These guys were one of the ‘out of nowheres’ for last ish, coming straight outta the Ukraine with a disc that seemed like it was going to be standard drony improvised space-rock, and in fact even sounded like it was, but somehow just sort of refused to be. I called it “space-ug” and it was indeed this lost creepy kind of vibe that almost reminded me of the Conet Project. Here’s a followup that actually is a little less creepy, and maybe even slightly new-agey, but once again I just don’t mind. The Moglass just know what they’re doing. This one, along with the RH Band LP on HP Cycle, get the “Tangerine Dream” award for the issue.
the Moglass – Kogda Vse Zveri Zhili Kak Dobrye Sosedi
I don’t always get to hear space-ug music from Ukraine, so it was nice to get this CD in the overseas mail. Frankly, it took me quite awhile to put it on, because I thought it was going to be more music that was ‘experimental’ or ‘improv’…or both! (It’s usually both.) Well, I guess it is, but trust me, I was just listening to WNUR’s ‘expansion experiment’ (puh-leeeeese) radio show, where they trot out all the Gunters and Radiques from the ‘things that go bump in the night’ school of ‘experimental electro-acoustic composers, ‘ and this just sounds a whole lost better. Oops, I meant a whole lot better, but it sounds pretty lost too: spacey and foggy, with that same combination of very heavy and yet almost perfectly still that bands like Taj Mahal Travellers and Bardo Pond have figured out. I’ll say it again, it’s an achievement of heaviness through stillness, with none of the frantic ‘rising’ and ‘falling’ techniques to which improv music usually must adhere when it needs to get heavy. Please play this at home as the soundtrack to science fiction movies with the TV volume off. NOW. (Comes in an indie-psychedelic cardboard sleeve. Cool to open but I gave up on trying to fold it back closed because it felt too much like doing a puzzle.)
Nole Plastique – Escaperhead
Pleasant, dreamy, and sometimes verging on great soft-avant psychedelic pop album by a duo from Russia. This may be a bit of a departure for the Ukraine-based Nexsound label, as they have mostly dealt with longer-form sprawled-out drone/space improvised styles (such as that of the label’s excellent flagship band The Moglass), but it makes sense too because there’s plenty of ambient near-noise humming around these songs. Even though the album kinda dissipates for me as a through-listen, the first two tracks (“Escaping” and “In Things Around”) are so good — classic paisley vocal melodies and bubbling sun-dappled electronics bouncing around a disorienting mix with a cold Faust Tapes machine edge — that this album has been threatening to make my Best of the Year list on their strength alone. Comes in a nice fold-out wallet-thing too.