From the mysterious Ukranian label that brought us those amazing Moglass records comes this new comp, heady in concept, but equally heady in sonic experimentation. Psychogeography is explained in detail in the accompanying leaflet, but is a little too dense to explain here. The gist, as far as we can discern, is that psychogeography is a search for secret places, in cities, where madness and transgression result from areas of concentrated sociality. The pieces on this compilation, are the impressions of certain artists, of many of these places, real or imagined. A who’s who of minimalism, Francisco Lopez, Courtis (of Reynols), lNexsound label head Andrey Kiritchenko, the Moglass, Radian, Tom Carter, Martin Tetreault, Kim Cascone, Rosy Parlane and more. All utilising the sounds of, or crafting a sonic homage to rural New York state, Patagonia, Arentina, Zurich, France, the Ukraine, Croatia, Bullhead City Arizona, New Zealand and more. From slow subtle rumbling shimmer, to distorted, fractured melodies, to straight up field recordings, this is an amazing document of abstract minimalism.
v/a – Fourfold Symmetry
This album features 14 tracks with various combinations of Andreas Berthing, Kim Cascone, Audrey Kiritchenko, and Kotra remixing each other’s source material through digital means. Whatever the source material might have been is irrelavent, as the the end results on “Fourfold Symmetry” are a polite demonstration of the parameters of abstraction of the digital glitch, with a dedicated metholodogy that favors anonymity and anti-emotionality. For all of the rhetoric about the chance operations and coaxing of errors between the man / machine interface, this album is exactly what you’d expect: bristling collages of granular synthesis and digital feedback from Max / MSP patches toppling computerized droning fluctuations of sound.
the Moglass/Tom Carter & Vanessa Arn-Snake – Tongued / Swallow-Tailed
From the label that most notably brought us those two amazing releases from the Moglass, comes this latest missive from those mysterious Ukrainian drone / sound artists, this time sharing a little disc space with Americans Tom Carter (Charalambides) and Vanessa Arn (Primordial Undermind). Carter and Arn offer up two tracks totalling over 30 minutes, of lonely lap steel guitar, hovering atop drifting sheets of muted feedback, ghostly harmonic traces, and mournful melodies twisted and pulled apart into bits of sound, drifting dreamily through an ambient dronescape of whir and flutter. The Moglass give us three gorgeously creepy and haunting drones assembled from what sounds like bowed metals, reverberating into dark ripples of sound, minor key melodies melt into swirling pools of crystalline warble, flecked with strangely affected guitars, almost percussive, plucking out other alien melodies that give the whole thing an almost post rock vibe. As with everything on Nexsound, gorgeously packaged in a silkscreened cardboard sleeve with a little cardboard obi!
The Moglass – Telegraph poles are getting smaller and smaller as the distance grows
Second missive from this mysterious Ukrainian ensemble exploring the dark and cobwebby corners of free folk, shuffling rhythmic tribalism, space-y dronemusic, and splattery free rock ambience. A dreamy and expansive travelogue of endless soundscapes, glassy sheets of crystalline shimmer, warm and smooth, with melodies woven subtly throughout. Metallic glistenings, tinkling guitars and glitchy crunch struggle to disrupt the ambient dreaminess while occasional machine like rhythms chug tirelessly over atonal melodic clusters and urgently strummed angular guitar chords. Even though the band themselves describe their music as ‘personal folk music’, the actual sound is much closer to the drone music of AQ faves Jonathan Coleclough, Mirror or Organum, and occasionally the free ambient clatter of the Dead C or Skullflower. Really gorgeous stuff.
the Moglass – Kogda Vse Zveri Zhili Kak Dobrye Sosedi
For a land as huge as Russia, the amount of exceptional music that makes it half way round the world to Aquairus is proportionally very small, especially when compared to how much we get in from New Zealand and Finland. Thus, we were quite intrigued by the prospects of the Russian ensemble The Moglass who prefer to qualify their music as ‘personal folk’ — an anti-genre that is beyond the mutable definitions of post-rock, psychedelia, or space-rock. That said, The Moglass are not without precedents, as this trio (armed with guitars, bass, old Soviet synths, and tons of effects) realizes the pinnacles of Popul Vuh (particularly their Werner Herzog soundtracks) entirely through the haunted drones of guitar feedback. Periodically, they have included several radio transmissions all in Russian, so the exact meaning is unknown to us, but the urgency of some of those broadcasts speaks of traumatic events. These work very similar to Godspeed! You Black Emperor’s found sound interludes (e.g. “the car’s on fire, and there’s no driver at the wheel…”), but the mysteriousness due to the language barrier works to enhance the overall mood of the drone rather than compartmentalize it into leftist rhetoric. Although it’s a mere 30 minutes long, “Kogda Vse Zveri Zhili Kak Dobrye Sosedi” (which we learned from their website translates as When All the Animals Lived As Good Neighbours) is a remarkably strong album.
