Nexsound – experimental, ambient, noise, improv record label

Review

Neural

v/a – Rural Psychogeography

Solo sbrogliando delicatamente un nodo da una davvero artigianale cordicella ucraina (tale la nazionalita d’origine di questa raffinata compilation) e dopo aver estratto il cd dall’artwork cartonato di stampo neo-rustico, finalmente e possibile attingere ai suoni dilatati ed ambientali selezionati per noi dalla Nexsound. Artisti differenti per ognuna delle sedici incisioni, provenienti da ogni dove, con in evidenza Kim Cascone, Geoff Dugan, Francisco Lopez, ben affiancati da The Moglass, Radian, Tom Carter, Andrey Kiritchenko, Steinbruchel, Rosy Parlane, tutti meritevoli, calibratissimi nell’affrontare le suggestioni di una ‘resistenza attraverso la fuga’, plaudendo per voce di Natalia Zagurskaya nelle dotte note (stampate su un pieghevole trasparente) ad uno stile etico, rurale, marginale e rizomatico. Derive psicogeografiche che abbandonando il tradizionale campo dell’investigazione urbana, si adagiano comode fra le frequenze degli spazi aperti, campi d’esperienza dove (forse) ancora albergano semplicita, naturalezza, suoni puri e pulsioni non corrotte. Paesaggi sonori dalle sfumature articolate, segnati da click, tenui trasalimenti e micro-emergenze, in una gamma di registrazioni che ai fruscii della natura sovrappone i rumori piu meccanici di un aereo o di un’automobile di passaggio. Sospensioni di tempo e spazio che ci riportano ad alcune intuizioni della ‘musica concreta’ innestate su matrici e decostruzioni maggiormente contemporanee.
Aurelio Cianciotta

Vital

v/a – Rural Psychogeography

Psychogeography (the term was coined by the situationist poetGuy Debord around 1950) is the study of the precise laws andspecific effects of the geographical environment, whetherconsciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior ofindividuals. This compilation attempts to explore this concept,by presenting the listener a series of changing sonicenvironments. Field recordings would seem to be the obviousapproach to such a concept, but only the first track on this cdis composed purely of such recordings. Geoff Dugan offersbinaural recordings made near a lake in New York state. Thefirst half of the cd flows seamlessly together, and quite oftenI felt that I was listening to one long track. Its as if we havean audio version of the old Surrealist game, where on personstarts a drawing on a sheet of paper and then covers it leavingonly the edges of the drawing visible so that the next personwould continue the drawing using the visible parts as a startingpoint. No doubt this is the result of the skillful track programmingby the editor of this compilation. Artists like Francisco Lopez,Courtis (of Reynols), Jason Kahn, Andrey Kiritchenko, TomasKorber / Gunter Muller, Lunt, the Moglass, Radian, Tom Carter(of Charalambidies) & Vanessa Arn, Martin Tetreault, RosyParlane, Steinbruchel, Kim Cascone, Kotra also appear on the cd.The contribution from Kiritchenko mixes outdoor sounds withspastic acoustic guitar coupled with digital noise. The peak ofthis cd is the track by the Moglass entitled “Koktebel” an outerbody drone which levitates above your ears which would easilyput to shame any post rock or digital shoegazer punter. Thesecond half of the cd doesn’t maintain the cohesiveness of thefirst 8 tracks. Yet none of the tracks are slackers, but takenas a whole they create a work stronger than its individualparts. The CD ends with a collaboration by Kouhel & Freiband, asurprisingly noisy track, something which I would not ex pect from a Freiband work. Nothing better than going out in ablaze of glorious noise. (JS)

Ink19

v/a – Rural Psychogeography

Typically, when you put a CD in the player and press play you hear some sort of music:or crap doubling as music. When I pressed play and started listening to the first track, “No Trespassing” by Geoff Dugan, my first reaction was “What the hell is this?!” For the first five minutes, the only sound is of someone walking. No beat. No instruments. Just walking!And then I realized that Rural Psychogeography is not a band, but an indie nature album. This is an album for pompous geography students, professors and surveyors for whom the latest “Trickling Water” album is too mainstream.This sixteen track compilation was recorded all over the world, from Ukraine to upstate New York to Korea. Nexsound, the distributor of this bizarre but interestingly packaged work, made this as a way to show how “rural psychogeography” can be a total “sensory” experience.Here is why this does not work: “Babai” by Andrey Kiritchenko is two and a half minutes of electronic rain. Not actual rain, but blips randomly scattered with the intent of killing music as we now know it. And it comes close. “Beijing Crossroad” by Tomas Korber and Gunter Muller is over three minutes of static. My question: What is so geographic about static?! I can get static on my radio dial. I don’t have to go clear to friggin’ Japan to record it, nor do I need to hear it on a CD!The craziest track is “DMZspace” by Kim Cascone, which, according to the back cover, is “taken from Korean spam instillation.” I know spam was good for a lot of things, but I have a hard time taking this one seriously. Not to mention the track sounds like R2D2 defragmenting his hard drive.If you want to deafen yourself, you could listen to “Lost River” by Kotra or “(Under the) Waalbrug, Nijmegen” by Kouhel & Freiband. Both tracks sound like someone took a microphone, placed it right in front of a speaker, turned the volume all the way up and walked away.Rural Psychogeography is something that must be heard to be believed. This is not music, and I really hope they were not trying to make it so. This half nature walk/half torturous gibberish and ear-piercing squeals is something that should never have seen the light of day. But now that it has, we can just put it away and fire the person who came up with this garbage.
Tim Wardyn

