Nexsound – experimental, ambient, noise, improv record label

Review

Cracked

Andrey Kiritchenko – True Delusion

The illusions start at the most physical level. Some medics argue that hearing is the first sense an unborn baby develops. Nothing is for sure and nothing is granted. But this CD is a true beauty. Intricate in the best sense and impressive even though – in contrast to what might be expected – there are no full force noise attacks here, but exactly the opposite. Based on piano and guitar notes, combined with organic sounds of the biggest creature known to mankind – the ecosystem – such are the connotations of this true piece of art. Did I never use the word enlightening or enriching because I don’t like superlatives and don’t want to wear off words for profane reasons? Maybe I should think about it.

Andrej Kiritchenko is the most prominent avant-garde musician from the Ukraine I know (which, I admit, are not so many after all), and he is the founder of the very interesting Nexsound label (which he now runs together with Dmytro Federenko aka Kotra). Releases on Nexsound are always worth listening to, because as far as music is concerned, which challenges the way you listen on an everyday basis even weeks or months later, as well as challenging your expectations of live and society, every release on Nexsound I have heard so far served more than ordered. (Check the reviews to Kotra and Zavoloka for more info.) Kiritchenko also has an enormous range of music he is working on and “True Delusion” is a great testament to that. I rarely ever do this, but this time around I want to copy-paste the info on this record to give you the artists idea of what he did: “The very idea was simple at first. I meant to play the guitar experimenting with minimalist harmonic overtones. Meanwhile I tried to take deep rhythmic breaths timed with guitar sounds. The result was almost meditative, as the guitar buzzing sound was slowly fading out and the body felt close to hyperventilated. : Later the album progressed in terms of the similar use of the piano. It was not exactly harmonic overtones, but the sound was slow, melodic and minimalist, so the album can be conventionally divided into two parts.”

The result, actually, is a lot more than the meditative minimalism hinted upon in this description. It would be doing great injustice to this music to describe it solely in the terms of slow, longwinding, meditative drones with parts that use instruments in simplistic ways and others that use gentle noises and the washing sounds of atmospheric disturbances. Because this record can really get a grip on you, or at least it got on me, when I listened to it first and then repeated listening to it for the rest of the afternoon. The last time this happened to me was with Marsen Jules “herbstlaub” and both records share an atmosphere of consisting outside the constraints of time in a near complete static balance, which to me defines at least one part of true beauty. But Kiritchenko’s work lays importance on two sides of the human spectrum, hinting at the dark as well as at the light. “True Delusion” is a lively discussion with tonality and harmony about the most essential aspects of life. The echoes of field recordings mixed with the sounds of breathing, aesthetically modified and elevated by the harmonious sounds of the piano or the guitar build a complete whole of surrounding sounds which at the same time soothes and frightens the listener. An environmental sound installation that flows and sparks with life, reverberates the tension that (conscious) existence brings along. The ambivalence of human lifes, with all its threats and joys, pain and happiness is reduced to the most basic level or existence – breath in / breath out – which like tidal movements still retains that certain ambivalence.

Using acoustic instruments is a new and maybe dangerous path for avant-garde-musicians, but new and dangerous should be the obvious choice for anything calling itself avant-garde (otherwise it’d end up as status quo). There seem to be more and more avant-garde artists taking that way and they have nothing to do with the settled avantgardists on these instruments (like Fred Frith, Eugene Chadbourne, Marc Ribot, to name some I still like) but using these bitparts together with the results of the electronic experimentalists from just around the corner of musical history, be they from the harshest noise sides or the ambient drone sides. That makes for an interesting mixture. First glimpses could be seen with Sylvain Chauveau or David Balula, but now I have the feeling that there is more and more of that, which exchanges the interest into the gigantic soundwalls with an interest into the more subtle and smaller differences. Maybe I am wrong and only deluded by my own perception, which is solely based on the music that comes my way, which of course is only a miniscule part of all the music around. Which brings me neatly to mentioning that there is a lot more to “True Delusion” than music.

