‘Traditional music is a living organism’. This Northern Caucasian record label is building a local indie music scene with a global online audience

On August 10 and 11, the Fields festival is bringing a unique lineup of musicians to Moscow. According to its organizers, Fields is the only music festival in Russia that has no genre restrictions whatsoever: It features everything from ambient music to techno to academic avant-garde classical pieces. This year, Fields is showing multiple artists from Ored Recordings, a small label based in the Kabardino-Balkaria region’s capital city of Nalchik. The label’s founders, Bulat Khalilov and Timur Kodzokov, have been making field recordings of traditional music from the Northern Caucasus region for five years. They search for new artists in cities and small villages alike and publish albums of their songs to help the local indie scene keep growing. Meduza spoke with Khalilov about how he looks for traditional talent in 2019, why those musicians are nothing like the wizened, bearded men most Russians might imagine, and how Nalchik’s residents came to fall in love with industrial techno beats.