Nexsound – experimental, ambient, noise, improv record label

Review

Indieville

The Moglass – Sparrow Juice

The Ukraine’s Moglass are one of my favourite experimental electronic acts (ever since I encountered their Telegraph poles are getting smaller and smaller as the distance grows album a long time ago), and Sparrow Juice makes no attempts to counteract that opinion. This isn’t your typical experimental electronic act though, as these improvisers tend to use many more live instruments than many of their peers on the scene. Computers, synths, and field recordings make appearances but don’t overbear more organic sounds coming from guitars, bass, saxophone, and even voice. The result is an epic, atmospheric-but-listenable record that feels right at home playing into a pitch black room. There is a foreboding, eerie sense exuded by Sparrow Juice, with lots of reverb lending the sounds a distant, almost cathedral-like openness. I kind of see a slight post-rock flare in the more cohesive and song-like offerings on this disc, though the more structured nature of that genre should not be confused with this predominantly abstract release.

The album, though consistently soundscape-based, varies from the ambient drone of “Revisited With K.” and “Krevptok Legkiy Riad” (which both use synths and static-like noise) to more guitar-infused, post-rock semi-melodic material like “Maya Britanova” and “Indirect News”. Meanwhile, eleven minute freeform improv work “Leering Raspberries” lays on the acoustic guitar plucking heavily, with sifting bleeps and electro bubbles steaming in the background. The record closes off with “Asumuth Vibrating,” which is a powerful, Fennesz-esque finale that seems to whisk by in a startlingly beautiful haze. Clearly, Sparrow Juice is not a record that deserves to be panned or glanced over. I suggest you buy this, turn out the lights, and let it play. That way, there’s no way you can ignore what truly amounts to a wonderful experimental soundscape album.
Matt Shimmer

Signal To Noise

The Moglass – Sparrow Juice

The farther that Moglass get from conventional instrumentation, the better they sound on Sparrow Juice. They wield field recordings with skill to create atmospheres that seem suffused with a sense of place and moment, but defy you name the when and where. Such skills don’t entirely desert them when they turn their hands to ordinary music. Judiciously applied echo turns “Obviously Political Lyric” into a persuasive resurrection of Popol Vuh’s placid spookiness. But on “Maya Brittanica” twinned bass guitar lines take you nowhere, except maybe to the closet where Brokeback hide their outtakes.
Bill Meyer

Testcard

The Moglass – Sparrow Juice

Für die Musik von The Moglass sollte man sich Zeit nehmen. Sie entwickelt sich sehr langsam, zieht unbeirrt ihre K, eise und klingt im Aufbau dochi ganz anders als die immer gleiche, anschwellende Dynamik von Bands wie Mono oder Mogwai. The Moglass stammen aus der Ukraine und haben bereits mit Tom Carter (Charalambides) zusammengearbeitet und waren mit Bands wie Jackie-O Motherfucker und My Cat Is An Alien auf Tour. Diese Information nur, um ihre Musik ein wenig zu verorten. Hauptquellen der überwiegend instrumentalen, oft auf Improvisation basierenden Nummern sind Gitarren und Field Recordings. Diese werden allerdings nicht geschichtet, sondern strudeln beinahe gleichmäßig nebeneinander her. So entsteht ein gleichmäßiger Fluss mit psychedelischem Touch, der sich doch nie einer ÜberwättigungsÄsthetik bedient.

