Nexsound – experimental, ambient, noise, improv record label


Sonic Arts Network

v/a – Fourfold Symmetry

Fourfold Symmetry presents us with a simple idea – four artists supplying source sounds to each other and then composing pieces. Little is explained about whether these source sounds are organic or computer derived or indeed how each artist set about working with them. For this reason it is difficult to judge what transformations have taken place and how original or well used any of the sounds are. One also gets the feeling that this is an opportunity missed and the feeling that comes across is that the artists just loaded up the source sounds into their computers and did what they usually did.
First up we have two tracks from KIM CASCONE. Using obvious processed noise and the dreary after effects of granulation, time stretching and spectral filtering Cascone creates a fairly ineffective couple of pieces. No attempt is made to engage with the spatial depth of sound and so apart from a few arbitrary auto-panning sounds, the pieces end up appearing quite flat. This may be intentional, but it sounds ill considered. Generally both compositions fail to evoke anything other than the sound of computers making sound. The pieces lack subtly, over use the cross fade as a transitional method and seem to be missing any propulsive elements. They also fail to recognise the importance of silence, space and gesture.
‘Misplaced’ by ANDREY KIRITCHENKO succeeds with simplicity and layering to create a slow crescendo. As before all the sounds are static, non dynamic and expressionless, but in this instance the blandness and flatness of the ingredients is useful in gradually heaping them on top of each other to create a charged engaging space.
The next eight tracks by KOTRA introduce a more obvious metre using fast gated repetition, loops and short percussive gestures. The sounds used are much purer in tone and have none of that overstuffed feel that makes it difficult to move from one sound to another. With this limited palette KOTRA goes a lot further in exploring the sources and composing with them. The only problem seems to be in the sonics – the harsh clipped tones of the foreground need to be calmer in both volume and equalisation. They appear sped up or have had their sampling rates reduced to create an effective harshness of texture, but they at times overwhelm the background drone sounds.
ANDREAS BERTHLING’s only track ‘First Out’ [though he contributes source sounds to two other tracks] is quite similar to KOTRA’s piece. Short harsh sounds are looped into a one bar repetition at around 120BPM. Over this percussive sounds skate and skid around in stereo using modulated bouncing ball algorithms to simulate acceleration and deceleration in both space and sound. An interesting idea, but to repeat this loop all the way through [around 130 times] is unacceptable and just plain lazy.
ANDREY KIRITCHENKO’s two tracks finish the album with clear tones and low chord like drones, creating a soft atmosphere. Unfortunately the electronic birdlike sounds, though well realised, create an atmosphere that is more suited to a flotation tank ambience than interesting composition. And once this soft atmosphere fades away all that is left is the sound of effects, not the sound of composition. The problem lies in no keeping hold of the beauty, a feat that is achieved in the last track ‘three figures’ where a simple idea is held.
Overall a well packaged and thoughtful compilation demonstrating the various methods of sound manipulation. Unfortunately the fact that much of the sound here has no dynamic expression means that compositions become demonstrations of valueless computer pyrotechnics, rather than considered explorations in sound. A lot of the work in the album has failed to realise that sound creation is nothing without composition. And composition is a skill which there has yet to be a plug-in invented for. Unless composers work on their methods of transitions and expression, listeners will be forever trapped in listening to one fairly interesting sound cross fade into another fairly interesting sound. With the limitless possibilities of computers, this is simply not good enough.
Reviewed by Mark Mclaren

