Out of Obscurity

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EI2: Onuka “Mozaïka” & Mireia Vilar “La Plaga”

August 19, 2021

This episode features two “unpopular pop” albums.  One from a group who apparently survive on viral word of mouth in Eastern Europe, and the 2nd a 2019 album translated as “The Plague” that in a just world would have spread more than Covid-19 or at least should be one of those globally prescient coincidences for future music historians to unearth someday.


Purchase our album picks on Bandcamp https://mireiavilar.bandcamp.com/

or eMusic https://www.emusic.com/album/150248559/ONUKA/MOZAKA



Official sites:  http://www.onuka.ua/en/



YouTube channels (please use them only for the music videos and buy the albums):  https://www.youtube.com/user/onukaofficial   https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdLwWPkbw7jpwwGPNMvkGgw


Structure:  Basic specs for “Mozäika” & Robert explains Eurovision (up to 9:08) Live and studio versions, Onuka’s views on Russia as a Ukrainian, the insular American pop music market & its imperviousness to Eurovision, contrast w/ U.S. music/singing pageantry, Robert on the “love fest” of Eurovision (9:08-15:50) Is competition good for music?  Does it make the music better or just more conformative? Robert on pop voices and yet more Eurovision details, “winning” versus “losing” the contests, telegenic appearances, must a pop diva be able to belt out and hold a single note? (15:50-24:20) The joys of liner notes & other merits of “Mozaïka”, variety and popularity of the album (24:20-27:28) Onuka’s “Strum” music video & a detailed description of a very short song/interlude via Chernobyl architecture, pop music & militarism, “Golos” & “Guns Don’t Shoot”, human sincerity with electronics, Ukraine’s geopolitics (27:28-34:08) Robert praises individual songs & gives RIYLs (34:08-38:56) Reviews on eMusic, DJ Poseur’s album summary, Onuka’s music videos, lack of professional reviews, comparison to the self-entitled album (38:56-43:31) Ratings (43:31-45:48) Transition between album picks, YouTube views disparity, Synth/dream/space pop?,  (45:48-49:30) Pop music, popular music, chart music, yacht rock, production convergence & conformity, nostalgia for certain time periods (49:30-56:01) Robert starts to opine on MV & gets steered back to obscure, “unpopular pop” & regional versus global popularity & whether there’s a single global (Western) style of pop music today.  How globally popular must a song be to pierce the USA?  Other media introduce new music and popularize it.  Being a fan w/out hope of seeing someone perform.  Foreign languages, time versus place influences in pop styles. (56:01-1:05:44) Mireia Vilar’s “La Plaga” & very literary lyrics in “Estado de Flow”  & other lyrical interpretations of individual songs on the album (1:05:44-1:11:56) Robert’s favorite song of the year & his RIYLS for MV.  Lyrical poetry listening versus general pop listening.  One person can make a difference w/ a review if no one else has? Music videos and performance videos, simplicity of composition.  Demographics & music markets. (1:11:56-1:21:10) Other songs on the album.  MV’s evolution from previous album and her future, would this work w/ a live audience? (1:21:11-1:26:33) RIYLs, mostly other obscure artists for fans of MV (1:26:33-1:27:52) Ratings (1:27:52)


Onuka is RIYLShuma, Bjork, Boomclap Bachelors, Jorane, La Roux, Линда (Linda from Kazakhstan)


Mireia Vilar is RIYL… SingerSen, Orbital, Goldfrapp, Beach House, other Spanish synth-pop?, Mow, Jeanette, Suzanne Vega, Enya

The RIYL Spanish band Mow is impossible to find w/out more of a lead, so try their music video for “Grasiah” here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92YtTynOyAM 


Onuka interview 2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsrjjQmC364 


George Gittoes’ “Soundtrack to War” https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0470161/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0 


MV has a special treat for psychologists…   Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. 


Robert thinks Onuka sounds like Linda, Kazakh pop star from the 1990s


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linda_(singer), as well as Shuma, the Belarussian band https://youtu.be/K7VBU1TZwCo

Skryabin https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skryabin_(band)  1997 album https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idGFNH0T6OA  , Lyube https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyube   https://www.emusic.com/album/123498320  , 

and MV sounds like Jeanette https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAe0gyrDSyg 


Laibach’s “Volk” album of national anthems https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_kxo4FIzLWoQPV-V-gUEycoRKKpWUWVI9E 


Eurovision:  Eurovision likes to laugh at itself, so they made this great music video to explain Eurovision to newbies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cv6tgnx6jTQ&list=PLUczN3tkUHz7fi-jV2ab0oA8mQQXmqWUk&index=2 (the people who participate in the performance are all previous winners -- including the MC's!)

epic sax guy from Eurovision

https://youtu.be/pHXDMe6QV-U Moldava scored next to last place, and then 5 years later they made a meme out of him and literally epic sax guy was the most anticipated act in 2019!

Eurovision vigorously geo-blocks youtube content from USA.

idiotprogrammer’s blog:  http://www.imaginaryplanet.net/weblogs/idiotprogrammer/