Dream

The Moglass – Telegraph poles are getting smaller and smaller as the distance grows

This Ukrainian trio manifest a spacey series ofsounds over the course of the half dozen tracks presented here. Guitar,bass and electronics combine to create these hazy soft industrialexcursions. Like a small organic factory, pulsing and spitting out thesefragile mutable sonic textures as it spins lazily in space. The thirdtrack has a fragile folkish aspect that gets phased and shifted though arevolving multifaceted cut crystal, while a frog croaks, other subtlenatural sounds caress the periphery of this mechanical core, and anarrhythmic guitar navigates a narrow trail on a high sheer rockface.Rather than play in unison, the instruments here seem to overlap insubtle moire patterns as the pieces unravel. Navigating the twistedterrain of a discarded foil gum wrapper in microscopic vehicles, andobserving all of the delicate details. They also claim Paul Bowles booksas an influence; and there is a similar detachment in their work; as ifit was all watched as it unfolded from a chilly distance.
George Parsons

Paris Transatlantic

The Moglass – Telegraph poles are getting smaller and smaller as the distance grows

First of all there was Ambient, which freed music from the need to impose itself upon the listener – though you can, if you like, pay attention and even sing along to “classics” like Music for Airports -, then Tortoise-era post-rock (since I rediscovered Simon Reynolds’ article on the subject in Audio Culture I can use the term with some confidence) loosened the idea of structure, and nowadays more recent practitioners (post-post-rock? New Weird post-folk? what shall we call them?) from JOMF to Vibracathedral to Sunburned Hand Of The Man have more or less dispensed with material altogether, preferring straggly drones or endlessly unravelling, never-resolving melodies. There’s a little of all the abovementioned bands in the music of The Moglass, plus traces of Fripp, Harold Budd, Richard Pinhas, Tangerine Dream, the Cocteau Twins (without the voice), Mikhail Chekalin (though that might be my imagination) and, standing back in the shadows, Pink Floyd, Angus Maclise and the Grateful Dead – surely the first post-rock band, if eternal spaced out noodling is what post-rock’s all about. Get beyond the bland, watery Orbishness of track one and the spooky noodling of track two and check out the third track. Over a shuffling triple time groove, guitars and keyboards intertwine and drift off into the pale sepia horizon of the album cover (great album name too, by the way), but somehow, magically, the music holds the attention. I say “magically” because there’s no real reason why it should: the melodic shapes, though recurring, never quite stick in the mind, there’s no harmony to speak of, and even the groove seems to disappear after a while. After the fourth track a more conventionally Ambient (i.e. heavy on the reverb) gentle dip into and out of distant echoing pentatonic Cold Blue pools, track five’s rhythmic loop makes the Industrial / industrial connection clearer – though Yuri Kulishenko (guitar), Vladimir Bovtenko (bass) and Oleg Kovalchuk (electronics), were all probably in nappies when Throbbing Gristle set up shop. It’s such variety and openness that makes Telegraph Poles such a fine album, and one worth seeking out – though I suspect copies are already hard to find.
DW

Vital

The Moglass – Telegraph poles are getting smaller and smaller as the distance grows

There is something in common with the gaps of time Dr. Who onceexperienced that cavorts with this new recording from this Ukraniantrio. A heightened sense of proper weight carries each measure andstuns the ear with its sweet bass drones. A surrealistic blend ofuntailored improv, with a film noir edge. ‘Telegraph’ is The Moglass’post-rock take on modern sound by these guys who have been around fora handful of years reconstructing guitars into atonal minimalism. Ilike this record because it utilizes guitar in a way that the beefyinstrument doesn’t have to take center stage. The darker lines ofobservation grow and grow on track four where the haunted chamber ofbraided electronics surrounds and envelops you. The mix is ananalytical search and destroy approach to its own past. These gentshave taken fair risks in implementing something this freely informed,but there are moments where the repetition just goes on a bit toolong as on track five where the patters avenge my nerves. The damage,if it were, is made up as the thirteen minute closing track is justan investigative sonic pleasure. The strings bow with taut curiousityand tenuous mediation. Playing with fire could get you burned, ormight make way for a greater elemental magic. This sizzles slowly.
(TJN)

Luna Kafe

The Moglass – Telegraph poles are getting smaller and smaller as the distance grows

How to describe the music of Moglass? Well, it’s a mixture of glitch electronica and acoustic instruments, mostly guitar and bass, surprisingly often played without much effects. Leaving room for layers of fresh sounding and melodic drones, which they themselves names “personal-folk”. One of the elements who contributes to the freshness of the sound is their love for analogue synths, it’s amazing what they makes these old boards do. As the title suggests the overall themes here are to do with space, travel and transformation. They makes each song a journey and forces you to see things anew. It’s like they describe the very land itself, the vastness and the changes. I’m impressed! I can’t name any favorites from this disc, as the song titles are in Russian, but they’re all good. If this is the quality Moglass stands fore, I’ll have to check out the earlier CD and their split 3 inch CD with Nihil Est Excellence. Both on NexSound.

