Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Collaboration Challenge - February 2007 (updated)

In honor of the new month, I decided to cover an aspect of Russian music that seems to be EVERYWHERE. In every genre, with every artist, helping or hurting every career, song or album. That aspect is, of course, collaborations. You know, I've noticed that some of them are predictable--Leonid Agutin and Angelica Varum, Filipp Kirkorov and Alla Pugacheva, etc. And some are completely random--Verka Serduchka and Glukoza's "Zhenikha Hotela" is the best example I can think of. Some stay within the same genre (Bi-2 and Splin, even though their styles are distinct, are both rock bands and their song "Fellini" is an excellent soft-rock song). Others cross genres or even languages--a good example of this is the unexpetedly awesome collaboration between German industrial-rock/metal act Rammstein and Russian pop duet Tatu.

So here's how this works. I will post a list of collaborations from several different genres, along with links to the mp3s. You can listen and give me feedback if you'd like. I am always open to suggestions!

Pop/Estrada:

1. Agutin and Prensyakov-Aeroporti
2. Filipp Kirkorov and Alla Pugacheva-Kholodna V Gorode
3. Gluk'Oza and Verka Serduchka-Zhenikha Hotela
4. Diskoteka Avariya and Janna Friske-Malinki
5. Valery Meladze and VIA Gra-Inostranets

Rock: (or Pop/Rock)

1. Splin and Bi-2-Fellini
2. Leningrad/Diodi and Zemfira-PC http://m2-1.base.zaycev.net/5af243e4c8ef6f585fe2b0f700bc04b1/204/20462/diodi_and_zemfira_ramazanova_-_pc.mp3
3. Bi-2 and Chaif-Dostuchatsya Do Nebes
4. Mumiy Troll and Yana Kay-Medveditsa
5. Чугунный скороход Feat. Кино - Перемен (Антон Ньюмарк Mix): Yes, I know this isn't really a collaboration but a remix. I like it anyway because "Mi Zhdem Peremen" is one of the best Kino songs ever. http://m2-1.base.zaycev.net/0ada5ddbc4f1d0a6dd1892b9583aa376/180/18069/chugunniy_skorohod_feat._kino_-_peremen_anton_niumark_mix.mp3
6. Bi-2 and Chicherina-Veter Peremen

Hip-Hop or Rap:

1. El Rico and Patrool-Dikiy Tanets
2. Timati and Karina Cox (from VIA Slivki)-Ya i Ti
*NEED MORE SUGGESTIONS*

....can't think of any more....

Crossover:

1. Faktor-2 and Arash-Bora Bora Gde Boomer
2. Tatu and Rammstein-Moscow
3. Leningrad and Diskoteka Avariya-Gde Zhe Vashi Ruki?
4. VIA Gra and THMK-Nyet Nichevo Khuzhe

Sorry, my internet connection is VERY bad and slow right now; I will get all the mp3 links and pics later. By tomorrow night I hope. Then, I'll take suggestions, votes, comments, whatever. This "collaboration challenge" will go on until the end of Feb. and I hope to discover a few new songs by the end (and see what you guys think about the collaborations.)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Some Useful Websites

Russian Music on the Net-an outstanding overview of Russian music. There are music downloads, guitar tabs, translated and original lyics and informative articles about bands. Also, the forum is a great place to visit if you have a question about Russian music, need help finding a song/artist, or simply want to discuss anything to do with Russia or Russian music (especially rock).

There's even a store:

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Stars Radio-American-based site with info on Russian pop, rap and some rock. News stories are always helpful. Streaming radio and some mp3s (but they don't update a lot). Most of the artists they feature are up-and-coming, and if you like De Maar and music like his, you've found the right place.

RussianDVD-a huge selection of Russian DvDs, CDs and Videos on this Brooklyn-based site is available for purchase.

Music on INet-A comprehensive Georgian site with many mp3s available. However, it can be hard to navigate if you don't read Georgian.

TopHit-I only go here for news and charts. It's possible to download clips of many popular songs (and very new ones at that) in mp3 format, but the quality is quite low and they are usually only about a minute long. However, the sections on Russian music news are great, and the SMS/download/airplay charts are also useful, especially if you dont live in Russia but you want to see what is popular at the moment.

