September 16, 2021

a presentation of my ongoing research shared at Dancecult conference on the 16.09.2021:

#CoVideoWatching: sharing the pandemic experiences in comments under YouTube music videos

Belarus didn’t introduce Covid-lockdowns, the president was long denying that the disease existed and our society’s health depended mostly on our own responsibility. In spring 2020 I was self-quarantined at a colleague’s flat in Minsk – sick for several weeks, making a new electro EP and listening to music on YouTube.

Reading the comments under the music videos I’ve noticed people telling how this or that song was a perfect ?corona anthem’ or has ?predicted it all’ and how the music helped them to survive the sickness and isolation. People were supporting each other, dreaming about post-Covid parties and discussing the prospects of vaccines development. It felt as if the whole world – or a large part of it – was united by a common tragedy.

I’ve started collecting screenshots of such personal epiphanies and empathy, but then the political events in my country pushed this topic far back. I was still checking for such comments once in a while and noticed that over the year their content has changed. Covid deniers and anti-vaxxers have joined the threads and YouTube music videos became yet another platform for spreading disinformation and conspiracies.

A year and a half after the pandemic start the world has unsynced and fragmented. Some countries are now completing vaccination and seemingly taking the situation under control, returning to a degree of ?normality’, others are struggling but even throwing test raves – still others are burning with suffering that sees no end. But music still unites people separated by the sanitary and political barriers.

In this paper I’m revisiting those old comments threads and analyzing the new ones to see how do the comments under YouTube music videos reflect the situation of ?one world united & separated under a plague’.

Political Soundwalks: listening to the political protests in Minsk, Belarus

August 9, 2021

In this audio-paper you’ll hear how the Belarusian protesters and the state were fighting for the space with voices, noises and music. The field recordings made at demonstrations, DIY concerts, poetry readings, theater performances and other sites of sonic and cultural resistance to the dictatorship are the starting points for a discussion on the multifaceted role of sound in claiming the urban and political space in Belarus.

I made this audio piece for ‘Walking as a Question’ conference (04-17.07.2021 - Prespa, Greece).The conference’s topic of ‘(sound)walking’ allowed me not to try telling about everything, but to focus on a relatively narrow aspect of the whole story - how walking in the streets at ?the wrong time / wrong place’ and the very act of coming out of your house is a political act that can have dramatic consequences in today’s Belarus.

Please see the full description / annotation

Trigger warning: This audio contains loud sounds of flashbang grenades explosions, people shouting and loud music. Please do not listen to this work, if you’re sensitive to such sounds or have traumatic experiences associated with them.

‘to serve and protect’ by Anna Zhyn

October 14, 2020

since the beginning of the 2020 election campaign in Belarus:
14,000+ detained
90+ political prisoners
450+ documented cases of torture
1,800+ allegations of violence used during the detention
6 killed and some still missing
200+ injured, including children
800+ in exile, some forcibly expelled from the country
250+ criminal cases against activists, observers, protesters, etc.
0 investigations of violence against peaceful protesters
hundreds harassed and persecuted

idea and production: Anna Zhyn
sound/music: Pavel Niakhayeu

Noncompliance – Belarus, Culture & Activism | Unsound Festival

October 6, 2020


“Where does the current strength of civic unrest come from, and can art be of any help in the fight against the regime? Moderated by Kaja Puto, a journalist specializing in Eastern and Central Europe, this discussion will include Polish-Belarusian visual artist Jana Shostak, and experimental musician and lecturer Pavel Niakhayeu and Ana Lok, a curator, art manager and artivist, based in Minsk.”


Pinch & Pavel Ambiont re-release

September 4, 2020

A digital reissue of a limited-edition 12″ released in September 2010 - http://discogs.com/Pinch-2-Pavel-Ambiont-Jellybean-Poison-Remedy/release/2439939

This collaboration was initiated and supported by Unsound Festival and a number of European cultural institutions.

‘Poison / Remedy’ was produced in Minsk, Belarus in September 2008 and ‘Jellybean’ in Bristol, UK in February 2009.

‘Poison / Remedy’ was previously released on V/A ‘Connections’ by ~scape label - discogs.com/Various-Connections/master/451167

released September 4, 2020

Nieviadomy Artyst - “Between Predators and Parasites” [FRC EP 06]

August 11, 2020

it’s hard to stay human between predators and parasites

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Pavel Ambiont - ‘Make Utopia Great Again’ [FRC EP 05]

June 15, 2020

One person’s utopia is another person’s dystopia. What would Thomas More say about the world today? How would he envision a better future if he lived among us? What do you think about it all? Will life be ‘richer, easier, healthier, a space age dream come true’?

‘Make Utopia Great Again’ EP by Pavel Ambiont - released on the 15th of June 2020 by Force Carriers [FRC EP 05]

Stream / Download from Force Carriers Bandcamp

written by Pavel Niakhayeu in 2018-2020 in Minsk, Horki and Vilnius.
artwork by Pavel Niakhayeu - based on Thomas More’s portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger (1527)

Let Dystopia Fade In Rain

June 12, 2020

Force Carriers · Pavel Ambiont - 'Let Dystopia Fade In Rain'

track 5 from ‘Make Utopia Great Again’ EP by Pavel Ambiont
to be released on the 15th of June 2020 by Force Carriers

Павел Няхаеў: Што слухаць падчас карантына?

March 29, 2020

Put Your Best Tentacle Forward (demo)

January 11, 2020

Canteena XYZ archive presentation - 28.12.2019

December 20, 2019

On the Belarus-Russia ‘integration’ and our electronic music scene (unpublished interview)

December 6, 2019

A wooden Putin vs. fridge magnets with Belarusian symbols at a Minsk souvenir shop

These days the people of Belarus are worried about our country’s destiny. On the 8th of December the Belarusian and Russian presidents are going to sign some agreement on a ‘deeper integration’ of our countries. The details are mostly unknown - they were not discussed neither with the people nor with the parliament. We only get rumours, leaks or fantasies about a supra-state Parliament and Government, a common legislation and currency etc. We are afraid that our country will lose its independence - if not immediately, in a forceful or soft annexation, then gradually. Not everyone would be happy about it. Even the Lukashenko’s sociologists claim that only 7.7% of the population wants Belarus to become a part of the Russian Federation. But anything might happen. There will be protests, that’s for sure. The Belarusians have good guerilla traditions - but no one wants a civil/hybrid war here.

And it seems that no one except the Belarusians cares or even knows about this ‘integration’ issue. It’s almost nonexistent issue on the global or European news agenda - and even many (sort of) forward thinking people in Russia know nothing about it.

Some of my friends and colleagues are trying to fill this info gap - like the Minsk Urban Platform in their article. I’ve remembered about an unpublished interview draft and thought i should share it with my foreign friends and fans.

Rory Jones, a journalist from the UK, has asked me a few questions this spring for a Calvert Journal feature about the Belarusian electronic scene. Rory was really keen about our scene so I decided to tell way more than he needed for a short article. I believe a bit of context always helps.

Below is a half of the original interview text, including the pieces that were published. I’ve omitted a couple of questions about my personal ‘music evolution’ and activities. Here are just the bits about the scene and the situation in and around Belarus in general.

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Music, Utopia & Social Change (Unsound Festival presentation)

October 9, 2019

Lecture: ‘Music, Utopia and Social Change’, Unsound Festival 2019

September 30, 2019

Installations w/ Olga Salakheyeva (VJ Solar Olga)

September 21, 2019