Splendid

The Moglass – Telegraph poles are getting smaller and smaller as the distance grows

Cross Ukraine off the list of Countries from which We’ve Never Received a CD. The Moglass are a self-described “guitar/bass/electronics” trio, which essentially means that they create sprawling ambient soundscapes — presumably loosely structured improvisations — peppered with familiar musical elements. The shortest of Telegraph poles…’ six tracks runs a modest five minutes; most are significantly longer. Sonically, they land somewhere in the midst of a triangle defined by the Aphex Twin, Roy Montgomery and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop circa 1982.These nameless tracks are built on foundations of looped samples or atmospheric keyboard effects; repetitive guitar figures, piano sequences and simple guitar progressions (or, in track three’s case, improvisational noodling) fill in the musical meat. Dropped-in samples and processed sounds are layered on as needed — everything from track three’s intermittently modified frog ribit to track six’s bouncy, IDM-friendly compressed vocal bytes.As is typically the case with this sort of material, it’s difficult to say much about the individual pieces without resorting to clumsy descriptions of de facto movements and transitions; suffice it to say that none of these pieces linger excessively on one expanse of sonic real estate. There’s little sense that The Moglass feel obligated to meet any expectations or deliver specific sonic stimuli — they’ve simply devoted themselves to that vaguest of musical holy grails, the Quest for Stuff that Sounds Cool. They’ve done well, too; each track is, in its way, enthralling, though a few of the grinding, clanking, mechanical background textures are creepy enough to lodge Telegraph poles… in horror film territory.The three guys who make up The Moglass reportedly recorded the majority of the disc on Christmas day, 2000. Crowding into a bedroom/basement/garage studio with two friends seems like an odd way to spend a holiday, but who are we to tell these guys when, where or how to make their music? Your time is better spent trying to hunt down a copy of Telegraph poles; only 500 were pressed, and they may already cost a small fortune on Ebay Ukraine…
— George Zahora

Aural Innovations

The Moglass – Telegraph poles are getting smaller and smaller as the distance grows

When I saw that these folks are from Ukraine and do “improvised drone” experimental music for guitar, bass, and electronics I just had to see what this sounded like. Would it be, y’know, different somehow? Or has the advent of global communication through the internet and such made it such that stuff from the other side of the world is gonna sound exactly the same as anywhere else? Well, I’m not sure that I got that question answered really (probably a bit too much to expect from a single CD!) but this is pretty darn cool nonetheless. For the most part Moglass creates floating, textural instrumentals, although unlike much dronescape stuff while they certainly love their effects pedals the instruments are often clearly discernable, even downright clean sounding at times. These folks are also more than happy to get dissonant and even dark and creepy, as they do on track two where a distorted guitar riff collides with tweaky electronics and drones. There are elements of glitchy electronica in a few tracks, but it never dominates the proceedings and is pretty subtle and creatively incorporated into their thing, and as one who is generally not a fan of that genre I did not find this aspect off-putting at all. Cool stuff!

Ink19

The Moglass – Telegraph poles are getting smaller and smaller as the distance grows

This is an album of cinematic, sweeping instrumental electronica ala Tangerine Dream. Guitar and bass manipulations suggest a Fred Frith influence. However, the influence the band offers is Paul Bowles books. Just as the desert is itself a character in The Sheltering Sky, the most famous of Bowles’ books, so does this music suggest a haunting impressionism of the yawning emptiness of The Sahara that lied to the south of Bowles’ adopted Tangiers.

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