Nexsound – experimental, ambient, noise, improv record label

Review

Paris Transatlantic

v/a – Rural Psychogeography

If you’re looking for one compilation that truly samples the world of electronic music, and the world itself, from Arizona to Argentina, Nijmegen to New Zealand, look no further. Rural Psychogeography features a veritable Who’s Who of sound artists in a fabulously recorded and exquisitely sequenced selection of work that kicks off spectacularly with Geoff Dugan’s “No Trespassing”, an outstanding binaural recording of Lake Otsego in upstate New York (watch yo woofers when dem trucks start rolling by). Francisco Lopez provides yet another inscrutable reworking of field recordings, this time from Patagonia, and Alan Courtis, of Reynols fame, collages sounds of the wind recorded in the Atacama Desert at Antofagasta de la Sierra Catamarca. Judging by the thundering oppressive rumbles that result, neither place is particularly hospitable. Probably just as well we segue right into Jason Kahn’s “Kreis 5″, which if my Google sleuthing is to be trusted (I guess I could always ask Jason himself but snooping around is more fun) is an industrial estate in Zurich, Switzerland, where’s it’s clearly raining. Nexsound’s own Andrey Kiritchenko is up next, and from the sound of it, the label’s home base in Babal in Eastern Ukraine is a pretty wet place too.
Here the album begins to slip its moorings: Kiritchenko isn’t content to leave the field recordings alone, adding swirls of laptop and shards of improvised acoustic guitar (imagine CM von Hausswolf jamming with John Russell at a bus stop in the rain). In similar vein, back in Switzerland, Tomas Korber and Gunter Muller get busy eai-style on a recording of a crossroads in Beijing. Lunt, aka Gilles Deles, dedicates his “Double Strapontine” to Matabiau subway station in Toulouse – goodness knows how he used the recordings he made there, but the result is absolutely spellbinding. Back in the Ukraine, The Moglass have taken a trip to Koktebel, in the Crimea, and here my Googling took me straight to a Russian-only Website introducing the ex-Soviet Union’s most famous nudist beach (you think I’m making this up? Check out the photo.. seems to be the ideal place for cutting edge sound artists to hang out, if you ask me). Their magnificent and spacious track – for once not long enough! – is definitely one of the disc’s highlights. Quite what relation Radian’s “Unje” has to do with the island of Unije off the Dalmatian coast that gives the piece its name isn’t clear (nor is the reason for including the track, which had to be licensed specially from Thrill Jockey, where it first appeared on the Rec.Extern album), but Tom Carter and Vanessa Arn’s “Mojave” is a beautiful and evocative portrait of the Arizona desert. After the crackle and grit of Martin Tetreault’s “D’apres Gaycre #3″, dedicated to the valley of the same name in the Tarn department of Southern France and the album recorded there in situ by Jean Pallandre, Xavier Charles, Michel Doneda on the splendid environmental improv Ouie Dire label, Rosy Parlane’s “Nica” returns us to the antipodean poise of Huia (somewhere not far from Auckland, NZ, as far as I can make out). Meanwhile, back in Switzerland, Steinbruchel’s laptoppery is as meticulous and unfathomable as ever, as is Kim Cascone’s “DMZspace”, which is “taken from a Korean spam installation”, whatever that means. By the time we get through the Cascone to Kotra (aka Dmytro Fedorenko)’s “Lost River”, an agglomeration of oppressive piano samples, we seem to have left “geography” behind and moved firmly into the world of the “psycho”. There’s not much rural about it anymore either, especially the last track, a decidedly noisy performance by Kouhei and Freiband recorded at a festival in Nijmegen in The Netherlands. It certainly makes a change for compilation albums to go out with a bang – most of them are far too polite and play-safe – and with the feeling that we’ve really been on a journey; flip track one on again and you’ll realise how far we’ve travelled. The only mildly annoying thing about this collection is the accompanying liners, a rather pretentious (and frankly unnecessary) essay by Natalia Zagurskaya – though then again I’m instantly suspicious whenever I come across words like “schizoanalysis” and “mobile psycho-prosthesis” – who might instead have mentioned (though I guess she supposes we all know anyway) that the term “psychogeography” was first coined by Guy Debord to refer to the effects of the geographical environment on the emotions and behaviour of individuals. Speaking for myself – can’t get more individual than that – I think this is one of the most varied and thought-provoking compilations of recent times.
DW

