Nexsound – experimental, ambient, noise, improv record label

Review

Alla Zagaykevych and Electroacoustic’s Ensemble

Alla Zagaykevych est une compositrice ukrainienne habituée du label Nexsound puisque c’est son troisième album sur cette structure depuis Motus publié en 2005. Après des études à la National Music Academy de Kiev elle a poursuivi son parcours à l’IRCAM, puis elle est retournée dans son pays où elle a fondé l’Electronic Music Studio. C’est en 2009 qu’elle lance l’Electroacoustic’s Ensemble qui l’accompagne sur cet album. Il s’agit d’un groupe de musiciens spécialisés dans l’interprétation de musiques électroacoustiques, mais un groupe à géométrie variable en fonction des besoins, suivant que l’accent doivent être mis sur le respect d’une partition ou sur l’improvisation.

Il s’agit donc ici du genre de musique que l’on aborde rarement en disque, mais plutôt en concert. Un album de musique électroacoustique qui ne laisse aucun doute quant à l’aspect live de son enregistrement là où l’on est habitué à ce que les éléments acoustiques aient été préalablement enregistrés puis manipulés comme n’importe quel autre source électronique.

L’album se divise en trois pistes de 15-20 minutes chacune, et très vite on se rend compte que l’on a entre les mains un disque atypique, avec une musique que l’on croirait parfois tirée d’enregistrements du GRM des années 50-60, et des improvisations un peu folles de violon que l’on pourrait avoir vu en concert la semaine dernière. L’équilibre entre électronique et acoustique est mouvant et délicat. La première piste par exemple débute par de gros glissements électroniques au second plan et improvisations de violon mises en avant. Mais petit à petit des “zigouillis” électroniques s’immiscent, un dialogue s’installe, le ton monte, et ce sont les percussions qui semblent alors mettre d’accord les deux parties.

Assez inattendue sur les deux morceaux suivants, l’apparition d’un chant, a priori un chant traditionnel ukrainien. Très dominant sur l’ouverture de II, il sert ici de fil rouge avec une connotation pop, cessant parfois pour laisser siffler flûtes et machines pour se confronter plus tard à une électronique dense, puissante, ou encore former un duo avec un violon grinçant.
Sur la dernière pièce acoustique et électroniques sont plus intimement liés, à commencer par ce même chant qui est manipulé par les machines. Textures, frétillements, ces vocalises deviennent fantomatiques et ce sentiment est renforcé par le jeu de l’électronique, entre souffles et drones. On pense ici au folklore scandinave avec une ambiance qui nous fait penser à une forêt en pleine vie, habitée, parsemée de hululement de flûtes et percussions improvisées.

Un très bel album d’une musique électroacoustique pleine de vie, une impression certainement en grande partie liée à la qualité de l’enregistrement qui sonne très “live”.

Fabrice Allard
le 31/08/2013

Luna Kafe

Andrey Kiritchenko – Chrysalis (Luna Kafe)

Nexsound founder and experimental electronic/electro acoustic wizard Andrey Kiritchenko has launched another record. Chrysalis is one of many (more than 40 releases!) records he’s been involved with over the years; solo-stuff or in collaboration with other artists (Francisco Lopez, Sara Lunden, Kim Cascone, Martin Brandlmayr, Anla Courtis, Jason Kahn and others). On his own label, or for labels like Staalplaat, SPEKK, Ad Noiseam, Bip-Hop, Neo Ouija, and more. Chrysalis holds 6 tracks, and is surprisingly accessible. It’s from the experimental paths, of course, but the songs aren’t of the abstract kind. Some of the songs are like chilled, jazzy, laid-back lounge-post-rock, and his band of players – Artem Amstibovskiy on clarinet, Gendel Krechkovskiy on double bass, and Natalia Dudynska on violin – are really skilled. I especially like the playful opener “Vortex Singular”, “Momentum Derive” and “Quasi Religious”, not to forget the very fine “Fly Above Where Leaves Do Not”. Neat stuff!

Andrey Kiritchenko is a major player in the Ukrainian electronic music scene. He’s acclaimed and awarded (awarded by Qwartz Electronic Music Awards, and he was a participant at the Ukrainian exhibition at the 52th Venice Biennale). Chrysalis is steady proof of his position.

