Nexsound – experimental, ambient, noise, improv record label

Review

Luna Kafe

Andrey Kiritchenko – Chrysalis (Luna Kafe)

Nexsound founder and experimental electronic/electro acoustic wizard Andrey Kiritchenko has launched another record. Chrysalis is one of many (more than 40 releases!) records he’s been involved with over the years; solo-stuff or in collaboration with other artists (Francisco Lopez, Sara Lunden, Kim Cascone, Martin Brandlmayr, Anla Courtis, Jason Kahn and others). On his own label, or for labels like Staalplaat, SPEKK, Ad Noiseam, Bip-Hop, Neo Ouija, and more. Chrysalis holds 6 tracks, and is surprisingly accessible. It’s from the experimental paths, of course, but the songs aren’t of the abstract kind. Some of the songs are like chilled, jazzy, laid-back lounge-post-rock, and his band of players – Artem Amstibovskiy on clarinet, Gendel Krechkovskiy on double bass, and Natalia Dudynska on violin – are really skilled. I especially like the playful opener “Vortex Singular”, “Momentum Derive” and “Quasi Religious”, not to forget the very fine “Fly Above Where Leaves Do Not”. Neat stuff!

Andrey Kiritchenko is a major player in the Ukrainian electronic music scene. He’s acclaimed and awarded (awarded by Qwartz Electronic Music Awards, and he was a participant at the Ukrainian exhibition at the 52th Venice Biennale). Chrysalis is steady proof of his position.

Luna Kafe

v4w.enko and sanmi – Y:E:T

Another release from the interesting Ukrainian label Nexsound, this time a Japanese-Ukrainian collaboration. Highly experimental stuff, presenting a project where sound meets vision and interweaves. This is all about textures, structures, multilayers.

Ukraina based V4w.enko (a.k.a. Evgen Vaschenko) meets Japan based Sanmi (a.k.a. Kyo Yanagi). Most of Y:E:T‘s seven cryptically entitled (from 1-7: “K4-j6 toT7″, “Ummd_line6″, “R-d4″, “Bvc2c”, “Nod5″, “T_mx2″, and 7. “Lcgf”) tracks are slow streams of electronic twists and turns. Sometimes with a slow beat, except for “Bvc2c”, which has got a more upbeat drive. Most tracks are also quite abstract and freely floating compositions. Like they describe their project: Y:E:T is the next point of researches in generative sounds with a sensual approach to compose generated lines in the complete collages…” Right. Included are ever-expanding soundscapes from the electronic art palette. “T_mx2″ is like a digital soundtrack to some vibrant, yet silent (think ‘a bit eerie’) nightlife, with crickets chirping. The closing track, “Lcgf”, is the one being the key track, at least to my pair of ears. It’s also a more tonal piece of composition, with a tender and quiet piano holding the thread. Vaschenko part of the project is about sound and vision, where “..live electronics, sound and video stream are being realised in real-time by manipulating of self-programmed algorithms..”. Kyo Yanagi has been adding some ‘sensual touch’ with “..high tuned layers to the generated lines of sound structures..”. All this resulting in, according to V4w.enko and Sanmi a “”..multilayered form which is allowed to bring spontaneous events into a new level of the synergy of the live forms and some constant rules.”

Y:E:T is a good soundtrack to a lazy Sunday morning if you’re in the mood for some loose-fit, abstract art shaped as sound.

Copyright © 2012 Håvard Oppøyen

Luna Kafe

Alla Zagaykevych & Electroacoustic’s Ensemble – Nord/Ouest

This is strange brew indeed. Nord/Ouest (which means North-East in English, I guess) is electro acoustic performance for folklore voices, violin, flute, percussion and electronics. Including Theremin. Ukrainian composer Alla Zagaykevych’s (b. 1966) works range widely across genres, from symphonic, via instrumental and vocal chamber music, to electro-acoustic compositions, then multi-media installations and performances, as well as chamber opera and music for films. Nord/Ouest holds three tracks, or rather movements, of which all three takes stomach and time to sit through. You’d better put in a break in-between the three parts.

Nord/Ouest was created/composed in 2009, recorded in one day (June 12th) 2010, and released last year. Alla Zagaykevych is of course head of all compositions (even though parts are clearly more results of improvisation than others, while other parts have borrowed from the traditional folk music), as well as being in charge of programming, doing live electronics, vocals and Theremin. Iryna Klymenko adds vocals, Sergiy Okhrimchuk plays violin and sings and Vadim Jovich plays percussion. I sense that I’m not among the perfect/typical audience for this type of music. I feel that most parts of the music and the folkloristic content goes way above my head. Yet, this is interesting music for ears and head, as the ensemble lays an emphasis on “…primitive mystery and ‘elusiveness’ of the folklore of North-Western region of the Ukraine…”

You don’t get exposed to music like this every day. Fair enough, but sometimes I guess it’s healthy to face something completely different. To expand your mind, to broaden your horizon.

