Alösha Zelensky is an acclaimed composer, sound designer, musician, and sound artist based in Budapest, Hungary. He has won multiple awards and recognition for his innovative and exceptional contributions to the field of music composition and sound design.
MUSIC & SOUND DESIGN FOR PODCASTS
F@ck War / Х#й войне (Mediazona)
This melody provides a deeply personal account of the first months of the Russian invasion. Though the promise of swift deliverance was uncertain, the simplicity of the melody conveyed a message of hope. As a jingle, it sets the stage for the investigative and narrative nature of the podcast, providing a moving backdrop to the experiences and stories of those affected by the war.
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Come and Listen / Иди и слушай (Zaborona)
This podcast tells the heartbreaking stories of Ukrainian women who followed their husbands to the Middle East to join ISIS. To capture the essence of the cultural clash, I used a rich string glissando, typical of Arab orchestral tradition, which is juxtaposed with a traditional Slavic folk melody. In the coda, the music takes a dramatic turn, sliding into an abyss to convey the depth of emotion and tragedy that the women and their families experience. The resulting music is a haunting and poignant accompaniment to the powerful stories told in the podcast.
I was commissioned to compose a jingle for an investigative podcast series that needed to convey a sense of tension without being too dark or tragic. To achieve this, I decided to use a minimalist approach, with a simple yet effective piano pulse and a restrained arrangement that subtly underlined the show's investigative nature.
The Device of Omnipotence / Ящик всевластия (Coda Strory)
For this podcast jingle I had an image of locomotive machinery – with saxophones used to mimic the sound of exhaust pipes. To add a nod to the history of Soviet and Russian media, I also included a snippet from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, referencing the attempted coup of 1991 when the ballet was broadcasted on all TV stations.
Waiting for Sentsov / В очікуванні Сенцова (Hromadske, Novaya Gazeta)
The tale of a man trapped as a political prisoner in Russia is echoed through the unyielding repetition of a guitar ostinato and the introspective tones of a piano. Together, these musical elements convey the sense of captivity and contemplation that permeate the story.
The Stories of Russian Sex / Истории русского секса (Libo Libo)
The goal was to compose a piece of music that was both playful and soft-spoken, gentle enough to complement the intimacy of the interviews yet lively enough to set the tone for the entire series. I achieved this by devising a quirky waltz, infused with childishly awkward sounds – to underline an openness and sincerity of the series. The podcast went on to achieve enormous success with many millions of listeners.
Trip cost / Цена поездки
The podcast series delves into the dangers that can lurk in the shadows of a big city, particularly for passengers in taxi cabs, and explores the reluctance of taxi companies to take responsibility. To create a soundscape that evokes the gritty, nocturnal atmosphere of the city, I combined a harsh, distorted backing with a contemplative melody. The resulting jingle gradually builds into a nightmare, creating an unsettling and haunting atmosphere that sets the tone for the podcast.
And there you have it / Так вышло (Libo Libo)
In this ethics podcast series, the conversations can get pretty heated, with the co-hosts often engaging in fiery debates. The jingle music reflects this intense atmosphere, using noir aesthetics and a melodic structure that twists and turns, building up to a climax. To get everyone pumped for the debates, I threw in a bell at the start of the jingle, reminiscent of a boxing match. The overall effect is a gripping and intense soundscape that sets the tone for the thought-provoking discussions to come.
Got money / Деньги пришли (Libo Libo)
The lively main theme for a personal finance series evokes memories of arcade video games, with their epic quests and carefree appeal - a fitting tribute to the games that the Gen Y co-hosts grew up playing. As a final touch, I included a hint of Beethoven's cadence to give the composition an extra kick.
It Either Flies or Dies / Либо выйдет, либо нет (Libo Libo)
The opening jingle of this podcast series, which chronicles the highs and lows of building a podcast studio from scratch, is a lively and upbeat blend of klezmer and Caribbean music. The tune captures the lighthearted yet hopeful tone of the show, and sets the mood for the exciting journey ahead. It doesn't hurt, of course, that since the podcast's inception, the studio has skyrocketed to success.
Somehow / Как-нибудь (Libo Libo)
Here I wanted to create a piece that was both gentle and melancholic, yet pulsating and driving at the same time. The transitions from minor to major and back again reflect the overarching message of the series: life is what it is, c'est la vie.
Did I ask for your opinion? / Сперва роди (Libo Libo)
This podcast is all about three dads chatting it up and sharing their hilarious and insane experiences of fatherhood. With the growling saxophone and slap-bang backing I wanted to capture the wackiness of parenthood.
Lifelike / Как в жизни
In my work for this contemporary cinema series, I aimed to create something grandiose that would evoke cinematic imagery. To achieve this, I used a choir - an unconventional choice for a jingle.
Gutenberg will call / Гутенберг позвонит (Arzamas Academy)
With the series' title in mind, my goal was to evoke a distinctly European sound. To convey the theme of technological sophistication, I wrote a reserved harpsichord melody adorned with a grace note.
Enough / Хватит
Given the podcast's overarching focus on the very many aspects of violence against women, I wanted to compose a piece of music that could bring healing and solace. The use of breaths and ocean sounds in the sound design suggests the idea of taking a moment to connect with oneself.
MUSIC & SOUND DESIGN FOR FEATURE AND ANIMATED FILMS
Tanzonk Best Music 2017 at TCFF
Directed by Sasha Svirsky
Intimate Parts Best Debut 2013 (Kinotavr)
Directed by Natasha Merkulova and Alexey Chupov
Good Old Vinyl
Directed by Philipp Yarin
Performed during the opening days of the 59th International Art Exhibition in Venice, Padiglione Morto – The Dead Pavillion – refers to the Russian Pavilion which was absent in 2022.
The Dead Pavilion has no walls. Instead, it takes up the space with sound. The black bottles/bombs that are placed around the icon work as a wind organ. When the wind blows, the structure comes to life producing howling sounds in many pitches at once. These are the voices of the desolation of war. Once the weather calms down, the Pavilion falls silent – and dead.
A non-canonical icon of the Blessed Seven-Shot Artist which alludes to an orthodox iconography of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows was presented together with the sound installation by Alösha Zelensky and videography by media artist Marco Aurelio Di Giorgio.
Oksana Devochkina, Alösha Zelensky, Marco Aurelio Di Giorgio / Venice, 2022