Considered one of the cornerstones of today’s Russian electronica, Roma Litvinov splices together pieces of found sounds, electronic glitches and layers of acoustic material to create a dense matrix of melodies and ambiances that owe a debt to jazz, techno and Shostakovich in equal measure. The IDM label fails to do justice to the open-minded spirit of a producer, vocalist and instrumentalist who leaps between styles and rhythms with the greatest of ease (Sonar festival ).
Roma Litvinov was born in 1983 in Moscow. He started his musical adventures in early childhood, composing little piano pieces. Having no musical education he combined playing in guitar hardcore band with his first electronic music experiments.Soon computer composing started to prevail over group music making. Roma’s first tracks were made mostly by sampling methods, and until now he prefers sampling to cold digital sound synthesis. Roma denies being a strictly electronic producer, he believes contemporary artists should use all available resources.He takes electronic music production as an opportunity to break digital composing stereotypes, creating eclectic music from almost everywhere -- from acoustic jazz and pseudo symphonic music to experimental clicks’n'cuts, microsampling and glitch tech.
The new Mujuice album “Downshifting” was released in March 2011 at Russian major label Soyuz Music. The album has received widespread praise in Russia, and was even named the best Russian album of the last decade. Artyom Troitsky, Russia’s version of BBC’s John Peel has said that “combining two antagonistic elements – romantic-depressive Russian rock and impassive clubbing music’ Mujuice opens a new page in the history of Russian pop music “. Mujuice wrote 10 hits for new generation of Russians, 10 songs with dark romantic and beautiful lyrics (on Russian) and catchy electro synthypop rhythm, and became one of the most popular Russian artist in just a few months. Mujuice received the Musician of the Year 2011 Award of GQ Russia magazine.
In the last 5 years Mujuice performed at SONAR festival in Barcelona Spain, SXSW festival, The USA, Waves Vienna in Austria,Wonderfestiwall Denmark, Pop Up Leipzig in Germany, Barents Spektakel festival Norway, Skanu Mezs in Riga, Latvia, Insomnia in Tromso Norway, Eurosonic Noorderslag festival in Groningen, the Netherlands, Tallinn Music Week in Estonia, MIDEM in Cannes France, Transmusicales in Rennes, Wilsonic in Bratislava, Worldtronics in Berlin, SKIF in St.Petersburg, KUMU ÖÖ festival in Tallinn, Free Form festival in Warsaw and many others, including events in Russia and CIS.
In 2010 MUJUICE was a participant of Red Bull Music Academy in London.
Mujuice: We Found Noise In A Hopeless Place
…here is Mujuice, a Russian knob-twiddling, pad-pounding, head-nodding musician, who I saw playing his second ever US gig at – yes – SXSW.
Mujuice takes a raft of delicious, interesting noises, and weaves them expertly into something truly brilliant. Worth a trip to Texas to see (if you’re so inclined).
26 March 2012 Written by Joe Sparrow for A New Band A Day
“Ten songs for the ages. The first truly great Russian album of the 2010s. Songs that surprisingly accurately – and without any speculation – channel what is happening in the hearts and minds of the current generation of twentysomethings and are implicitly understood even by those who never leave the club before dawn.” Alexander Gorbachev, “Afisha”
“Downshifting” is the best Russian album, which I head in the last 10 years. Honestly. Point.” Alexander Gorbachev, “Afisha”
… the fabulous glitchy canvases of Mr. Litvinov’s repertoire are here swapped for more straightforward forms, designed for an ensemble performance rather than for one man and a laptop. In even simpler terms, these are songs -- from a man known almost exclusively for instrumental works.
… Some journalists have declared “Downshifting” to be the finest Russian album in years. And indeed the fact that Litvinov performs in his native tongue makes that local resonance stronger still.
The significance of this recording thus grows in stages. Not only is it a reaction to a domestic heritage of some standing; before we’ve even heard the first track, the artwork also implies a less than jolly interpretation. Seriousness has morphed into sadness; erstwhile songs of social tension have inspired musings on the grandest “decline” of all. In which case, a tradition of civic activism has become total acquiescence in the face of death.
… Some of Moscow’s observers find the rhythmic and melodic traditions of rokapops alive in Mujuice’s album. They praise the “brilliant simplicity” with which he has reemployed the fundamental structure of a ’90s pop song -- for more dramatic, imposing purposes. Again Tsoi’s (Kino) and Lagutenko’s (Mumiy Troll) names emerge -- and in that double assertion lies the album’s most powerful effect.
… Given the local import of these songs, their domestic provenance, and growing sense of horror, “Downshifting” is destined to be seen as a major Russian achievement -- for a long time. The album’s title may refer to a freely-chosen social alteration, but these songs speak instead of fate, funerals, and other “downward” movements with little time for individual whim. David MacFadyen, Far From Moscow
The journey of Russia’s breakthrough electronic beats to pop producer. Text by Olga Bohan
One of the most mysterious musicians in Moscow, former graphic designer Roman Litvinov aka Mujuice has released his new, “very Russian” album named “Downshifting”. This title reflects perfectly Roman’s musical journey from the deepest techno-hypnosis to very approachable pop songs and the huge queues for his recent shows back up the fact that he may be the new Russian beats-to-breakthrough star. Though musical heads will know his releases at Pro-tez and Fragment Records and his stint at the Red Bull Music Academy in 2010. satellitevoices.com
…From Chopin chops to garage rock, Mujuice has grazed in every musical field. A producer at heart, his background in bands and composing has been put to good use soundtracking muscovite adverts and movies. However electronic music has proved a demanding mistress, and his love affair with the synths and drum machines has produced two LPs of experimental electronica and several techno EPs as well as a couple of tracks with DZA under their rave revival guise Cut2Kill. Nowadays he likes to jam either on his kalimba or toy piano to create glitchy punky electronic pop gems, milking attitude out of the machines ’til the cows come home. In this set from Short & Sweet at London’s Cafe 1001, his bleeps, noises and sweet sweet melodies sound like a warmhearted lovesick robot getting ready to bear hug you. Red Bull Music Academy
A related, simultaneous shift in his work was towards the use of samples -- in his own words taken from a broad palette of “almost acoustic jazz, pseudo-symphonic music, experimental clicks and cuts, microsampling, and [last but not least] glitch-tech.”
“a lightweight fusion of happiness and sadness mixed in ideal proportions. No contra-indications or side effects. Recommended for all ages.”
“The king of Moscow’s electronic sound.” “Electrosound” label Russia
This Moscow-based artist combines the robotic glitches of modern electronic music with dense layers of natural sounds. While his early works were sparsely arranged compositions akin to most European electro, his 2007 full-length “Cool Cool Death” bursts with energy, blending dark swarms of melody with vocals and pounding drum samples, and this year’s “Teal Day EP” streamlines the process into five carefully crafted instrumental pop gems.
NEW! release by Mujuice -- six previously unpublished tracks which for few years were performed at the live shows, but hadn’t been completed as full composition. This is a kind of collection of b-sides, demos and outtakes, which precedes brand new material.
PHOTOS (high resolution)
“Downshifting” CD, Soyuz Music , 2011
“Cool cool death” CD Pro-tez Records, World Club Music, TME, 2007
“Monochrome” EP Pro-tez Records, 2006
“SuperQueer” CD, 2004