The second side of this record is the very interesting theoretical background. We here at Cracked Headquarters know and have always put forth the thought that the whole world is actually an illusion. Not so much in the solipsist way of imagining everything out there but in the way that our sense shape the way we perceive the world (phenomenology), our minds shape the way we create the world on an individual basis (constructivism) and how our relationships to other people shape the way we behave in this world (sociology). In other words, we consist of ratio, emotion and socio and don’t you ever forget that. From the little blind dot in your eyeball, whose left out visual signals get interpolated and calculated by the brain very much like CD-error-programms have algorithms to calculate the missing sounds and you never notice, to the way our current social position and pressures make us behave (good example: George W. Bush, what power and drugs can do to the perception of the world), this is not at all a new thought. But an exciting, startling and haunting one each time I think about it. Most people live their everyday lives feeling they are in control of their lives. Of course, those are small lives with petty problems, especially in a rich and well-fed country such as Austria, but it is an illusion nevertheless. It takes only a few minutes and the coincidence of some far away factors to make you completely lose everything you ever had. Some CEO in another country decides to restructure the strategic direction of some side-parts of the global company he works for and suddenly your job is gone. A cardriver slides off the street and hits you or your partner straight with full power. A lightning strikes an electric pole which sets of a chain reaction and a whole city goes dark for hours. Warren Buffet decides to earn a few million dollars by a little currency speculation and destroys the economic system of a small country. And to think about the vast logistical system working on market forces and governmental forces it needs to feed a city of a million people, most of them working office jobs. “Illusion of Safety” for sure.[1] Most people have no idea of what is really going on and why some things are working the way they do. I wonder if there is a single person at all. Our society, from the economic basis to the fashion trend surface, from the milk delivered to the supermarket to the designer iPod bought via the internet, is so unimaginable complex. And we wallow through this complexity with our ancient mammal brains trying to find known dots and lines within the chaos that help us along, all the while telling ourselves that we have a grip on everything, when actually we should be screaming, banging our heads and run back to our primeval caves to hide in.

Etherreal

Andrey Kiritchenko – True Delusion

Andrey Kiritchenko est le fondateur du label ukrainien Nexsound et tete de pont de la scene electronique experimentale de l’Europe de l’est. Il s’agit la de son quatrieme album si l’on ne compte pas les multiples sorties en CDR et autres albums MP3. On ne connaissait pas son travail avant ce disque, et c’est une vraie decouverte qui se voit editee conjointement par Nexsound et le non moins exigeant label japonais Spekk.
L’album se divise en deux parties, reprenant plus ou moins le meme principe, mais avec une instrumentation differente. C’est la guitare qui est a l’honneur sur les quatre premiers morceaux, utilisee de maniere a creer des ambiances contemplatives. Le principe est pourtant assez simple : des melodies lentes qui tiennent en quatre ou cinq notes, tournent en boucle et se relaient. Les machines s’approprient ce materiau de base et creent des nappes saccadees. Le tout va et vient lentement, melodies et nappes prennent tour a tour le dessus, pendant qu’au second plan divers bruitages et field recordings (chants d’insectes, un enfant qui joue) apportent une vie micro-organique. C’est simple, superbe, apaise, meme si parfois, en fin de morceau, le chaos semble prendre le dessus avec des traitements un peu plus bruitistes, des guitares mal accordees ou grattees de maniere incoherente.
Sur la deuxieme moitie de l’album, c’est le piano qui est le centre de preoccupation de l’artiste. On retrouve un peu le meme principe de composition sur Illusion of Safety, mais les bruitages et field recordings ne sont plus systematiques. L’Ukrainien joue plus encore sur le pouvoir hypnotique et contemplatif d’une melodie simple jouee en boucle et transposee de quelques tons. Il travaille sur les harmoniques, utilise des portions de notes pour creer des nappes limpides, ou s’essaye au minimalisme sur le dernier morceau, Agravic Illusion, superposant pendant 9 minutes un drone et une note de piano revenant a intervalles reguliers, et se dedoublant petit a petit.
Un superbe album d’ambient electro-acoustique, experimentale mais tout a fait accessible et plus generalement deux labels, Nexsound et Spekk a suivre de pres.
Fabrice Allard le 12/06/2005

Luna Kafe

Andrey Kiritchenko – True Delusion

It’s always exciting to receive letters/small packets from the Ukraine. Big brown envelopes. Huge stamps. I think Eastern block governmental issues right away, from out of the foggy past. Before everything totally turned over and changed. Walls turned down, borders opened. And finally the velvety ‘orange’ revolution of last year comes to mind. Situated in the south-eastern part of Central Europe Ukraine borders Russia, Belorussia, Moldova, Slovakia, Rumania, Hungary and Poland on land, as well as to Russia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Roumania and Turkey via the Black Sea. The land are mostly a treeless plain, a ‘steppe’. Then there’s the Crimean peninsula down south by the B?? Sea. Then you’ve got the Carpathian mountains in the west. The main Ukrainian river is the Dnieper (one of the longest rivers in Europe), splitting the land in two. And to the east…Russia. This time the letter frmo Nexsound held Andrey Kiritchenko’s True Delusion, which is a cd presenting (according to their site): “Minimalist harmonic overtones made with acoustic guitar; slow, melodic and minimalist sound of piano; recordings of rural nature sounds; digital treatment and concrete noise”. Quite accurate. “True Delusion” holds ambient noise not being noisy. Slow-flowing abstractions of minimalism and repetition. As an artist Kiritchenko sort of explore and challenge the contemplative and meditative. And his compositions make me think of some minimal tribal music. It seems to be a disc touching the theme of illusion. The illusions of life. Man-made or mind-made. I’m not sure if I get all of it but True Delusion is quite a fascinating listen. And it makes me indeed relax. Maybe the whole record is an illusion? Tracks of illusion.