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Zvuki-A classic and dependable site for news, concert and artist info and some mp3s. Recommendations are good, as are the "InterWWWiews" with artists.

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Zaycev-mp3s/forums. Huge (and ever-growing) selection of Russian, European, American, international mp3s. If you can't find what you're looking for here, you'll probably have to buy it on Amazon.

Top Downloads-mp3s, files and programs zaycev-style. Offers some songs you can't find on Zaycev, and vice versa.

Shmidt.net-you can find some of the most popular Russian and European mp3 files here, but the downloads take awhile (at least on my computer :P).

More to come...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Moment of Silence for Murat Nasirov

Tragically, the 37-year-old popular singer ended his own life at home in Moscow on January 19, 2007.

Сотрудники милиции, начавшие расследование по факту самоубийства популярного исполнителя Мурата Насырова, восстановили со слов очевидцев последние минуты его жизни, сообщили "Интерфаксу" источники в оперативно-следственной группе.


По словам собеседника агентства, "19 января Насыров встретил вернувшуюся в Москву свою гражданскую супругу Наталью Бойко. Вместе они приехали в одну из квартир дома 15 по улице Вучетича, где проживали. В этот момент в квартире уже находилась мама гражданской жены певца, Грета Бойко, 1947 года рождения, и двое их детей - Аким, 2000 года рождения, и Лия, 1996 года рождения".

Как впоследствии вспоминала Грета Бойко, "с самого утра Насыров повел себя не вполне адекватно. Он постоянно быстро ходил по квартире, кому-то звонил по телефону, то вставал, то садился, подходил к окну. В дальнейшем он продолжал себя вести неспокойно", отметил источник.
"На машине он отвез свою супругу к месту, где у нее была назначена встреча, потом вернулся домой и закрылся в своей студии, оборудованной прямо в квартире. Там он пытался петь. Потом, в районе 22:30, вышел, взял свой портрет, разбудил детей и переоделся в концертный костюм. Он постоянно порывался выйти на балкон, однако Грета Бойко не позволяла ему это сделать. Он выскочил на лестничную площадку и позвонил в квартиру соседей, с которыми они дружили семьями. Соседям он стал кричать, что ему было видение бога и недавно погибшего гитариста группы "A'Studio", - рассказал он.

Затем, по словам очевидцев, "певец вышел на балкон своей квартиры, повесил на шею фотоаппарат, взял в руки свой портрет и выбросился с пятого этажа. Это произошло в 22:30".
В 22:59 прибывший на место происшествия по вызову родственников наряд "скорой помощи" констатировал смерть от травм, не совместимых с жизнью, ставших следствием падения с высоты", - сказал источник.
Что стало причиной самоубийства, устанавливается. Ведущие расследование оперативники убеждены, что "в данном случае ни о каком криминале не может быть и речи, это банальное самоубийство".
По словам источника, известно, что некоторое время назад Мурат Насыров находился на излечении в одной из психиатрических клиник, специализирующихся, в том числе, и на лечении наркозависимости. В этой клинике он находился под чужим именем. Впрочем, пока официально эту информацию никто не подтвердил.

Murat Nasirov, Kazakh-Russian pop star

В милиции утверждают, что погибший находился в состоянии наркотического опьянения. "На руках и на шее у него были обнаружены следы инъекций", - уточнил источник.
В то же время директор певца Александр Скурихин заявил ИТАР- ТАСС, что Мурат Насыров никогда не употреблял наркотики. При этом он высказал мнение, что гибель музыканта - несчастный случай.

"В его квартире низкие подоконники, в это время шел дождь, Насыров поскользнулся и упал вниз", - сказал Скурихин. Он рассчитывает, что следствие разберется в обстоятельствах случившегося. "Но то, что это самоубийство - сомнительно", - считает директор певца.

Скурихин также сообщил, что Мурат Насыров будет похоронен в Алма-Ате, но дата похорон пока еще не определена.

Мурату Насырову было 37 лет. Популярность к нему пришла в начале 90-х годов, а его песня "Мальчик хочет в Тамбов" стала хитом.