Foxy Digitalis

v/a – Rural Psychogeography

To stare at the landscape, urban or natural, and witness the sort of tiny shiftsthat you’ll never notice unless you’re patient, and are willing to give things timeis one of the most mind-cleansing things I can think of. So maybe it doesn’t come asa big surprise that I really like the concept behind this Ukrainian compilation,aptly titled Rural Psychogeography. The keyword of the 16 internationalcontributions is psychogeography and every single one is built up to illustrate thespecific effects of a certain geographical location. If the sounds presented are anyindicators, there’s quite a few rainy days in these places. Most of the tracksexplore some of the bleakest landscapes ever illustrated with sounds but thatdoesn’t prevent pretty much all of them from being just as beautiful as they arestark. The album as a whole brings to mind a small island of narrow streets withhouses all painted in a similar grayish color. It’s a place where you continuouslywill have a difficult time finding your way but where you somehow are well aware of the outer margins.
You will never pass the limit of being seriously lost and instead you will be ableto focus on the ancient cobblestone walks and endlessly discovering newassociations between the already known and unknown locations. Ukrainian Moglasstakes the nightshift and their claustrophobic dronescapes and swelling detailedcluster of sound are sure to make you watch over your shoulder every second stepyou take. Austrian Radian’s electro-acoustic clusters offer a rhythmic meetingbetween the sunshine and the historical heritage of Unije, an island in the outerCroatian archipelago, but the real masterpiece of them all is Tom Carter andVanessa Arn’s “Mojave”. It’s a track that sounds a whole lot more open than any ofthe previous ones and I can’t help but imagining myself wandering the vast expansesof the desert. Other contributions range from digitized distortion,electro-acoustic minimalism, immersive drone constructions, metallic sonatas, mechanical screeches and superfluous ambientabstractions to microscopic sine drones. But what unites them all is the sheerinterest in exploring a particularly impressive view and painting aural imagesreminiscent, or at least inspired, by that specific vista. With that in min we’reserved glimpses of a lifetime of travels. Beyond what’s already been mentionedFrancisco Lopez, Rosy Parlane, Andrey Kiritchenko, Steinbruchel as well as ahandful of others portray some of the most impressive sights of Argentina, NewZealand, Ukraine, Switerland and much more. Recommended.
Mats Gustafsson

Loop

v/a – Rural Psychogeography

From the independent republic of Ukraine, situated in East Europe and that belonged until 1991 of the ex-USSR, comes this interesting experimental compilation released by Nexsound – under the direction of Andrey Kiritchenko – with artists from Germany, Argentina, Austria, Spain, United States, France, New Zealand, Russia and Ukraine. The concept of this compilation deal with the sounds obtained from different rural places, is as well as Geof Dugan presents field recordings with people walking, voices of children, a truck motor that approaches and soon it moves away recorded at the Otsego Lake, near New York, then the Spanish Francisco Lopez exposes a dynamics of average rank with noisy textures but that does not arrive at high ranks that he registered in the Argentine Patagonia. In as much the Argentinean (Alan) Courtis – ex-Reynols – showcase wind recordings from Antofagasta de la Sierra in the Argentine province of Catamarca. Jason Kahn uses field recordings and rain returns to be a common element. Andrey Kiritchenko improvised with an acoustic guitar, clicks and diverse noises inspired by Babal, located in the province of Kharkov, where Nexsound is based. Tomas Korber and the German Gunter Muller work on a noisy recording of Roland Hausheer that made in the Chinese capital Beijing. Lunt from Paris (interviewed on loop) provides with guitar improv and drones inspired on the Matabiau metro station in Toulouse. The Ukrainian trio The Moglass dedicates the track ‘Koktebel’ to a place with this name located in the mountainous peninsula of Crimea, Ukraine. The distorted and environmental guitars remember me of the devastating places that Third Eye Foundation’s music. From Austria, Radian produces static, granular decomposition and Tom Carter (Charalambides) and Vanessa Arn establishes a dialogue with guitars improvisation that suggests images of the desert of Mojave to which it is dedicated. The French Martin Tetreault combines crackles and noises and the New Zealander Rosy Parlane insist with long layers of tones that he slightly changes of frequencies. The sound artist (Ralph) Stenbruchel makes microscopic sounds via digital means, thus also makes the North American Kim Cascone on a dark atmosphere. The Ukrainian Dmytro Fedorenko, aka Kotra, is inspired by the Lybid river of the capital of the Ukraine, Kiev, for which mixes different piano samples to finish with an acute and deafening sound. Finally, a live and quite noisy performance of Kouhei & Freiband at the festival of ‘Gekeerde Wal’ from the Dutch city of Nijmegen, was edited by Franz de Waard, head of Staalplaat. More info. en nexsound.
Guillermo Escudero, May 2004