Neural

V4W.enko And Sanmi – Y:E:T

This work is based on fascinating generative sounds, sensually moving between hyper-vivid structures. These are developed through patterns organized in multilevel textures that are rich in sudden changes of register, dysfunctions and digital jumps. Continuously expanding rhythmic concatenations evolve in very sharp iterations, sometimes quiet and sometimes more dynamic. This audio and video project by V4W.enko and Sanmi started in 2007 and is made from live electronic sound processing enriched with real time video streaming, all of which has been organized in carefully designed algorithmic flows, according to fairly simple and intuitive rules. With this release for Nexsound, the artists’ collaboration has become even closer: the buzzes, hisses and low frequencies seem to be more rigorously organized and maintain a sort of performative aplomb instead of being inspired by a strong conceptualism. The generative sound collage created by the Ukrainian and Japanese authors doesn’t offer any reference, evolving instead in a very sensual and synesthetically involving way, drawing cohesive synthetic abstractions, melodies barely hinted at, harmonic iterations and poetic piano fragments. The endless mutations give rise to many different syntonies, new levels of synergy that follow constant rules, outlining, in all seven tracks, an interesting mix of glitchy, abstract sounds and mild noise, and always unpredictable experiments with new sound forms.
Aurelio Cianciotta

Vital Weekly

Andrey Kiritchenko – Chrysalis (Vital Weekly)

This is certainly one of the stranger records I encountered lately. I know Andrey Kiritchenko as someone who likes his computer, a surprise and his Ukranian background. “Chrysalis is a state in which one creature naturally transformed in an almost completely different being, while remaining within the cocoon. The idea of this transformation in time, when living creatures are left virtually nothing from the previous condition, is very inspiring. In this album sound of acoustic instruments and electronics flow into one another, dissolve in devolution, decay in a space of interactions. Rebirth”. That’s what he writes about his latest LP, which lists Kiritchenko as the composer, producer and mixer of this record, and where he receives help on clarinet, double bass and violin. But what the hell is what here? I hear orchestral sounding music, which indicates that Kiritchenko sampled those instruments and perhaps some he played himself and creates this odd music. It’s sounds very jazz like (I almost left it with Dolf Mulder for this reason), sometimes a bit minimal (“A Sack Of Winds”) and also actually quite acoustic. That’s perhaps the oddest thing about this record. Here we hardly have an ‘evidence’ of Kiritchenko’s laptop in play, so perhaps he’s just editing the recordings made by the musicians and add a bit of piano and drum sounds of his own. I was thinking that this might all be a too jazz like for me, but overall I also thought this was a strangely captivating record. One hell of hard to classify record, Rafael Toral fans for more spacious ‘fake’ jazz should take notice! Less electronic, more warm, I guess. (FdW)

FarFromMoscow

Andrey Kiritchenko – Chrysalis (FarFromMoscow)

Something related – from within a different genre – transpires in an equally wonderful release from Ukraine’s Andrey Kiritchenko - who is also a favorite on this site. Mr. Kiritchenko‘s catalog has been enthusiastically covered before on FFM because of his long-term interest in the dovetailing of folk and electronic performance, most notably through collaborations with the Ukrainian ensemble Ojra. He, as suggested, has a new album on display, entitled “Chrysalis.” Once again, the metaphor of expansiveness and some kind of transgressed limit emerges. If the “dangerously” expansive technique of Kubikmaggi comes simultaneously from a free-jazz, paternal heritage, then the content and worldview of “Chrysalis” look much further into the past.

They also, in response to Ksenya Marokkanskaya’s critique, remain much closer to home. As we’ll see, domestic tradition is able to foster an escape from convention – if one casts a glance backwards, to an age before mercantile modernity.

Fittingly enough, and as the album title might suggest, Mr. Kiritchenko‘s biography and CV echo some performative aspects of Kubikmaggi‘s career – at least in terms of viewing progress as expansion. We’re told, by way of example, about his early years, when various styles were engaged, employed, and then abandoned. Kiritchenko‘s youthful movement beyond domestic rock bands in Kharkiv would lead to more numerous “activities, ranging from indie-pop to free-improvisation, from melodic electroacoustic music to experimental techno.” Bloggers and webzines overseas endorse this dismissal of convention. From Chile we read praise of Kiritchenko‘s patchwork styling, made from “glimpses of jazz and [related] contemporary music. He opens new perspectives and new textures, especially with the percussion - drums, xylophone, marimba.”

Taking those metaphors at face value, an opening, broadening perspective is considerably more appealing than any goal-driven, unidirectional “progress.” The new artwork (above) does much to vivify and clarify those admittedly vague notions.