See this article:

(http://www.stars-radio.com/ru/news/news379.html)

If you don't read Russian, this basically describes what happened in the hours before his (presumed) suicide. Apparently, Nasirov was hallucinating before he jumped off the balcony of his appartment. His manager, however, maintains that Nasirov slipped and fell, while Nasyrov's wife claims that he slipped while trying to fix the satellite on the TV. I have been following this story for awhile, and I recently read an article on Pravda in which a girl from Moscow claimed that she and some friends were drinking in a club with Murat the night he died. He was apparently in a good mood, not depressed or anything. And here's where it gets complicated--Murat's friend Felix allegedly poured them drinks, some kind of a cocktail, with drugs dissolved in them. The girl was having hallucinations after she drank the cocktail, and she fell asleep, while Murat went home and acted very restless. Sources close to Nasyrov maintain that he never took drugs and barely drank, which is why some suspect foul play in his death. LSD was found in the autopsy, so I suspect that he drank it (unknowingly?) in the cocktail. No matter what happened, though, he was a talented man and artist; his death is a tragedy and my heart goes out to his wife and kids....

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Seryoga in LA! (Updated)

"Can you say you’ve been to the biggest event in the history of Russian nightlife? You will, after you experience what we have in store for you in January of 2007. For the first time in the US, the number one ultra superstar of modern time (that would be famous MC Seryoga) is going to rock Los Angeles in a performance of a lifetime!"

All right, all right. It's
RosConcert.com hyperbole. But still, if I can get to the Key Club in Weho Friday night (9.00 pm to 2.00 am FYI), I'll post concert pics and a review in this entry later.

And if you live in either L.A. or San Fran and harbor any desire whatsoever to see a top-of-the-line Russian rap show, go for it! And comment here later!

A little background info: You might have heard Seryoga's biggest hits, "King Ring," "Cherniy Boomer" and most recently "1,000,000$ U.S." on Russian radio stations (particularly Russkogo Radio, which seems to repeat its playlist quite often). He's a Russian rapper. Draw your own conclusions.

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...some guy at a Russian restaurant gave me this flier last weekend. Enjoy!


****************UPDATE***********************

"The biggest event in the history of Russian nightlife?" Lamest night ever. Seryoga didn't even show up--nice going, Russian Invasion! I concede that it's not really their fault--there were "visa complications" or something. However, they promised to bring him to the US (for real, possibly?) in April.

But what they should have done was get a couple of the gogo dancers to start rapping. Most people were too drunk to know the difference. ;)

Georgian Music

Here's to an awesome Georgian song--the remix of "Suliko" by Nino Katamadze. Thanks to BP and Irakli Bolkvadze's website, where I recommend you download the contemporary version of the national anthem as well:

http://www.irakli.ru/english/songs.html

http://www.irakli.ru/music/Suliko_Nino.mp3

Georgian rapper West

I was reading an interesting article about the emergence of a distinctly Georgian style of rap and hip-hop on Eurasianet.org; there is a nice photo-essay with it and a few interviews in which Shavi Prinsi and other rappers contrast their style with American rap music.

http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/eav120806.shtml#

Also, I've found that www.inet.ge, a great site (especially if you read Georgian) has introduced me to a number of up-and-coming Georgian bands. If you want to hear contemporary and traditional Georgian music and you don't know where to begin, try the feature on the site that selects 100 random songs for you to stream. It's fast, easy and a comprehensive introduction to this nation's music. My favorites so far are folk-rockers Soft Eject and alt-rock-electro group Young Georgian Lolitaz. Both bands mostly release English-language songs, with thoughtful lyrics, refreshingly unique music (and hot accents!).

Visit the site below to hear some of YGL's best songs. I recommend most of their "Lemon Juice" album, particularly the eerily electronic "Room" and the alt-rock ballad "Hollywood." Indie music hasn't sounded this indie in a LONG time.

http://music.inet.ge/main.php?lang=en&artist=Young%26nbsp%3BGeorgian%26nbsp%3BLolitaz&aid=404

Finally, I'll recommend a great pseudo-"Georgian" song (in Russian actually, and recorded by engineer-turned-ruspop-phenom Valery Meladze and Soso Pavliashvili, who ALMOST shares a surname with notable classical composer Paliashvili--look him up) from the old Soviet-Georgian movie "Minimo" (the one about the pilot in Moscow.) You might have heard it:

"Chito Gurito, chito margarito..."

