Aleksandr Spotovsky is a long-term resident of Saint Petersburg and best known for the excellent netlabel he founded, Subwise. The project’s various venues online usually contain a small and explicatory paragraph, sketching these endeavors for the uninitiated. Turned into English, it reads: “Subwise unites musicians who write experimental electronic music – together with some other genres, too. The organizers at Subwise used to publish recordings with a rather ‘harsh’ edge, but now they place an emphasis on softer works. That doesn’t mean to say, however, that things are going to be any less interesting!”
The local press expresses gratitude for these adventures. Club reviews speak of a man who has shown himself to be “both professional and pragmatic. There’s something academic in the way he approaches compositions. It gives maturity to his ‘unfinished pieces for mechanical pianos.’” That unwieldy quote refers back to a 1977 film by Oscar-winning director Nikita Mikhalkov. Based upon a series of interweaving motifs from Chekhov, it paints a melancholy picture of time’s passage among the provincial intelligentsia, just before the Revolution. Put differently, Spotovsky's audiences see something profoundly local in his alleged “laconicism.” He gives voice to the minor, yet dignified culture of a northern periphery.