Mutaforiya Lily (Мутафория Лили)
Long Live the Fiction! (Да здравствует фикция!)
Released: 13 December 2013 (Self-Released)
An Old Cliché
When using clichés to describe, a clear depiction can be achieved but everything that was hoped to be gained can just as easily be lost in an overused comparison. Therefore a cliché must be used with extreme caution, or with great explanation.
Apples do not equal oranges, this is as much a cliché as it is a stupidly obvious observation, but even so people tend to forget that the two fruit are not comparable. When visiting a restaurant of “foreign” cuisine most people will compare their dish to what they usually eat. So when an American tries African or Middle Eastern food, they will compare it to what they normally consume. Interesting, exotic, and unique are all thrown around in the description, and these words are true for the American consumer. What is not done, and is not possible to do is to compare the African dish to another fancy African restaurant, or to the local African greasy spoon. The consumer does not have the experience in African cuisine to deem if their dish was in fact “good” compared to other dishes from that region of the world. The consumer must then fall back and compare it to all food in general, or a completely different kind because that is all they are able to do. The orange is then compared to the apple, or to fruit as a whole, because it is only the first or second orange ever tried. And who can blame them? The knowledge for a fair comparison is not there, so it is the fairest comparison they can give.
Listening to music outside of a cultural dogma faces even more extreme judgment than an odd exotic night out at a restaurant. Unique is more of an overused descriptor in music than in food. The first or second album listened of other cultures music will most readily be different and unlike the culture of the consumer. Therefore, unique and innovative are thrown around when there is really no proof or facts to uphold that statement. Many music writers fall victim to this awful truth. But in the end who can blame them? They are not neglecting knowledge; it was not there in the first place.
So how does one properly compare and understand something leagues out of their normal consumption? Instead of resorting to a broader classification a more refined look at what ingredients they have in common provides better insight.
Mutafroiya’s Lily, (Мутафория Лили), is self-proclaimed surrealistic horror and the main ingredient is other people’s sounds. Yes I do mean appropriation is afflicting all parts of the world. Not equally, but the stealing fingers are wrapping their way around everything and everyone. Here it is a again, understanding other cultures. Appropriating is a very regional based art. The use of samples and other people’s music is usually based on the artist own media consumption. Ranging from commercial sampling to songs that the artist experiences in their life, the samples end up representing an area or culture. This being said, interpreting appropriation based in another culture is a very hard thing to do. Firstly, there are no old connotations to change and destroy. More often than not, there are no connotations at all for the bits and pieces of music woven together. This allows for a more sonic approach to listening, but it also detaches the artists control over the emotions to a certain extent. How can they pull at your heartstrings or push your buttons if the listener doesn’t even understand what strings they are trying to pull?
So the degree of detachment from almost every aspect of the music allows for a clean interpretation and analysis of it. That is of course the cross-cultural comparisons are avoided or neglected.
A Bad Google Translation
I have always heard Google Translate is rough at best, but I never found a problem with it when doing my Spanish homework. Then one day, when I called on the all mighty Google to help me understand the Ukrainian and Russian languages, I experienced Google Translates faults in full force. Even though, I did gain enough information from the crude translations of sketchy Ukrainian websites to get some basic facts about Mutaforiya Lily. He is a Ukrainian native and has several releases, “Long Live Fiction,” being his most recent. I also have been led to believe that he is schizophrenic, which provides a very good reasoning behind the path “Long Live Fiction” takes. His name references a very odd Russian fairy tail that I had never heard of and might never hear of again (another form of cultural detachment).
Schizophrenic is the best and possibly only way to describe Lily’s music from my outside view. The incredible range of samples and directions that “Long Live Fiction” takes creates a very schizophrenic feel to the music and a disturbing emotional impact. The attempts at horror are somewhat muddied by the cultural boundaries but something not quite right seems to seep out between the Ukrainian vocal samples. The surrealistic aspect is not lost one bit. If anything the degree of detachment allows an even greater divulgence into surrealism. The album title, which I hope was translated correctly from Да здравствует фикция!, is the descriptor that deals the final blows of justice to this album. Fiction is exactly what this sounds like, more so than almost any other album I have heard. The only feel that can vividly be gained is one of something completely outlandish and make-believe. That is something not obtained by music every day.
A Deal Breaker
The thoughts and ideas I had on this album were purely my interpretation (is that not every music review?). I bring this up because there is the off chance that a lot less of this is appropriation than what I believe. If that is the case, then the cultural barrier is even thicker than I thought.
Rating: Loved It