I'll try & find the mp3.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Press Conference Mania!! (Video)

Old news, I know--but I was shopping in Little Russia yesterday and spotted a CD of--get this--REMIXES of the infamous Kirkorov Press Conference Outburst in Rostov-Na-Donu. Didn't buy it, lol, but it was amusing...anyway, to commemorate this event, I've posted an incomparable parody of Philip, Alla and Masha. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Happy New Year!

Yes, I know I'm a little late. Well, almost 3 weeks late--I even missed Stariy Noviy God last weekend. Several places in and around L.A. had spectacular Russian New Year's parties; I went to a rave at the SportsCenter downtown instead. But just for a little Russification, I've decided to post my essential songs for a Russian New Year's party. Save 'em for next year or just listen to them once in awhile so you don't forget those resolutions.
1. Noviy God-Leningrad. You knew this would be here; it's a ska-punk classic from a band that is beyond awesome. Spasibo, Shnur!

2. Novogodnaya Pesnya-Blestyashi. Exactly what you'd expect from the likes of Olga Orlova and the girls: sweet, low-key pop.


3. Novogodnaya-Soso Pavliashvili. Every New Year's party needs some Georgian wine.

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4. Novogodnaya (Menya Pryot)-MC Vspishkin & Nikiforovna. You've got to admire an act that can a) get people on the dance floor and b) spoof Otpeti Mosheniki, Leonid Agutin and almost any other Russian star you can name while doing so.


5. New Year-Dima Bilan. Sweet vocals over a trip-hop mix of "Jingle Bells." And a catchy chorus about traditions every Russian will recognize: chocolate and Stariy Pesni o Glavnom, anyone?


6. Novi God-Reflex. Love them or hate them, this song is exactly what you'd expect from the girl group. Well, until the rap breakdown offers some relief to the repetitiveness...


7. Veseli Novogodniye-Verka Serduchka. You can hear the lisp and the Ukrainian accent--Verka's back for another New Year's party! Wickedly catchy and hilarious. Also try Yolki.

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8. S Legkim Parom-Lazurniy Bereg. More than 3 decades after the eponymous New Year's movie was first shown, modern Russian bands are still spoofing it and re-recording the popular songs. LB is no exception, but their raucous take on "Ironiya Sudbiy" is definitely worth a listen. Techno act Triplex also does a take of this.


9. Novi God-Mikhail Krug. Classic chanson from the Russian Tupac. Well, he's definitely not Tupac music-wise. I think that nickname is more of an, um, gang reference.


10. Novi God-Star Factory contestants. Oh, admit it. You secretly like the show. Or not. Either way, listen to this for an ultra-collaboration.


11. S Novim Godom, Kroshka!-Mumiy Troll I just downloaded this at the recommendation of B.P. Apparently this list has too much pop on it, and I'm not going to dispute that...there IS a lot of pop, besides Krug and Leningrad. Plus, I like Mumiy Troll and this is a GREAT song!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! S NOVIM GODOM!

Friday, January 19, 2007

New CD!

Well, I went on a Bored Spending Rampage on Amazon.com (great for cheap Russian CDs) last weekend and ordered several albums I've been looking for. One of them came today--thanks for the fast delivery, Marinasbooks! It's a 2003 release by Soso Pavliashvili called "Zhdet Tebya Gruzin" with the eponymous song on it and a whole bunch of fast Russian songs with African/Latin influence. There are a couple of hot collaborations ("Argo" with Diana Gurtskaya is notable, and "Rita Rita Margarita" with A. Ukipnika is also good for dancing at your Russian-Mexican Theme Parties. What? You've never heard of a Russian-Mexican Theme Party? Well, think about it.) This CD completes my collection of Soso's songs, as it is the only one that can't be downloaded in full mp3 format from his official website.



