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VISIONS OF ZHIVA

PRESENTING MUSIC FROM CENTRAL EUROPE

Ghost of You: Glacier and the City Are Synchronised

Ghost of You: Glacier and the City Are Synchronised

Captivating voice takes you into the dark corners of psychedelic pop where you meet the ghosts of your former selves. The music of Ghost of You is hard to categorize – as a band with strong electronic overtones, they shift smoothly between various elements within the running time of one song. Hailing from the Moravian capital Brno, these four ambitious lads aim high while maintaining close tights to their local scene.

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Zagami Jericho: Life Was Supposed to Be a Fantasy

Zagami Jericho: Life Was Supposed to Be a Fantasy

Zagami Jericho emerged from the depths of internet in 2016 to manifest her cyber mind on her seven-piece EP City Is My Church. Her retro-futuristic universe might be highly personal on one hand, on the other creepingly familiar to everyone who came of age with their eyes fixed on a screen – and at the same time disturbingly beautiful. Recorded at the home studio of a Prague teenager, the EP caused a stir on the Czech music scene. She’s been hailed as the hope of the scene and dubbed “Czech Grimes”. But she didn’t bow under the pressure and went on to release even more brilliant full length album Toxikomania. “My kingdom would fall if you would rule it for me,” she sings declares decidedly on I said no (to myself).

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For You Katrina: See What Others Cannot See

For You Katrina: See What Others Cannot See

Imagine a soul beautiful and deep, a fragile creature that hides in the dark. Only those who’s souls are open and senses alert will find their way to her, and when they do she starts glowing with a subtle but powerful light. Wrapped up in unique garments and the haze of theatre fog, she opens her lips — they are bright red — and sings in a voice irresistibly haunting. A delicate human being, soaked in her pains and her dreams, and powerful at the same time. She puts a spell on anyone lucky enough witness her sing, one it is a pleasure to be under. It is mostly love she sings of: the eternal struggle of accepting one’s self and allowing oneself to be loved by others, instead of turning away when someone shows their affection.

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Easter: Do You Like To Dance Do You Like Romance

Easter: Do You Like To Dance Do You Like Romance

It is hard to pin down the essential element of the Berlin duo Easter. Their lyrics are notoriously surreal and explicit at the same, their videos are disturbingly capturing, they rarely play live shows and when they do, they make sure to blur the line between music performance and performance art. Not to mention their twin look and distinctive fashion choices. Even their music seems to have a certain aesthetics: Play any song and you’ll get a smooth electronic beat providing a backdrop for a freaky voice talk-singing about anything from alien babies, soy protein and fungi to hand jobs, recreational drugs and period pain. In line with the performative aspect of their work, their official page consists of a Tumblr Ask page where you can “ask them anything” and they actually answer.

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Friends of Gas: Involuntary Lacrimation

Friends of Gas: Involuntary Lacrimation

Friends of Gas bring a healthy dose of anger and unease into our comfortable lives. While everyone else is busy picking the perfect instagram filter, the Munich quintet prefers to keep it rough. Their disembellished, rough blend of post-punk causes discomfort that might repulse an average listener, but already attracted a strong following of those who crave some fresh sonic experiments.

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Fiordmoss: Let Her in to Greet Her King

Fiordmoss: Let Her in to Greet Her King

When a fire stroke in their shared apartment burning down Roman’s record collection and Petra’s guitar, the fellow art students did the most reasonable thing they could in that situation – they formed a band. Ten years have passed, during which Fiordmoss expanded twice, released two acclaimed EPs, moved countries and eventually brought out their long awaited debut. Many things have changed, but two essential aspect remain: A pensive sadness, for which they have been labelled as “nordic” soundic long before a Norwegian joined the band, and entrancing visuals stemming from their art school background.

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WOMAN: Where You Gonna Go When the Planet Erupts

WOMAN: Where You Gonna Go When the Planet Erupts

Woman have been a secret tip among the cool kids of Cologne for some years, but it was 2017 that the trio finally delivered a long awaited debut and everyone else got a chance to catch up. Packed with smooth synthy tunes, Happy Freedom blends danceable sound with lyrics that raise questions about the troubled times we live in and our attitudes towards them. If the planet really is to burst – and no matter how hard some try, we can’t really deny we’re headed in that general direction – our only hope that this is indeed the the soundtrack for it. Once we reach the point where catastrophe is inevitable, we might as well put on our dance shoes and enjoy the spectacle, right?

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Levin Goes Lightly: Everything’s Wrapped in Cotton

Levin Goes Lightly: Everything’s Wrapped in Cotton

“When there are no more feelings left between us,” a soft voice repeats over and over as if it was a mantra that should protect the listener and the speaker alike from confusion, disconnection and pain this world has brought upon them. All too familiar cocktail of self-doubts, expectations too high to ever be met, unfulfilled desires, unavoidable flirts and inevitable miscommunications of the digital age wrapped in dreamy synthetiser melodies, such is the world of Stuttgart based Levin Stadler. Under the moniker Levin Goes Lightly, Stadler skilfully translates the anxieties of late 2010s into the charms of eighties’ new wave.

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Lea Porcelain: Do I Care About Your Bones

Lea Porcelain: Do I Care About Your Bones

Two music worlds clash to produce a piece that is well-balanced and beautifully haunting. The duo had international music webs (such as Stereogum) sing odes to them soon after they released their first material. The british music site Velvet Independent wrote that their debut track Similar Familiar “proves you don’t have to be established to make something massive”.

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Europe is easy to travel but her cultures are hard to access if you don’t speak respective national languages. On similar grounds, it is not easy for musicians to reach listeners beyond their country of origin. Visions of Zhiva is an English speaking zine presenting artists from Central Europe to broader audiences.

Zhiva is the anglicised spelling of the name Živa (also Živena, Siwa). The Slavic goddess of life and fertility was worshipped in the region of today’s Poland, Germany, Czech Republic and Slovakia before the arrival of Christianity.

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