Nexsound – experimental, ambient, noise, improv record label

Review

Groove

Zavoloka-Agf – Nature never produces the same beat twice

Katia Zavoloka är en av de mest intressanta artisterna på den lilla electronicascenen i Ukraina. Ofta, även här, öser hon ur de ukrainska folksångerna för inspiration och texter. Alltid gör hon experimentellt utmanande musik som kräver mycket. Den ger också tillbaka. Man känner sig alltid lätt omtumlad av att vara i hennes sällskap. På Nature Never Produces the Same Beat Twice har hon hängt med tyska Antye Greye Fuchs, eller AGF. Hon har beskrivit sig själv som poem producer eftersom hon använder datorn och sin musik till att läsa poesi lika mycket som att göra musik. På den här skivan dominerar dock det instrumentala. Och det är faktiskt skönt. Då får de släppa ut experimentlustan hela vägen. Upphackade röster förekommer bland de kantiga beatsen, men det tar aldrig över. Det blir inte poesistund. Bara högteknologiska kast som garanterat skakar dig ur vintertröttheten. AGF bidrar också med en mer utvecklad ljudbild än vad Zavoloka tidigare presterat. Ett nödvändigt och bra samarbete.
Mats Almegård

Vital

Zavoloka vs Kotra – to Kill the Tiny Groovy Cat E.P.

This short release is a taster for a forthcoming full length release by Kotra and Zavoloka. Both are from the Ukraine and over the last couple of years they have played together a lot, both live and in the studio. For this release, Kotra returned to playing the bass, ‘clanged and creaked’. Zavoloka ‘has nurtured it and killed it’, it says on the rather beautiful cover. Whatever nurturing and killing may be, it’s hard to trace any sound back to the bass in these five pieces. Five pieces of chilling computerized glitch, with a good ear for a bass sound (that seems to be coming from anything deep end in the plug in section, rather than from a wooden box with four thick strings). Sounds crash like hard drives here, with fierce high end pitches among the deeper end music. Not danceable, hardly ‘warm’, but a truly noise related attack on the senses. Good for the fact that it defies any relation to microsound and clicks ‘n cuts, trying really to melt down all the various influences together and be something new. Makes great expectations for the full length. (FdW)

Neural

Zavoloka vs Kotra – to Kill the Tiny Groovy Cat E.P.

Sempre dall’Ucraina, Zavoloka e Kotra, in un progetto collaborativo per la Nexsound, label fondata da Andrey Kiritchenko, assai attiva negli ambiti sperimentali elettronici. Uscita composta da cinque tracce, edita solo in versione cd, densa di minimali destrutturazioni e dissonanze, nello stile alquanto radicale, schizoide ma ineccepibile che nelle libere forme dei loro trattamenti in questa occasione vede i due artisti divisi fra sequenze suonate (Kotra) ed i successivi tagliatissimi montaggi (Zavoloka) operati su parti inizialntemente già concertate e predisposte. Aleggiano fra le righe strutture tipiche della tradizione improvvisativa che ibridate nei flussi contemporanei di matrice glitch’n’click testimoniano d’un aderenza ai tempi non sospetta, attenta e partecipe. Sonorità certo non convenzionali, sintetiche e aliene ma che ancora sanno poeticamente confrontarsi con l’incredibile varietà che circonda le nostre vite.

Aurelio Cianciotta

de:bug

Zavoloka vs Kotra – to Kill the Tiny Groovy Cat E.P.

Die CD ist nicht nur rosa, nein, sie riecht auch noch so. Aber das ist man von Nexound ja fast schon gewohnt, dass die Verpackung immer voller Details ist. Musikalisch besteht die CD aus digitalem Gezausel für Profis und solche die es auch mal silbrig funky mögen, wie ein guter Raster Noton-Raveslammer. Meist aber ist es definitv eher etwas für die passende Beschallung des heimischen Festplatten-Terrariums.
bleed

e/i

Zavoloka vs Kotra – to Kill the Tiny Groovy Cat E.P.

Looking at To Kill the Tiny Groovy Cat shows that brevity can indeed be a virtue. Splayed over just a tidy 16 minutes (not sure it matters whether an ampersand or a versus is applicable for either disc), Zavoloka and Kotra

Real Tokyo

Zavoloka – Suspenzia

Katja Zavoloka is a young Ukrainian artist who releases her wonderful music on Andrey Kiritchenko’s Nexsound label. A bit reminiscent of AGF (from the former GDR), she is one of the few female artists in the realm of cutting-edge electronic music who successfully combine sonic minimalism, accessibly melodic structures and danceable rhythms. Like most of the numerous artists from former USSR who keep attracting attention with brilliant releases these days, Zavoloka interweaves her pieces with decent traditional elements that give her music depth and a fascinating exotic touch. “Suspenzia” ranges from abstract, experimental textures to straight 4/4 beats, whereas the tasteful, dynamic arrangement throughout pulls the listener deep into the excitingly clear ocean of sounds.
(Andreas)

WIRE

Zavoloka – Suspenzia

There’s so much superb Ukrainian electronic music coming out on Andrej Kirichenko’s Nexsound label that it’s tempting to see Kiev shaping up as the new Cologne or Vienna. Katia Zavoloka’s debut is as challenging and rewarding as anything put out by labelmate Kotra or Kirichenko himself. Over the album’s 70 minute span she proves herself to be a sly, witty programmer, as much at home with the confrontational machine noise and modulated radio static of “Laktorybka” as the itchy-twitchy Mouse On Mars-style nearly pop of “Nathnennia”. One of the great things about Suspenzia is the way that it manages to find new things to say with the most overused of vocabulary, Zavoloka’s deployment of delay and reverb effects being particularly noteworthy. This is tense, sinewy music, not easy to digest at first, but well worth the effort.
By Keith Mouline