Tj Norris

v/a – Fourfold Symmetry

This is the place where collaboration starts. By way of mail exchange (e or snail) these four distinguished electronic creatives have reworked each others sounds for a final recording consisting of 14 tracks. What ensues is a very calculated game of audio roulette. Ukranian label Nexsound features innovative electronics of the sparse, post-digital variety specializing in what can possibly still be termed as microsound. ‘Fourfold Symmetry’ glides passionately through a myriad of filters and glitch. The composers free spirit builds on each others barren structures creating a multidimensional perspective of sound space, there is a mysterious, almost surveillance-like character overall. Crunchy noise tingles in the prismatic allure of ‘Glass Legs’. Like a search for intelligent lifeforms, ‘Misplaced’ tends to crawl and burrow. Its sensors are enacted, its breath stunted and forced. The raw noise-making is a pretext for impulses heard in the remainder of the disc. This is clearly presented in ‘7-5-2’ where the statics contort and the volume is a bit erratic. This sudden shift pokes fun at its own structure, playfully nudging the listener. This atonal creation has a life of its own, seems to grow right before our ears, in a shifting inorganic way. This combination is infused with haunting drone and manipulated digitization via knobs and wires. The textures and full 3-D sound – almost touchable is predominant here. There are a few moments where I imagine cleaning my turntable’s needle, almost as if it were a fetish, most obvious on ‘Rale’. This is electro pyrotechnics, an experiment within an experiment. Caustic as it may be, ‘Zir-ka’ is like a tentative bobbling ride on the surface of a vinyl rock record that has a certain repetitive rhythm and an attract/repulse quality. Sounds get a bit more watery and luminous on ‘QTS’ but only surface in the last 30 seconds of the track. This is a sincere dadaist styled approach at making music that carries the weight of trust in the final mix. ‘Fourfold Symmetry’ has some rough curves and takes chances, though it is not as immediately pleasing to the ear as one of these composers’ individual efforts. The final three tracks are tonally strongest, with ‘Three Figures’ as the best cut, so sit this one out. (TJN)


v/a – Fourfold Symmetry

Let the good times roll. A project like this finds it’s origins in ‘Distruct’ by P16.D4. Various bands mailed their sound material to P16.D4 who built a new piece of music from those sounds, by combining the various inputs. ‘Distant Structures’ it was called. A project that took some time to realize, since everything was done on cassette tapes and reel to reel tapes send back and forth. How unlike today, when you put your sounds on an IP server and someone else downloads it and uploads his results in a matter of seconds. The number of exchange levels increase by factor uncountable. So ‘Fourfold Symmetry’ is one such meeting of two Russian guys Andrey Kiritchenko (who runs the label who released this) and Kotra (aka Dmytro Fedrorenko) and Norway’s Andreas Berthling and the grandfather of microsound Kim Cascone (who seems to having a lot of fun doing projects like this). These four people exchange their digital sound files through the net, and from probably the smallest sources they re-create their own new works. I am wondering however about the result, which is not a bad one, but maybe also a bit faceless. Everything hisses and scratches and the Max/Msp software works well for everybody. No matter what the input is, the output sounds the same altogether, even when this set has fourteen tracks, which may sound all a bit different. Cascone’s pieces may be more along the lines of ambient and Kotra more along the lines of rhythm and loops, but in the end it’s all digitalia. With a project like ‘Distruct’ one had the oppurtunity to recognize the various bands’ inputs (ah that’s the Nurse With Wound bit), which is entirely gone here. That is a bit of a pity. Otherwise it’s just a nice CD that goes down well with the current microsounders. (FdW)


v/a – Fourfold Symmetry

Die vier Tauschen Sourcen und lassen die Laptops ubernehmen. Sehr weitraumig virtuelle Hightechtracks kommen bei sowas gerne raus, und irgendwie durfte es keinen Verwundern wenn ich gelegentlich bei soetwas ein wenig sprachlos erscheine. Es brutzels, es krabbelt, die generativen kommen, die Welt spuckt die Geheimnisse ihrer medialen Eingeweide aus, und es ist ein Gluck dass die Track dabei nicht einmal auf ein altes industrielles Pathos zuruckfallen, sondern immer diese fein geschliffene Asthetische Art haben die pure Materie manchmal so hinterlasst. Differenziert bis hinter die Grenze des horbaren aber dennoch nicht zu fassen. Fein. Sehr akademisch, klar, oberflachlich betrachtet, aber eben auch sehr intensiv und offen. Wer einen bestandigen Groove braucht, Melodie oder sonstwelche Hinterlassenschaften ist allerdings hier ganz falsch.