Signal To Noise

Andrey Kiritchenko – True Delusion

Nexsound label-founder Andrey Kiritchenko’s disc is a much more immediately soothing listen. The first four tracks layer acoustic guitar strumming and filtered reverberations of those strums with paper/object rustling and other ambient incidentals. Even when a thick layer of electronic reverb engulfs the other sound sources, like on “Scope of my perception”, it does so slowly that the decibel increase comes as relief not shock. The last four tracks use a piano in place of the guitar, bestowing on the album as a whole the kind of sonic balance that each track maintains. Very light plinks, soft mid-range feedback, a piano purring, backwards-processed interior landscape field recordings: Kiritchenko’s compositional elements work together, like a beer and an orange, to produce many-flavored feelings.
Andrew Choate

Electronic Music World

Andrey Kiritchenko – True Delusion

Andrey Kiritchenko is, well, people who read this site regularly will know what I think of him. A very talented artist from the Ukraine. He can switch genres easily and still bring us the highest quality we could expect from anyone. Never does he release a boring piece of music.

True Delusion doesn’t differ in the least. From the moment you receive it, you’ll be fascinated. The design, which was made using razor scratching techniques by Olga Indovina, is just awesome. And then you haven’t even listened to Andrey’s music yet.

For this album, Andrey has taken on the more ambient, post-rock style of music instead of the glitchy stuff he does. I must add that I prefer the glitchy stuff, but as I said before it doesn’t really matter which style of music he comes with, it’ll sound good anyway. It’s impossible to not be fascinated by the sounds that Andrey Kiritchenko is able to produce, alter, tweak, bleep, etc. Just plain great work.

I am very grateful that Andrey releases his own stuff as well on his label, next to all the music from other talented artists. I wouldn’t want to have missed this.

Blow Up

Andrey Kiritchenko – True Delusion

Figura centrale della scena sperimentale ucraina, Andrey Kiritchenko e stato finora coinvolto in progetti e lavori dai contorni estremamente mutevoli. In questo suo nuovo album per la nipponica Spekk (ma ne esiste anche una seconda edizione stampata dalla propria etichetta Nexsound) viene preso in esame lo studio degli armonici minimalisti, attraverso l’accoppiamento di strumenti acustici (la chitarra nella prima parte, il pianoforte nella seconda) e scalpiccii concreti che si materializza in un suono greve e corrotto, lontane parvenze di melodia, echi di friabile delicatezza resi tangibili o fatti sparire con magica mano da illusionista. (7/8) Nicola Catalano

Paris Transatlantic

Andrey Kiritchenko – True Delusion

Kiritchenko’s own True Delusion is a moodier affair, taking source recordings of guitar, piano and diverse field recordings and feeding them into the ubiquitous computer, to come up with something that sounds remarkably like Giuseppe Ielasi’s two latest solo releases on Sedimental and Hapna. Imagine lying on your back in long grass on a hot summer night and strumming a few neo-folk post-Fahey licks while small insects scuttle perilously close to your earholes. Elsewhere, ultra-minimal three-note piano melodies (both pedals down) drift through a haze of glowing harmonics as the listener is inexorably drawn into a brooding melancholy world worthy of Loren Connors. The difference is that Connors comes out naked and shivering, and doesn’t hide under a digital duvet. Kiritchenko’s music is touching, atmospheric, and undeniably well crafted, but I’m left wondering exactly how much substance there is under its beautiful surfaces.
-DW