Courtis/Moglass/Kiritchenko – s/t
An awesome three way collaboration, five way label split, with each artist using mainly sounds contributed by one of the other artists. The three include Andrey Kiritchenko who runs the Nexsound label, Ukrainian abstract drone folk combo the Moglass and Anla Courtis formerly of the mighty Reynols! A strange combination but it definitely works, with each artist twisting and turning the sounds of the others into something completely their own. Kiritchenko uses sounds sourced from Anla Courtis, but also incorporates bandura, guitar, objects and field recordings. His first two tracks are thick glistening snarls of keening high end, ringing chimes, warm processed warble, grinding industrial whir, all coaxed gently from his super limited palette. His final track is our favorite, a super spare cavernous soundscape, constructed from swirling wind like whirls and muted white noise hiss. Over the top is a stumbling damaged, deconstructed guitar melody that scrapes and buzzes and rumbles. So good. The Moglass also use mostly Anla Courtis sounds, introducing guitars, synth and vocals. And as you might imagine, they manage to turn those disparate sounds into dark dronelike dreamscapes of slow oceanic swells, thick buzzing rumble, and an occasional blast of super strange circusy psychedelic freak out, a dizzying collision of scraping strings, creepy falsetto vocals, moans and chants and all sorts of falling apart melodies. Finally, Courtis gets the chance to return the favor, borrowing a little from both the Moglass and Kiritchenko. His first three tracks are assembled using ONLY sounds taken from the Moglass, the results vary, from murky shimmer, to glistening ambience, soft blissed out whir, to sparse skeletal industrial landscapes. The last two tracks again feature Courtis using only sounds borrowed from Kiritchenko, one ends up being a super pare abstract mechanical percussive shuffle, lots of creaks and clatter, sounding a bit like a rainforest, or some sort of giant shower, the final track is wash of fuzzy clang that sort of settles into a dense field of tightly woven chimes and tinkles, amidst a swirling sea of hiss and fuzz. An amazing concept that actually produces some incredibly beautiful results!
Andrey Kiritchenko – Stuffed With/Out
The Ukraine has an incredibly vibrant underground music scene. From the black metal side of the spectrum, Drudkh, Hate Forest, Nokturnal Mortum, Dub Buk, Astrofaes, Lucifugum all the way over to the abstract minimalist free noise side of things, most notably The Moglass, but also Andrey Kiritchenko, who runs the amazing Nexsound label, and also creates some beautiful music himself. Using guitars, field recordings and a bit of processing, Kiritchenko conjures up a fuzzy world of haunting reverberations, dense swarms of metallic buzzings, mysterious harmonica like wheezes, and a a swirling spacey ambience. You can’t help but hear Fennesz, Ambarchi, and other avant guitarscapers, as well as folks like Tim Hecker and Phillip Jeck, with all the fuzz soft focus murk and dreamlike abstraction. But there’s something very particular about Kiritchenko’s sound, it is always obviously a guitar. The steel strings are the centerpiece of each track, sometimes the buzzing strings get pulled apart into weird wisps of sound, other times it’s the background that skitters and loops, stretches out and gradually darkens, while the guitar continues to strum above the swirling morass. A gorgeous and modern, dark foresty folk, an otherworldly take on classic Appalachia. Fahey left to wander through some ancient Ukrainian forest, the results fed into a computer and allowed to spill out, a glitchy expanse of steel strings and skittery buzz, swirls of rich deep ambient flutter, while within little ripples of steel string shimmer slowly spread out, way in the distance bursts of malfunctioning digital melody race across the horizon like clouds in those time lapse nature films, while just underneath lies a soft and serene bed of lilting acoustic guitar and a world of glistening iridescence. Absolutely amazing packaging. The disc is visible through die cut circles, each one slightly bigger than the one before it, each panel of the brown card stock digipak adorned with dense tangles of abstract text and fuzzy indistinct animal shapes. So cool.