And, well, even if you hate the music, the cover art alone is spectacular. Soso is dressed in a gauche striped suit holding a glass of wine that's bigger than his head.

First REAL post.


Preved! No studying this weekend--midterms are over and I'm FREE again. So I figured I'd spend a little time getting this blog off to a good start. Anyway, I've noticed several interesting phenomena this week in the Russian music scene:

1. Philipp Kirkorov seems to be making a comeback. His new songs "Poleteli" and "Kolodna V Gorode" (a duet with--guess who?--ex-wife Alla Pugacheva!) are near the top of the SMS/radio play/download charts. And "Poleteli" has been up there for awhile. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. You're welcome to think I'm crazy, but I think Philipp has genuine vocal talent and a great, unique stage presence. I can't say I support some of his personal outbursts *cough*pressconference*cough* but I still like to listen to his music. And I think his new videos (like the one for "Obichnaya Istoria") are looking more professional than ever. Youtube it! That is, compared to some like "Pupsik" (Also on youtube) which is good for a few laughs.

But Filka may be in the first stages of a Donald-Rosie-esque feud with Nikolay Baskov, which is a shame since I've always entertained secret hopes of seeing those two on tour together. If you read Russian, read this interview! Filka even expresses pride in his own oft-criticized fashion sense!
http://www.tophit.ru/interviewshowdetale.shtml?id=92

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Speaking of Filka and fashion, he recently met his idol Roberto Cavalli in Moscow. Could a new clothing line, with sparkly vests, thigh-high leather boots and ninety-pound flowered headdresses, be in the works? And one more Filka-fashion observation--in his New Years show, Philipp donned Cher's trademark gold headdress. Is this some Armenian national costume that I'm not aware of?

2. Pop group Vintage may be hot right now, with the song "Mama Mia" topping the airplay charts for Moscow, but I don't see what the big deal is (well, besides the band's sexiness. See this picture: . Alas, welcome to a certain brand of Russian pop...Sounds a lot like MakSim of "Otpuskayu" fame. Too repetitive for me.

3. Soso Pavliashvili, Georgian estradocelebrity extraordinaire, is...surprise, surprise....cashing in on his ancestry again! By making fun of it, a la the "Zhdet Tebya Gruzin" video! For a clip of last month's catchy "Remember the Georgian," look no further than yours truly. Courtesy of my Bible: Tophit.ru.

4. Not to be unpatriotic or anything, but your American bloggerista Devushka Avariya has a new favorite national anthem. "Hymn of Russia." Well, at least Lyube's guitar-heavy cover of it. One word--flawless.

5. "Klass, detka, klass" (or "Heiss, baby, heiss") is quicly ascending to the coveted number-one spot on my iPod's 25 Most Played list. Why? Why is this repetitive, midtempo, trip-hop-like Faktor-2 song so...well, klass? Actually, why has Faktor-2 become my single biggest Russian hip-pop obsession ever since I heard the hilarious, well-mixed "Khochu Na TV" on 2006's collaboration CD "Muzikalniy Vozopad?" Well, here's the basic premise of "TV": I want to be famous, give awards to Kylie Minogue, dance like Usher and rap like Eminem, but I'm stuck in my Moscow apartment with my slightly drunk neighbor dancing on my table because I don't speak English. However, I know a couple of words of American, so after every word I sing, I will say M*****F***er. If I'm lucky, that will get me a record deal. Or at least somebody will write me cheesy songs to learn English to, like Dima Bilan's "Never Let You Go."

6. Not to insult Bilan or anything. I love him as much as any girl in Brighton Beach does, and I'm even considering spending $70 for a concert ticket on RosConcert.com. But, let's face it, "Nevozmozhno Vozmozhno" (the Russian version of "Lady Flame") is WAY overplayed. He's turning into the Russian version of James Blunt, only significantly hotter. But I do like this amateur mix of "Lady Flame" and "Nevozmozhno." Download it if you're sick of waiting for Dima's songwriters to hurry up and get some new songs finished.

7. Anyone remember the 80s VIA band, Plamya? Well, if you don't, here's a refresher: Bi-2's cover of the classic Plamya song "Sneg Kruzhitsa." Awesome guitar and cool vocals about whirling snow. Crack open the pepper vodka--what could be more quintessentially Russian than that?