recycle your ears

v/a – Fourfold Symmetry

I still remember clearly when, a couple of years ago, I started listening to some obscure tapes from an ukrainian label called Nexsound, which were following by a few CDRs released on other labels of works by Nihil Est Excellence, the ambient project behind which hid Andrey Kiritchenko, founder of Nexsound, radio and video DJ, and experimentalist extraordinaire. And since I have several times written that somebody, sometime, had to finally recognize this artist’s talent, it seems that he has been able to take his Nexsound label to yet a new, bigger step. Past the “Polivox Populi” compilation, a snapshot of Ukraine’s bubbling drone, ambient and noise musicians, here comes “Fourfold Symmetry”, the most ambitiout project of this label to date, and hopefully one that will bring the spotlight even closer.

“Fourfold symmetry”, a (professional) CD packaged in a beautifully folded cardboard sleeve, presents 14 co-authored tracks gathering the famous Kim Cascone (Mille Plateaux / Ritornell, music-editor for David Lynch’s “Wild at Heart” and “Twin Peaks”), the almost famous Andreas Berthling (Mitek, Staalplaat) and the not famous yet Andrey Kiritchenko (Mr. Nexsound and Nihil Est Excellence) and Kotra (another Nexsound artist from Ukraine). One after another, they have proposed sound sources to each other, and built tracks from what they had gathered from the other three.

Things crackle, crack, slide and pop on this CD. From minimalistic glitches to short feedback, to analog overdrive to microscopic piece of waveforms, these four musicians are not here to break any album sales records here, but rather to show how diverse and yet interesting experimentations with noises and glitches can be. Utterly abstract, looped or improvised, often scraping, sometimes melodic, always laid back, the music that lies here for us to listen to is definitely a mechanic thing, dry and dynamic. No overdub, no reverb and no rolling basses are to be found in this assemblage of high pitched machine sounds, and are replaced by a very good sound production and a recording that allows the listener to focus on the dynamic and clicky aspect. The tracks are well articulated together and the whole disc carries quite a coherent feeling, but one can still distinguish some slight differences according to the origin of the sound sources, Kotra being noisier, and Andrey Kiritchenko a bit gentler, for example.

“Fourfold symmetry” is not something you are going to sing under the shower, and not something that will make you move your feet in rhythms. But it constitutes a very well done sonic installation, for more interesting and solid in its composition that most material it could be compared to. Fans of Mitek, Bip Hop, Ritornell or Mille Plateaux, or experimentation friendly ears, here is something that you have to get.


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.


v/a – Fourfold Symmetry

This is release between kim cascone, andrey kiritchenko, andreas bethling and kotra. And despite it is release between four artists it is not simple split release but something more creative. It is like back to back release in composing. Every artist supplies source of sounds that other artist use it for composing the tracks. So, when kiritchenko supplies source sounds cascone composes the track, when cascone supplies source sounds kiritchenko composes. Sources are from kotra, track is from berthling, sources are from berthling, track is from kotra… etc… in every possible combination. Sound of this fourfold symmetry is quiet symmetric. It is microsoundish, sinewaveish combination with micronoisy parts, microglitchy texturised, a combination that this artists are usually combining in their real projects. Really pleasant and calm sound. Of course kim cascone is more microsound oriented as like on his releases for mille plateaux and kotra more noisy like on nexound releases. Kiritchenko is maybe a little bit different as u know him from his latest autoplate release, but from other side berthling sounds like his mitek side. Of course everything is symmetric and equal here so there is no need to be concerned about the sound. Everything perfectly fits into contemporary idea of experimental music.


v/a – Fourfold Symmetry

Musik und Mathematik. Klangraum und Raumklang. Wer Mille Plateaux und Force Inc zu seinen Heiligtumern zahlt, kommt bei Fourfold Symmetry voll und ganz auf seine Kosten. Jede Menge rhythmisch geordnete Clicks & Cuts loten die Frequenzbereiche der heimischen Stereoanlage aus. Frank Bretschneider oder Vladislav Delay haben mit Fourfold Symmetry eine horfeste und konstruktive Konkurrenz. Music for the brain, die allerdings auch eine faszinierende Untermalung fur das private Kopfkino sein kann.
– Frank Ilschner –