Copyright © 2012 Håvard Oppøyen

Luna Kafe

The Moglass – Telegraph poles are getting smaller and smaller as the distance grows

How to describe the music of Moglass? Well, it’s a mixture of glitch electronica and acoustic instruments, mostly guitar and bass, surprisingly often played without much effects. Leaving room for layers of fresh sounding and melodic drones, which they themselves names “personal-folk”. One of the elements who contributes to the freshness of the sound is their love for analogue synths, it’s amazing what they makes these old boards do. As the title suggests the overall themes here are to do with space, travel and transformation. They makes each song a journey and forces you to see things anew. It’s like they describe the very land itself, the vastness and the changes. I’m impressed! I can’t name any favorites from this disc, as the song titles are in Russian, but they’re all good. If this is the quality Moglass stands fore, I’ll have to check out the earlier CD and their split 3 inch CD with Nihil Est Excellence. Both on NexSound.

Luna Kafe

Saralunden.Björkås.Mjös – Dubious

Dubious is the collaboration of Swedish indie-pop musician Sara Lunden and Norwegians Kyrre Björkås (of Det är jag som är döden) and Andreas Mjøs (of Jaga Jazzist). Saralunden (vocals, glass, synthesizers, piano, organ, recorder), Björkås (vocals, bass, violin, guitar, drums, synthesizers) and Mjös (vibraphone, guitar, drums, omnichord, violin, programming, production) have come up with an exciting mini album.

Dubi-dubious (as the title track opens vocally) is a nice collection of minimalist electronica pop. Low-toned and a bit introvert and cold. Yet in some way including and warm. Lundén’s semi-fragile voice is a good match with Björkås’ darker toned vocals. Lee and Nancy, or Nick and Kylie (or, rather, Polly Jean)? Well…of their genre maybe, but then… not really. Björkås has written 2 of the tracks, Lundén the last three. The quintet of songs make a nice handful, and quite an okay 16 minutes of pleasant company. I think I prefer Lundén’s songs the better. “You Can Come” and “Naked In My Bed”, but especially the most quiet track, “The Sound It Makes”. The closing “Murder” (by Björkås) is sort of a spooky murder ballad.

These 5 songs were recorded at Saralunden’s place in Stockholm during a couple of weeks back in 2004. There’s nothing wrong with spending time together for a follow up.

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Luna Kafe

Saralunden + Andrey Kiritchenko – There was no end

Sara Lunden and Andrey Kiritchenko toured togehter in the Ukraine and made this remarkable little album. The results are electronica bent into beguiling and illustrious shapes.

“Oh so Blue” sees the pitter-patter of Kiritchenko’s sounds meeting Lunden’s vocals and synths. “Don’t you remember” is a tranquil walk through morning dreams. Lunden guides us through it ever so gently even while the song starts to squeak eerily. “Erotic Dreams” sees the pair carefully build a rousing but also perplexing mood. Lunden’s vocals discreetly hide amid the instrumentation, revealing less than one might assume by the title. But that’s intriguing.

This album is over in way to short a time. Its essence lingers long.

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Luna Kafe

Ojra & Kiritchenko – A Tangle Of Mokosha

As I’ve said before, it’s always fun and exciting to receive packages from Nexsound, Ukraine. It’s been some time since last time, but all of a sudden a new disc pops into our mail box. This time a collaboration between Nexsound founder Andrey Kiritchenko and Ojra, a 4-piece Ukrainian folk band.

A Tangle of Mokosha is, as described on their myspace-site, ‘authentic Ukrainian folk and electronics’, which is quite an accurate description. Experimental electronics wiz Kiritchenko (on electronics, field recordings, mouth harp/harmonica, percussion) and Ojra (Halyna Breslavets on vocals, Natalka Dudynska on violin, Petro Yuha on solilka and hulusi, and Yurko Yefremov on bass, dulcimer, drymba) met in 2007 and decided for a folk/electronic collaboration project. The result is A Tangle of Mokosha, which is a rather exotic and different record. The only Ukrainian related folk music I’m familiar with from earlier on is The Wedding Present’s Ukrainski sessions, and former TWP-guitarist Peter Solowka’s band Ukrainians. I guess this is quite some other cup of tea. The songs included on A Tangle of Mokosha are authentic (mostly eastern) Ukrainian folk songs both of pagan and Christian origin.

The balance of the songs tip two ways. Sometimes in the more folksy way, other times in the more electronic way. I guess the pendulum swings freely between Orja and Kiritchenko. Between the two styles, poles, of music. The vocal style on this album is quite different than I’m (we’re, in Western Europe) used to listen to. It’s challenging, but challenging in the right way. They claim their main influences to be (as mentioned) authentic folk music of the Ukraine, cutting-edge electronic music, plus the 1964 movie Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors (directed by Sergei Parajanov).