autres directions

Andrey Kiritchenko – True Delusion

L’ukrainien Andrey Kiritchenko, croise chez Ad Noiseam ou Autoplate, use de son propre label Nexsound pour coproduire avec le japonais Spekk son nouvel album True Delusion. Kiritchenko confie avoir realise ce disque assez vite, en dix mois : six mois pour reunir un materiel sonore de base tout en reflechissant au disque, et seulement quatre supplementaires pour l’editer, l’ordonner, lui faire prendre forme.
L’artiste enregistre ainsi quelques notes de guitares egrenees, avec des microphones de contact, chez lui, quelques melodies de piano chez des amis, et des field recordings dans la ville de Kharkiv ou a proximite. Ces notes qu’ils jouent ne sont jamais bien nombreuses, se repetent, minimales. Ces quelques sequences melodiques se melangent a des bruits, gresillements, crachats electroniques divers – la texture digitale, parfois accidentelle, offrant un support de choix a la mise en valeur melodique que suit aisement l’ecoute de l’auditeur. True Delusion s’ouvre sur quatre compositions ou l’on trouve de la guitare, puis sur quatre ou se joue le piano. Les deus instruments ne se croisent jamais, discourent seuls dans ces atmospheres obscures toujours meditative, faussement calmes soit, mais pas forcement denuees de tension. True Delusion est un album organique, mouvant, parfois legerement orchestral malgre son denuement musical.
Kiritchenko y montre tout son talent a l’art de l’infiniment petit, a ce travail exemplaire sur les couches sonores, mais accouche d’un disque tiede ou l’emotion n’est pas toujours communicative, ou il semble regulierement se cacher sous son processus creatif plutot que d’exprimer son ressenti.
par stephane

Real Tokyo

Andrey Kiritchenko – True Delusion

Nexsound label founder, Ukrainian sound artist Andrey Kiritchenko releases his new solo album simultaneously on his onw label and the Japanese spekk. While “True Delusion” integrates well in the still small spekk catalogue that so far includes the likes of Taylor Deupree and William Basinski, for those digging the glitches and electronic noises that dominate Nexsound and the artist’s previous oeuvre the sparse acoustic guitar (first half) and piano (second half) sounds on this album will take a while to get used to. Using harmonic overtones and field recordings, Kiritchenk carefully and tastefully places each of the eight pieces in the narrow space between reality and fiction, to create indeed a feel of delusion. (Andreas)

the Vibes

Andrey Kiritchenko – True Delusion

Quando Karl Jaspers parlò per la prima volta della “delusione” nel suo saggio Psicopatologia Generale, operva una distinzione fra le delusioni primarie e quelle secondarie. Le prime (note anche come true delusions) sono contraddistine da una radicale trasformazione di senso -direbbe qualcuno-, cosicchè il mondo o aspetti di esso vengono interpretati in maniera totalmente differenti dal soggetto deluso, in base ad un processo che a molti può apparire causato da fattori psicopatologici. Jaspers individuò quattro tipi di true delusions: quella legata all’intuizione (in cui la causa scatenante non è esogena, ma dipende in gran parte dai cosiddetti “blue states” ovvero degli stati di melanconia), quella percettiva (in cui la percezione “normale” ingenera “delusione” nel soggetto), quella “atmosferica” (in cui un qualche fenomeno esterno fa percepire il mondo in maniera alterato, quasi che fosse investito da una rivelazione portentosa o sinistra, capace sensazioni o percezioni ritenute prodromiche) e infine quella legata alla memoria. La classificazione richiamata, nonostante sia stata criticata sotto vari profili, sembra essere ripercorsa da questo disco di Andrey Kiritchenko, notorio sperimentalista ucraino, fondatore della Nexsound, eccellente etichetta che sta contribuendo alla fama della già apprezzata scena elettronica ucraina e ad accreditarla come tra le più interessanti dell’Europa Orientale. E in questo disco tra qualche spiegazzatura minimalista e molte inflessioni strutturaliste che Andrey sembra che -quasi inconsapevolmente- abbia voluto impressionare un viaggio intimista. Del torpore mnestico che avrebbe tirato fuori Jaspers o meglio i suoi seguaci c’è ben poco, visto che Andrey sembra trovare perfetta collocazione del suo vissuto (percettivo) nella musica che sembra dimenarsi nel groviglio di rumori d’ambiente e glitcherie pregevoli. Come ammette lo stesso Kiritchenko, il progetto era nata con l’intento di esplorare gli overtones armonici per tramite di una chitarra acustica (“l’unico strumento che suono più o meno bene” ricorda Andrey), ma pian piano una qualche impellenza ha visto l’intromissione del pianoforte (“perchè amo ciò che Charlemagne Palestine fa con questo strumento” ha dichiarato di recente in un’intervista). Il processing in altre parole sembra (stranamente) messo in secondo piano, anche se riteniamo che le field recordings rimangano ancora il nucleo dello stile di questo musicista. La con/fusione degli strumenti con i suoni reali sussegue nella ricerca espressiva di questo genere di sperimentazioni, per cui non meravigliatevi se qualcuno avrà la parvenza di essere calato in un’ambientazione surreale in cui gli strumenti più convenzionali (nella fattispecie piano e chiatarra) sembrano gradualmente impolpettarsi con ogni oggetto fonte di onde sonore percepibili da orecchio umano. Ed è proprio in questa “surrettizia surrealtà” che va individuata la fonte di quella “true delusion” a cui Andrey allude nel titolo di questo album, che viene pubblicato anche dalla giapponese Spekk in confezione di cartone riciclato.

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