8. ....And last but not least, the legendary Alla Pugacheva has recorded an amazing new track, "U Lubvi Tvoi Resnici," available on the Soyuz 49 that's currently outselling everything else on www.RussianDVD.com. Some people think that she's destroyed her voice from any number of factors--drinking, smoking, aging, being married to Philipp Kirkorov and three (or is it 4 now?) other men--but the fact remains, "Lala" Pugacheva has sold hundreds of millions of albums (with the black market in Russia, there's really no way to tell exactly how many) for a good reason. She can sing. IMHO, better than shrill daughter Christina Orbakaitye. But judge for yourself....

The Five (New)

1. Poleteli-Philipp Kirkorov
http://m1-1.base.zaycev.net/75d4bd9c75c64dcde056c6ab89922455/179/17954/filipp_kirkorov_-_poleteli.mp3

2. Mama Mia-Vintage http://m1-1.base.zaycev.net/1863f6385f15939243b4dc227992de74/477/47798/vintazh_-_mama_miya.mp3

3. Vspominaitye Gruzina-Soso Pavliashvili http://www.tophit.ru/prev/6973_prev.mp3

4. Nevozmozhno/Flame Mix-Dima Bilan http://m1-1.base.zaycev.net/e1f4c7e970831d98c6999787ff7c6a8f/731/73167/d._bilan_-_nevozmozhnoe_and_flame_(beast_mix).mp3

5. U Lubvi Tvoi Recnici-Alla Pugacheva http://m3-1.base.zaycev.net/20efe2f979ef0bbe9509256ae868bb5d/608/60878/alla_pugacheva_-_u_liubvi_tvoi_resnici.mp3

The Other Five (Random Selections)

1. Gimn Rossii-Liube http://m2-1.base.zaycev.net/11fc06dafd9d5c569b7756fc26dc6444/348/34801/liube_-_gimn_rossii.mp3

2. Ostalas Odna-Faktor-2 http://m1-1.base.zaycev.net/6f11f53a226d6151bc9088abfcad1824/396/39645/faktor_2_-_ti_ostalas_odna.mp3

3. Sneg Kruzhitsa (Plamya cover)-Bi-2 http://www.russmus.net/mp3%20samples/bi2-sneg.zip

4. Vse Snachala-Christina Orbakaitye http://www.newrussianworld.com/info/adm/mp3/nrw_887.mp3

5. Veter Volni-Nikolay Baskov http://m3-1.base.zaycev.net/2d2b04222920575b98f38b27d6ca1a51/297/29751/nikolay_baskov_-_veter_volniy.mp3

Feel free to comment on any of these songs, or even request a new one for the next update (or more info about an artist, or
whatever.)

Pleased to meet you.

Preved Medvedi! I'm Devushka Avariya, and I came to a startling realization as I was cleaning/getting organized this morning. I counted my CDs for the first time in about a year, and I realized, with some alarm, that I own about 140 Russian pop, dance, rock and hip-hop CDs. I figure that if I have this much knowledge (or opinions...?) on a specific topic, I should hop on the bandwagon and--hold your breath--START A BLOG. So here goes.

My taste in Russian, European and Georgian music spans decades--for instance, I listen to everything from old Pugacheva to new BandEros and Timati. Rock too--Bi-2, Splin, Leningrad and Zemfira. I attend live shows in America; I scan TopHit, MTVRu Charts, Zaycev.net,mp3.Shmidt.net, Zvuki, RussianDVD and roughly sixty million other websites almost daily to check for updates in the ever-changing Russian music scene. If you're interested, I'll post links to some of my favorite new mp3s every week, available for FREE downloading. These won't necessarily be new--but many of them will. I will post two top-five lists per week: one containing my favorite recently released hits; one with some randomly interesting songs that you might like to hear. I can also post concert reviews: for instance, Dima Bilan and Serega are both coming to America within the next month, and I'll try to make both shows. If I can somehow score tickets to Baskov and Povali, I'll definitely review them as well.

Whether you're a Russian music aficionado or you're just interested in hearing some of it, click around and enjoy!