do both, or simply prefer to help in this way via cultural purchases, more power to you – Ed.

"One rocket follows the other," says a man in Ukrainian. We hear artillery fire as the Czech-Ukrainian singer-songwriter and producer Dmitrievna joins the sounds of Russian invasion with her mournful operatic vocals. The track 'Plyve Kacha Po Tysini' is haunted by the ambience of war, with air raid sirens, and it comes from a new beneficial compilation 4UA by Prague-based experimental electronic music collective UNIZONE. A listen might blend with notifications from war streamed in threads on social networks as opened in other internet browser windows.  

The label invited 19 producers with diverse sonic stylistics to express their disapproval of brutal conflict raging not far from the borders as the crow flies. Ukrainians and Belarusians who are part of the Czech electronic underground are among them.

"It was quite an immediate and impulsive reaction. We started putting it together the day the invasion started," said the co-founder of UNIZONE and producer Ancestral Vision. "About ten people immediately confirmed they were in, which assured me that there is a great will to express collective protest." They will split 100 percent of received revenue between Ukrainian NGOs helping local hospitals and people with disabilities. The collective are also encouraging people to support those organisations directly.

UNIZONE is not alone, and benefit compilations for Ukraine are among bestselling releases in this week's charts on Bandcamp. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine started on February 24, labels and musicians all around Europe have come together to help with fundraising and open up their archives: from Warsaw's Mondoj label to Stockholm's Northern Electronics and Moscow's Gost Zvuk. Ukrainian labels like Muscut, its sublabel Shukai and Kyiv electronic music collective ШЩЦ are sending all money from sales to Ukrainian charity organisations and army. You can also support individual artists who may seek refuge soon. Some of the compilations, tracks or personal anthologies listed below were released from the front lines in Kyiv under heavy fire.

There is no questioning here as to why some people choose to make music when bombs are dropping.

Here's a list of feminist, queer and Roma organisations who could do with our help.

ШЩЦ – Various Artists 01

ШЩЦ (SHITS) is a label and collective of Ukrainian artists centred around producer Bodya Konakov who promotes dance music in the country and beyond. It started as a club night in 2016, and since then, ШЩЦ threw parties around Kyiv: be it Metro-Bridge or an open-air event on Trukhaniv island. This 2019 compilation offers a neat insight into the Ukrainian electronic music underground, featuring a number of references to IDM – most of the tracks nod to Aphex Twin's braindance with occasional acid house basslines and darker glitch techno. 

ШЩЦ's co-founder Bodya Konakov also recently released 'Мрія'(Ukrainian for 'dream') from an upcoming record under the Alien Body alias. It features elusive experimental pop sliced with autotuned vocals repeating the word 'Мрія'. The track is named after the world's biggest transport plane, Antonov An-225 (Mrija), which has been used during humanitarian missions worldwide. Standing as a symbol for peace, the aircraft was destroyed by Russian occupants at Hostomel airport near Kyiv. All ШЩЦ's proceeds are sent to the Ukrainian army and civil defence.


Prague-based 'hybrid clubbing' label UNIZONE has a reputation as a hub for electronic music adventurers and political activists. Co-founder and producer Ancestral Vision quickly gathered 19 Czech and Czechia-based producers for this release, among them Ukrainian and Belarusian musicians. 4UA offers glimmers of hope in the airy instant earworm 'UARELOVED' by Aid Kid, and in the playful 'No Body Is An Island' by Ursula Sereghy, showing joy can truly be an act of resistance. There are moments of anger and courageous resistance in '_ST3ANDOFF>>' with cut-up autotune-heavy vocals by Oliver Torr, as well as in the abrasive, chainsaw beats of 'FATAL' by sound artist mʊdʌki and the dark industrial ‘SHELL DEFUSER’ by Trauma. 

John Object – Life

"My name is Timur, I am a Ukrainian, and Russia has sent thousands and thousands of soldiers into Ukraine. Currently, we are all being bombed," 26-year-old Timur Dzhafarov (known as John Object) writes in the moving letter accompanying this record that he has shared from Kyiv while it is under Russian attack. "I have no idea what my life is going to be like tomorrow and how much longer I have, so it felt appropriate to share an archive of my 2010-2019 works," adds Dzhafarov, who has performed at a Ukrainian edition of Boiler Room and elsewhere. The archive compilation of works in progress documents his development as an artist and his life as he writes. The collection spans from early synth-driven experiments with guitar melodies over dancefloor-ready house to deconstructed post-club aesthetics.

ARS WAS TAKEN – Free Ukraine

Kyiv producer ARS WAS TAKEN is known as part of the experimental electronic group WWWINGS, who released their full-length album PHOENIXXX on Planet Mu in 2016. ARS started the project with Russian producer GXXOST from the Kamchatka Peninsula after meeting on Telegram. As they lived in different places, the collaboration was performed via encrypted instant messages. The same social network is now used for the war reporting on the conflict between both respective countries. ARS dropped the track 'Free Ukraine' this week, and its metallic beats, corrosive melodies and uplifting synth lines are a reaction to the invasion.