Vital

Zavoloka – Plavyna

Ukrains Nexsound label have been around for quite some time now, dividing their time and energy between releasing ‘real’ CDs and releasing MP3s. Katja Zavoloka hails from Kyiv in the Ukraine and has released a couple of MP3s albums and some CDRs, most notably for Zeromoon (see Vital Weekly 414). That was a bit too short to say anything about it, but here is her debut release on a CD, co-released with Austria’s Laton label. I’ve read that the “Plavyna” album is inspired by the folk music of her region, but it’s probably not entirely my unawareness that I didn’t recognize any of this in the vivid rhythmic yet abstract digital sound collages of Zavoloka until after the seventh track. Melodies arrive in there, here and there, but most of the time things are hectic and full of energy. Sometimes the use of reverb is a bit too tedious, but as a whole this is clicks ‘n cuts of the better kind. In ‘Kosytsia’ she reaches an almost technoid beat, with warpian senses. In the final pieces of the album, she starts chopping up the folk tunes, which she does rather nicely, but however this also breaks the album in two different things, which is a pity. However, the entire album is quite nice as a whole.
Fdw

Cracked

Zavoloka – Plavyna

With “plavyna” Katja Zavoloka has managed to put an interesting and admireable piece of work in the large empty space that exists between harsh noise and free form avant-garde, between glitches and minimal. Though most of the other projects I have heard, which attempted to do the same, turned out boring, but this CD is lively and full of humourous dynamics. Moreover, she introduces a few surprising elements and shows that there is still a lot of potential hidden.
Beautiful surprises await at the end of the road for those able to walk them out. Like almost something like a melody halfway through this record and an almost “folk” song at the end. But let’s take it one after another.

Zavoloka is actually Katja Zavoloka from Kiev, Ukraine, who has been around the mostly virtual world of mp3-posting on various places for some years now next to her occupation as a graphic designer[1]. More important, though, she has modelled her very own, unique universe of sounds, mainly bleeps and feeps with a little glitches here and there, held together by her more than unique feeling of structure and rhythm. Inspite of all the unexpected events, the unknown and strange surroundings and the sudden changes, the atmosphere of “plavyna” is warm, gentle and playful. Which is not at all bad for a “debut”. Since I don’t regard proper mp3-albums as inferior to regular CDs, I can’t really call this a debut as such. If anyone of you reading this wants to discuss the importance or ranking of music-storage formats with me, I’d politely decline and casually mention, that I’d rather talk about the music on them (especially when judging the global importance of electronic avant-garde music on an objective scale.)

The movements of the sounds to be found on “pavyna” reminds me of the dance of butterflies or the way the wind may swirl a piece of fluff over an empty place, with all its seemingly random yet hidden control of directions. The kind of stop and go in aesthetically motion that makes you wonder, if they are based on accident, on a set of rules, or on the random interplay of rules? So it is like the old postmodern mathematical science put into sound. Or is it just a special female touch that is invading noise-avantgarde? Songtitles translate as “little flower” or “painted berries” among others. If compared to Kotra’s “dissillient”, to choose an example from the same label, “plavyna” seems to be a walk in the park with a couple of little children. But only to people, who have never tended to small kids, an occupation most people would describe as “beautiful but exhausting”. Such a female influence would be very much welcome, though I don’t care if the actual, biological gender of an artist is male or female.

The music is mainly single notes and sounds, that fly across the aural scape in random movements. It takes Zavoloka into the middle of track five, “plavyna” to introduce something like a melody and to track six, “Kosytsia” to start something as a steady rhythm. Both dissolve into the rest of the sounds quite quickly or get osmotically sucked into a new dimension. The vocals in track seven, “Kolyskova”, come as a surprise. First there are some spheric noises and discordant bells, interferences and so on. Suddenly that lulling voice sets in, which sounds like an aged, old voice at first. So much that I started to doubt it was Zavoloka’s. It also sounds like a very old melody, maybe even a traditional song of some kind. The title of the track translates as “Lullaby”, so that spawns more suggestions toward old songs. The incorporation into her almost free form sound-scapes is to me one of the highlights of this record.

Now get this: the next track, “teche voda ledov” or “cold water flowing”, starts with pure and simple flute sounds as beautiful as might be found on any new age CD. Even the melody is soothing and simple, almost like that coffee advertisement on tv. The glitches and noises in the background soon destroy that impression, though they are in now way disharmonic or nerve-killing on the listener. The effect is startling nevertheless. The flutes are soon displaced by metallic sounding percussions that heat themselves into a desperate frenzy. Is it meant to be an up-to-date rework of the “Moldau”? With the flutes signifying the beautiful spring of the water and the metallic percussions the lead pipes of its industrialization? If so, why do the flutes return in the third part of the track? Maybe because Zavoloka is relaxing in a hot bath: The flute will return again later as well, so there is no need to inhibit your connotations and thoughts to any small confinement. There actually never is.

Gaz-eta

Zavoloka – Plavyna

Finally, we get to a very strangely enchanting record by Ukrainian experimental artist Katja Zavoloka. “Plavyna” [which translates as “Silt”] is an album as much of surprises as it is of utter shocks. Zavoloka takes the listeners on a journey into the land of high-pitched computer generated clicks and snips. Occasional tiny, soft beats are heard underneath the static soundscapes which she creates from scratch. Metallic glitterings and ear-crushing feedback-like fizzing overtake the ears. On “Kolyskova” [or “Lullaby”], her haunting vocals feed your soul, as much as filling your ears. Ultimately, “Plavyna” is a trip worth taking, only if to explore and feel the novelty of Zavoloka’s auditory world. Tom Sekowski

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