A Tangle of Mokosha is a fascinating listen, even though I doubt I’ll play this record to pieces.

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Luna Kafe

Nole Plastique – Escaperhead

Nole Plastique is by now the Russian duo of Roman Kutnov and Aleksei Belousov from Kazan. This is the band’s second album, though the first one was only released on the net. This second one is housed in a nice grey and golden cardboars sleeve. ‘Escaperhead is a collection of strange songs and tunes with the flavour of 60ies psychedelia, acid trips, lo-fi electronics, experimental sound design, improv-rock and other “sounds of the outer space” stuff in it. Too much may be, but that’s the way we see the world sometimes…’ says the press sheet of this release. That sounds like a too strange and untasteful soup, I thought, before I put the album on for the first time. After a few spins I had to admit it was quite an accurate description and, after all, the music was quite tasteful.

Here are flavours of the psychedelic 1960s with outer space excursions. Here are keyboards, electronics, vocals and guitars going forwards, backwards, upside and down. Here are vocals not dissimilar to the one of the late Syd Barrett and Peter Perrett of the Only Ones (that reunited last year!). With a couple of exceptions the album lacks the strong melodic sense of the best songs from that distant decade. This is compensated by a strong experimental side of strange sounding instruments, effects and sound collages. The lo-fi leanings are also present with somewhat careless production, ditto instrumental handling and deliberate distortions here and there. Which add to the experimental side.

The tracks that combine melodic elements with a strong experimental bias are particularly successful, like “Sunset Stipple” and “Wavy Red” that originally might have started as simple songs in the Barrett’s solo era vein and then shaken into different beasts by strange sounding drums, twisted guitars etc. Or what about the instumental “In Case You Fell In”, a collage of highly original sounds with some sweet and simple melody lines in between?

If you’re seeking something fresh and original stuff far from well trodden musical paths, Escaperhead is not a bad place to start, not bad at all. Further information at the Nexsound home page and Nole Plastique’s Myspace page.

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Luna Kafe

Critikal – Graphorrhea

The four piece Critikal is an international gathering of sound artists, counting Andrey Kiritchenko, Jeff Surak, Dmytro Fedorenko (Kotra) and Tobias Åström (Militant Fields). For each new project one of the members are responsible transforming all the contributed material. This time the sound conductor is Dmytro Fedorenko. Graphorrhea is the extreme expression of quite challenging rhythms and a cacophony of sound. Sheer noise terror, if you say so, and quite a demanding listen. Some of the parts remind me of the more far out stuff by Andrej Nebb’s Holy Toy back in the day. And there’s even a thread somewhere inside. Others are just….unlistenable. Graphorrhea is 13 tracks at nearly 40 minutes. I dare you.

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Luna Kafe

Bluermutt – Decivilize after consumption

It’s always exciting to receive discs from the elegant and eclectic Nexsound label. Striking design and cover art, neat digipaks, and with a content always stretching out to be – if not always succeeding they’re at least doing quite well trying – innovative and forward stuff.

Bluermutt popped up out of our P.O. box and a joyful spectacle it is. Decivilize after consumption is an explosive and playful collection of songs. Bubbling, bursting hypnobeats, fine samples of voices & sounds and cool cut’n’paste techniques, colourful collages with humour and wit: Bluermutt describes his (their) music as “scrambled humans singing and dancing”. He also says about himself: “…is 25 but looks like 13, maybe 15 with beard.” And: “…doesn’t make art, just assembles sounds together till he’s satisfied.” A laugh and serious business.

Bluermutt (I don’t know his name, he’s also one half of Mickey Eats Plastic) lives in Barcelona, Spain, and seems to be a European traveller. In fact the whole Bluermutt project looks like a worldwide project including: Lucz (Roma, Italy – the other half of Mickey Eats Plastic), Fredo Viola (New York, NY), Steph Thirion (Barcelona, Spain), Dorian Concept (Vienna, Austria) and Nils Christian Fossdal (Norway). Some of Bluermutt’s listed sources of inspiration are: Matmos, Neptunes, Busta Rhymes, Fugees, Justine Timberlake, Radiohead, Karate, Basement Jaxx, Timbaland, Mouse on Mars, Mos def. Quite a mix, with some being more obvious than others. Bluermutt had success with his first record, When I’m Not. I’d better check it out. Until then I’ll have plenty of entertaining moments with Decivilize after consumption. It somehow makes me think of a wilder Cornelius, and also the French surprise a couple of years back in time, Cagesan.

Finally, just to underline the humour included yet again, Bluermutt’s got some cool and fascinating song titles – often a story on their own: “Welcome to a Bluer Blue Sky”, “Old School Lesbians vs. the 21st Century”, “Fuckin’ Jimmy from here”, “Metallic Concepts for D and M”, “The Diapason’s Uncertainties”. Get it? This is ‘city music': it should be coming out of your headset while going by bus, by tram or the tube. Dig in and dig!

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