Russia is one of only a handful of countries that have resisted the global EDM explosion. Of course, you can still see big-room DJ at large-scale arena events in Moscow or St Petersburg, but the club scene - much like London or Berlin - moves to the steady beat of underground house and techno. So for this week’s Top 100 Clubs scene focus, we show you the dark rooms, roof terraces and unique vibe of Russia’s best clubs.
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Russia’s most popular underground techno club has had a tumultuous history. When we first checked out Arma in 2008 it was housed in the Moscow gasworks. Sadly a fire destroyed the venue in 2009. Consequently the operation relocated to a stunning new venue inside Moscow’s garment factory. Arma 17 - still named after the original gasworks, is a techno-lovers paradise; dark rooms, twisting corridors and exposed brickwork give the venue an industrial edge that perfectly fits the soundtrack provided by techno luminaries including Ricardo Villalobos, Raresh and dOP.
Legendary Moscow club, Propaganda is one of the city’s oldest and best-loved party places. The venue - famous for its weekly tech house night Sanchez Thursdays - has grown up alongside the electronic scene in Moscow, providing a rare constant in a city that has been blighted by venue closures. DJs as diverse as Dixon, Andre Lodemann and Chocolate Puma have all played over the years.
Although the pounding kick drum of Russia’s electronic scene emanates from Moscow, the second city of St Petersburg isn’t far behind. The movement here is spearheaded by Case. The venue formed in place of Efir - which was closed in 2013 - and has followed in the footsteps by bringing quality underground house and techno to Russia’s second city. Radio Slave and Ivan Smagghe have recently provided the soundtrack.
A multi-layered club located at the point where the Moskva River splits, Gipsy is something of a Moscow institution. The music policy varies depending on the night, but their techno-soundtracked Sunday sessions pull in the scene’s biggest acts - including Luciano, Loco Dice and Visionquest - who all laid down in 2014.