It’s pleasing, given such baroque illustrations, to find an assessment of “Chrysalis” in terms of its folkloric connections. Andrey Kiritchenko, after all, made the album “A Tangle of Mokosha” a few years ago, together with Ojra. It remains one of the most beautiful combinations of Slavic folksong and electronica in memory. Just as timeless folk narratives often speak of (minor!) human enterprise amid the dauntingly open, even decentered realms of nature, so here a musician’s “widening” experimentation is considered against the backdrop of native custom. These are subjective expressions made in consideration of what lies beyond a homestead, material existence, or materialistic norms.

Loop.cl

Andrey Kiritchenko – Chrysalis (Loop)

This Ukrainian artist hailing from Kharkov began in 1991 as a singer and songwriter in a rock band. In the 90s had notoriety as a television showman and radio DJ, and was a major promoter of electronic music with his Critikal, Sidhartha and Nex projects. In 2000 he founded the Nexsound label. He has a large catalog and has collaborated with major artists such as Anla Courtis, Francisco López, Kim Cascone, among others.
Kiritchenko combines acoustic and digital aesthetics. Recently his track ‘Fly Above Where Leaves Do Not’ is included on the compilation ‘The Wire Tapper’ # 30 which comes out with the October issue of the ‘The Wire’ magazine.
‘Chrysalis’ is composed, produced and mixed by Andrey Kiritchenko during 2011-2012 acompannied by guest musician, Artem Amstibovskiy on clarinet, Gendel Krechkovskiy on double bass and Natalia Dudynska on violin.
I think this is the first time that Kiritchenko puts more emphasis on acoustics aesthetics, expressed with glimpses jazz and contemporary music. Indeed, this interesting proposal opens new perspectives in terms of finding new textures, especially with percussion (drums, xylophone, marimba) that gives a fresh and warm sound.

Guillermo Escudero
October 2012

Luna Kafe

v4w.enko and sanmi – Y:E:T

Another release from the interesting Ukrainian label Nexsound, this time a Japanese-Ukrainian collaboration. Highly experimental stuff, presenting a project where sound meets vision and interweaves. This is all about textures, structures, multilayers.

Ukraina based V4w.enko (a.k.a. Evgen Vaschenko) meets Japan based Sanmi (a.k.a. Kyo Yanagi). Most of Y:E:T‘s seven cryptically entitled (from 1-7: “K4-j6 toT7″, “Ummd_line6″, “R-d4″, “Bvc2c”, “Nod5″, “T_mx2″, and 7. “Lcgf”) tracks are slow streams of electronic twists and turns. Sometimes with a slow beat, except for “Bvc2c”, which has got a more upbeat drive. Most tracks are also quite abstract and freely floating compositions. Like they describe their project: Y:E:T is the next point of researches in generative sounds with a sensual approach to compose generated lines in the complete collages…” Right. Included are ever-expanding soundscapes from the electronic art palette. “T_mx2″ is like a digital soundtrack to some vibrant, yet silent (think ‘a bit eerie’) nightlife, with crickets chirping. The closing track, “Lcgf”, is the one being the key track, at least to my pair of ears. It’s also a more tonal piece of composition, with a tender and quiet piano holding the thread. Vaschenko part of the project is about sound and vision, where “..live electronics, sound and video stream are being realised in real-time by manipulating of self-programmed algorithms..”. Kyo Yanagi has been adding some ‘sensual touch’ with “..high tuned layers to the generated lines of sound structures..”. All this resulting in, according to V4w.enko and Sanmi a “”..multilayered form which is allowed to bring spontaneous events into a new level of the synergy of the live forms and some constant rules.”

Y:E:T is a good soundtrack to a lazy Sunday morning if you’re in the mood for some loose-fit, abstract art shaped as sound.

Copyright © 2012 Håvard Oppøyen

Vital Weekly

v4w.enko and sanmi – Y:E:T

A collaboration, through e-mail I guess, between Kyo Yanagi, also known as Sanmi and Evgeniy Vaschenko from the Ukraine. A highly digital work this is, but one that has also quite a ‘live’ feeling to it. Clicks ‘n cuts – if anyone cares to remember that – is certainly something that applies here. Things buzz, hiss, crack and loop around, with a highly dynamic sound. Deep bass sounds, shrieking high end sine wave like sounds on top, cut ‘n pasted together in the best Pan Sonic tradition. yet, all with a slight difference: this music deals less with a straight forward beat, but rather with cutting up all the sounds, all the time. Only in the closing piece ‘Lcgf’ the cut-up is absent, and everything is placed in a straight forward fashion, with some desolate piano sounds. A fine closing to a somewhat tiring but also quite rewarding release. Excellent stuff. (FdW)