Rock Sound

v/a – Rural Psychogeography

If ordinariness is the stuff of life, then music is surely a medium for its transformation. Listening is, afterall, a study in itself, and when you listen in the right kind of way, noises become rumours, hints at the rhythms of life fleeting in and out of view. The study of the mundane, in all its fascinating complexity, is the starting point for ‘Rural Psychogeography’, a compilation Ukrainian in origin but international in authorship and appeal. This is music formed of wandering and reflection, composed of a variety of mechanical drones, clicks, and soundscapes interlaced with barely comprehensible cries, distant noises, the whirr of the motorcar, rhythms that call to and answer each other. Nothing here qualifies as a song in conventional parlance, but this hauntingly beautiful study of the real and the possible is all the better for it.
Alex Whitehead 9/10

Phosphor

v/a – Rural Psychogeography

Psychogeography is the study of precise laws and specific effects of thegeographical environment, whether consciously organised or not, on theemotions and behaviour of individuals.This Ukrainian compilation is a collection of field recordings fromvarious different rural areas have collected by 16 internationalcontributors and aim to highlight the specific effects that a particularlandscape and geographical location can have. Well known artists such asFrancisco Lopez, Rosy Parlane, Andrey Kiritchenko, Steinbruchel as well asa handful of others portray some of the most impressive sights ofArgentina, New Zealand, Ukraine, Switerland and much more.Perhaps this album portrays some of the true meaning of Musique concrete,taking sound from its original environment and putting in another context,i.e. onto a CD for us to listen to in a completely different space. Theclean, unprocessed recordings are largely unspoilt field recordings and tomy ears are some of the most interesting pieces of music I’ve heard. Oneis most impressed by the powerfulness of the sound of weather and all itsdiversity.There is a soothing atmosphere created on parts of this CD, the kind offeeling that you might remember getting while sitting on a balcony or atan open window listening to the rain lash down and knowing that there’snothing you can do but relax and enjoy thecalm silence of it while you wait for it to stop.Each track is roughly ended and the listener is brought into a new soundenvironment. Subtle differences and sounds creep into the landscapes andone is struck by the amount of rain that seems to be common to a lot ofthe tracks. For me the CD started off as an environmental exploit and Iwas surprised to discover that it deviated greatly from this as the CDprogressed. Each contributor brought something very new to the concept andsome tracks are completely processed and some even have an acousticinstrumentthrown in.One of the processed tracks, for example track 05 by Andrey Kiritchenko -babai, contains environmental recordings of somebody walking around mixedwith some guitar playing and complex electronic beats.The track by Tomas Korber/Gunter Muller is almost altered beyondrecognition from its original material. In fact there are quite a fewtracks that are hard to relate to their recordings and perhaps I’ve gotthe wrong end of the stick and they are not all processed field recordingsbut are just dedicated to a certain place.Either way, this album covers quite an enormous wealth of sound and musicand is incredibly diverse in it’s range and purpose. If you’re looking forinteresting and experimental variety this compilation comes highlyrecommended.