Gost Zvuk – STOP THE WAR

"War is a crime against humanity. We stand with the people of Ukraine and demand an immediate end to war" – the message from the Russian experimental scene, expressed here by Moscow label Gost Zvuk, is clear. The label last week released the STOP THE WAR! compilation, which sees industrial sounds mingle with liminal spaces in a collection of 32 tracks which are layered with lo-fi ambient haze. The release features unsettling hauntological ambient by Margenrot, a soothing piano-laden track by ambient composer Perila, and the eternally moving 'Golubka', with lulling vocals by Kedr Livanskiy. 

Northern Electronics – A Dove Has Spread Her Wings: Relief For Ukraine

The response to the Russian war on Ukraine does not come from the Central and Eastern European regions only; solidarity transcends borders. Stockholm label Northern Electronics this week released a 34-tracks compilation which features noir techno auteur and Berlin DJ Chloe Lula, steroid-charged deep techno by Daniel Avery and melting broken beats by core Northern Electronics producer Varg2™. "As a direct response to Russia's diabolic invasion of Ukraine, Northern Electronics assembles a sonic charity collection in order to raise funds for UNICEF, helping the children and families who are suffering under the rage of their occupiers," says the label's statement accompanying the release.

Various Artists (Fundraiser For Ukraine) – Slava Ukraini!

London label House Of Mythology has also joined the wave of international solidarity. Its compilation Slava Ukraini! brings together mind-altering soundscapes by Zu, cosmic travellers Teleplasmite, and mercurial metal band Ulver. With the help of David Tibet, the compilation reveals previously unreleased tracks by Rudimentary Peni's Nick Blinko and Tibet's ensemble Current 93. Blinko's contribution, 'A Pawn In The Game', is outstanding: a wild assemblage of delirious spoken word, dissonant noise, merry-go-round synths, and vitriolic punk outburst.

Compilation Of Experimental Music From Ukraine – Kaleidoscope

In 2019, London label Flaming Pines released an exploratory compilation of experimental music from Ukraine. Kaleidoscope navigates a path between sound art, field recordings and ambient. This mosaic gathers Ukrainian musicians of different generations, from established classical music composer and electroacoustic explorer Alla Zahaikevych to ambient producer Endless Melancholy (AKA Oleksiy Sakevych). Gentle melodies meet electroacoustic experiments and abrasive noise on this record. Due to the ongoing conflict, Flaming Pines are donating all money from digital sales to "Ukrainian curator Igor who is donating to Ukrainian charity and defence of his hometown Dnipro in Ukraine."

Skee Mask – A

München producer Bryan Müller, who operates as Skee Mask and SCNTST, joined the anti-war movement with this compilation of previously unreleased tracks made between 2015 and 2019. Skee Mask's collection of breaks-fuelled grooves, pulsating techno and dub delays moves from the contemplative to the seismic. "All earnings will be donated to humanitarian Ukraine relief organisations," Müller writes. "If you don't like these tracks, please consider donating to an organisation of choice anyway." A fine sentiment.

Standard Deviation x Mystictrax – РАЗОМ ЗА УКРАЇНУ / TOGETHER FOR UKRAINE

Two Ukrainian labels, Standard Deviation & Mystictrax, joined their forces to release this monumental 65-items-long compilation of glitch electronica, distorted pensive ambient, old school jungle, 4/4 techno and acid house. It takes you deep to the Ukrainian electro underground, which feels like a quick dive to Drexciya. You will meet familiar faces like Poly Chain (project by Kyiv-born producer and composer Sasha Zakrevksa) or Berlin-based producer Aquarian and PAN-associated producer eea (fka M.E.S.H.). German photographer and techno producer Wolfgang Tillmans created the cover artwork. Moreover, the Standard Deviation label is recently responsible for the brilliant sophomore album Tysha by Ukrainian composer and violinist Katarina Gryvul, remarkably sophisticated and stylistically sharp experimental pop.

You can donate in support of Ukraine through the following links

Save The Children Ukraine is currently trying to help 400,000 children directly affected by the conflict.

The British Red Cross has launched an emergency appeal to help Ukraine, and will provide food, water, medical aid and clothing to those in need.

UNICEF is appealing for donations to provide access to clean water and food, and ensure child health and protection services are sustained. It is also working with the UNHCR to assess the refugee situation across neighbouring countries.

Ukrainian charity Sunflower Of Peace helps paramedics and doctors, and has been fundraising for supplies.

Voices Of Children aims to help children affected by the war, providing support through art therapy, psychologists, video storytelling and a number of other methods.

The Ukrainian Institute London has compiled a dedicated guide to further ways in which you can support Ukraine, which can be found here

This is a resource document for those who wish to help supplied to us by contacts in Ukraine

This Twitter thread, sent to us by a contact, has details of LGBTQI+ and feminist organisations in Ukraine who are looking for urgent help