Dusted magazine

Alla Zagaykevych and Electroacoustic’s Ensemble – Nord/Ouest – Dusted Magazine

I don’t know much about Ukrainian arts and culture. Sad but true, even though I live in a Chicago neighborhood full of Ukrainian immigrants and their descendants, minutes away from the foremost exhibitor of Ukrainian art outside the borders of the former Soviet state. I’m a negligent interloper into a cultural enclave, perhaps, though I plead in my defense that traditional Ukrainian music has never really had its time in the sun. Plenty of people know the sound of Bulgarian vocal choirs, Tuvan throat singing, and Balinese gamelan, but Ukrainian folk styles are probably an unknown to all but the most intrepid of ethnic music explorers. For that reason, there’s a part of Nord/Ouest that’s liable to soar right over the heads of many non-Ukrainian listeners. The proclaimed “geo-political” music was inspired by the folklore and physical environment of Ukraine’s Rivne Polissya region, an amalgamation of modern electronics with traditional sounds from Ukraine’s northwest. Even if one can’t pick up on the specifics of what Alla Zagaykevych and Company are doing, the contrast at the core of Nord/Ouest is easily apparent.

 

Alla Zagaykevych is the founder of Electroacoustic’s Ensemble and Nord/Ouest’s core contributor. Her electronics are the album’s constant, the ocean on which the rest of the music floats. Vaporous clusters of tones swoop and swirl in colorful auroras, littered with a miscellany of other electronic emissions and occasional theremin — squiggly spurts like a foghorn amidst the sometimes murky haze. Vadim Jovich’s percussion plays at the music’s outer edges, providing textural support and arrhythmic splatters, in league with Zagaykevych’s electronics in setting the scene for Nord/Ouest’s leads. On the first and third untitled tracks, Sergiy Okhrimchuk’s violin plays at center stage, scratching and scribbling in messy tangles, arresting itself before it engages in any activity that might be construed as too melodic. There’s attention paid to an overall ambience, but Nord/Ouest isn’t an album that aims for cohesion or an overly homogenized sound. This becomes most apparent on the second track, which features vocals from Iryna Klymenko, with accompaniment from Zagaykevych, and Okhrimchuk. It’s in the singing that Nord/Ouest ’s link to Ukrainian folklore is at its most obvious. Even when it’s echoed or effected, the strident voices ring out as Electroacoustic’s Ensemble’s human element, that which keeps the album’s conceit from feeling too academic. When Klymenko duets with Zagaykevych, the effect can be chilling and I find the music fading into the background; when one or the other sings alongside Okhrimchuk’s violin, the album comes as close as it will get to conventional beauty. There are hints at what I assume to be traditional Ukrainian songs, signposts to those in the know in a language that few in America will understand. Incomprehension makes them no less arresting.

 

I probably wouldn’t make many friends jamming Nord/Ouest out on the streets of my neighborhood, but I imagine that someone from or familiar with Rivne Polissya might enjoy or understand the album in ways that I don’t. Still, the broad stroke collisions that constitute the album are easy to understand. The dichotomies between old and new, electronic and acoustic, human and inhuman, are at the crux of what Zagaykevych and her compatriots are exploring. It’s no coincidence that the segments of the album that concentrate on the electronics, well executed as they may be, pale in comparison to Nord/Ouest more heterogeneous intersections of sound. Like the inexplicable possessive in the Electroacoustic’s Ensemble’s name, this album leaves the listener with some questions, but Nord/Ouest is often at its best when it’s most mysterious.

By Adam Strohm

Le Son Du Grisli

Alla Zagaykevych & Electroacoustic’s Ensemble – Nord/Ouest

Le site internet d’Alla Zagaykevych ne mène nulle part (la preuve : nulle part). C’est sur le site de l’Ircam qu’on peut en apprendre sur cette compositrice ukrainienne. Mais on en apprendra encore plus en écoutant Nord/Ouest, CD qu’elle a enregistré avec son Electroacoustic’s Ensemble.

Zagaykevych programme, chante, joue des live electronics et du thérémine. Surtout, elle invente une musique qui emprunte à Xenakis autant qu’au folklore de son pays d’origine. Parfois, son programming sonne bien vieux d’autres fois il est très froid. Mais le voilà excusé lorsqu’arrivent les voix, les cordes et les percussions, toutes de belle qualité. Du Nord à l’Ouest, l’oreille vacille donc. Cette musique électroacoustique mi-folk mi-contemporaine nous mène nulle part, elle aussi:  je veux dire par là qu’elle est rare et déboussolante.

Alla Zagaykevych : Nord/Ouest (Nexsound)
Enregistrement : 12 juin 2010. Edition : 2011.
CD : 01-03/ Nord/Ouest
Pierre Cécile © Le son du grisli

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