Skug Magazine

v/a – Rural Psychogeography

Andrey Kiritchenko, der mit seinem Nexsound Label die Ukraine auf die Landkarte der elektronischen Musik brachte, wendet auf vorliegender Compilation das Konzept der Psychogeographie, welches zumeist im urbanen Raum Betrachtung findet, musikalisch auf den landlichen Raum an. Die Psychogeographie, ein von Guy Debord geschaffener Begriff, ist die Erforschung der Gesetze und der genauen Wirkungen einer bewusst oder unbewusst gestalteten geographischen Umwelt, die einen direkten Einfluss auf das Gefuhlsverhalten ausubt. Auf vorliegendem Review geht es dabei vor allem um akustische Psychogeographie, Klangraume und deren Verbreitungszonen in der Umwelt. Wetter, Wind u.a. Naturgerausche treffen auf menschverursachte Kulturgerausche. Die Landstra?e als zentrales Motiv, als Forschungsgrundlage, auf der entlangwandelnd, den Horer 16 Stucke, bestehend aus weniger bis mehr verfremdeten Field Recordings, erwarten. Beigesteuert von Kunstlern wie Francisco Lopez, Kim Cascone, Steinbruchel, Radian und, neben einigen mehr, auch Kiritchenko selbst, wird in den Tracks dabei mehr das Zuhoren und Erfahren von Klangzonen verlangt, als dass versucht wird ein modernes Arcadia zu schaffen.

Twilight-Zone

v/a – Rural Psychogeography

“Rural Psychogeography” e una compilation alla quale vi partecipano artisti di varie nazionalita, si tratta di un interessante progetto di sonorita experimental-ambient. I suoni delle 16 tracce del CD ci conducono attraverso una deriva psycho-surreale che attraverso differenti strati empatici, descrivendo ambienti reali e immaginari (con i loro rumori e componenti varie) e riproducendo ricercati segnali extra-sensoriali. Sequenze cinematiche di percezioni subliminali, guidate da coinvolgenti trasmissioni e campionamenti, e disseminate su territori indefiniti ricchi di misteriose esperienze audio-visivi. Una ricognizione aurale lunga ed intensa, ideata per catturare le essenze nascoste in ogni minimale fotogramma del nostro inconscio. Tra le onde risonanti di Magwheels e le intuizioni mesmeriche di Wilt. Proiezioni scenografiche di atmosfere sfuggenti.

Jadeweb

v/a – Rural Psychogeography

Le label Nexsound est une structure ukrainienne qui affiche un certain attachement aux courants de pensees philosophiques contemporains comme base de sa creation artistique, a l’instar de Sub Rosa, pour n’en citer qu’un.La psychogeographie rurale est un theme developpe par le situationniste Guy Debord dans le courant des annees 50 ayant pour analyse le rapport intime et psychologique qui se cree entre un individu et l’espace, le lieu qu’il frequente ou traverse. Une expertise qui dresse ensuite un etat des lieux des affects et de la geographie intime de chaque individu. Chaque auditeur peut alors par un jeu d’enigmes se laisser porter par les experimentations sonores de chaque intervenant, et en deduire les experiences sensorielles, visualiser les lieux qui les ont suscites. Sur un pur plan musical, ce travail etreint les spheres des musiques ambiantes, atmospheriques, environnementales mais aussi quelques interventions a base de micro- evenements (Glitch, clik n’cut) liberant de ce fait une certaine poesie de l’ere (aire) digitale.Comptant une frange large de l’international des musiques independantes, on retrouve ici.Francisco Lopez, Korber/ Muller, Jason Kahn, Courtis, Lunt, Martin tetreault, Radian, Steinbruchel, Kim Cascone, entre autres.A noter que le label ukrainien met a dispositions un site de telechargement de productions au format MP3 d’artistes du cru. Une reflexion sensible sur l’espace et la territorialite simplement passionnante.

Aquarius

v/a – Rural Psychogeography

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.

Touching Extremes

v/a – Rural Psychogeography

This compilation is a perfect introduction to the Ukrainian label, its target being to present the cream of concrete/field recording-based artistry available today. One can instantly acknowledge the notable sound quality while enjoying long moments of food for the ears: from the wonderful binaural recordings by Geoff Dugan opening the CD, the listener just has to shuffle through the disc to seize priceless beauties such as Rosy Parlane’s “Nica” – pure rainbows of luscious high frequencies – or the subsequent masterpiece by Steinbruchel, “Distanz”. Sorting out names in such a context is not easy but something must also be told about the treated wind used by Anla Courtis – and I don’t want to forget what maybe is the most emotional moment of the whole set, namely The Moglass’ “Koktebel”: probably such a piece defines what lost souls feel while waiting for something that will never be revealed to them. Most of the musicians involved in “Rural psychogeography” are masters of their game, therefore this sampler’s level is one of the highest I’ve met in years: indeed, not an easy result to achieve.

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