Welovemusique

v/a – Rural Psychogeography

Psychogeography is a term coined by the situationist poet Guy Debord, and was developed in the late 1950’s as a critique of urbanism. Defined as the study of the effects of geographical settings on the mood and behaviour of the individual, psychogeography is a field pursued on an academic level by geography researchers, but non-scientific research also emerges by way of artists and radical thinkers. One such research document is Rural Psychogeography, a compilation album of experimental pieces based on various locations around the world including Switzerland, Argentina and New Zealand. This international project features artists such as Nexsound label head Andrey Kiritchenko, Francisco Lopez, Jason Kahn, Radian, Lunt and Quebecois composer Martin Tetrault among others.Stand out cuts from this compilation include “Koktebel” by The Moglass, “Beijing Crossroad” by Tomas Korber and Gunter Muller, “Nica” by Rosy Parlane as well as “DMZspace” by Kim Cascone. Both conceptually interesting and aesthetically appealing, the resulting collection is an engaging combination of minimalism, improvisation, sound art, live and field recordings. Vitaliy Kotendgi designed the brown paper sleeve the compilation comes packaged in, which is kept together with a length of twine. For more words, sound clips and information, direct your internet browser to the Nexsound website.
Constantine K.

Aural Innovations

v/a – Rural Psychogeography

According to Wikipedia, psychogeography is “the study of specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organised or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals”. Those who study psychogeography wander (sometimes obsessively, it is said) around any given environment, to experience it in new ways. They have developed unusual methodologies for doing this, such as following their nose by chasing after smells, or navigating the streets of one city using the map of another city.
I’m not sure what specific systems the artists on Rural Psychogeography used, but this is environmental recordings of the purest variety, sometimes set to experimental electro-acoustic music, sometimes not. This is not the kind of environmental recordings featuring pleasant birds chirping or waves crashing, designed to lull and soothe the listener by floating around in the background along with some soft new-agey music. Nor is it harsh or unpleasant noise either. Sometimes it is just simply a recording taken of some acoustic environment.
Avant-garde musician John Cage did a famous piece where he sat at a piano for four odd minutes and played nothing. The idea was to get the audienced to listen to the sounds around them, to fully experience their natural sonic surroundings. The pure environmental recordings on Rural Psychogeography have this effect. By removing the other senses from the landscape, one tends to focus on just the sounds, hearing the background noise of everyday life in a new way. I’m not sure if that was the goal of this album, but it is an interesting experience. Most of the pieces, however, do feature some form of music, most often abstract, minimalist electronic music, but occasionally acoustic sounds as well.
It sounds like an old idea: marry environmental recordings with music. But the artists on Rural Psychogeography have somehow managed to make this old idea sound fresh. Though it’s by no means as groundbreaking as say, Brian Eno’s development of ambient music in the late 70’s and early 80’s, Rural Psychogeography does nonetheless draw you into its unique environment of sound.
Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

Dream

v/a – Rural Psychogeography

This excellent international anthology of various artists utilizes extensive field recordings of rural atmospheres, as well as instrumental manipulations to create sixteen highly evocative soundscapes. From well known, to lesser known entities: Tom Carter & Vanessa Arn, Francisco Lopez, Radian, The Moglass, Rosy Parlane, Kim Cascone, and many others. Rain drizzles and drips, a distant airplane passes, wind and water gurgles, murmurs and roars, insects sing, automobiles pass, generators hum inside of a wintery storm, random strings are plucked in an icy grotto while alien frequencies bleed through the walls. A submarine filled with ghosts floats weightlessly through a cluster of electric eels, as codified languages of stone intone and undulate.

Sonic Arts Network

v/a – Rural Psychogeography

The CD comes packaged in a slender, understated yet striking, cardboard sleeve. Unfold to reveal the contents. A disc and some brief liner notes printed on greaseproof style paper. The paper type here may not be all that significant, but its potential in the kitchen is perhaps more inspirational than the text contained upon it; an unnecessarily pretentious rambling that alienates its readers and lacks even a basic critique of what psychogeography is. Here’s my explanation: Psychogeography; A study of how the geographical environment affects the behaviour of individuals and society. It is often connected to the ideals of the Situationist International [SI].
The basic concept, as personally interpreted, seems to be that sonic experiences in a rural space can be captured and imported into the city whereupon the listener can construct their own abstracted environment, a ‘constructed situation’. Sounds are relocated so that “an underground station in Paris all of a sudden becomes reminiscent of a country backyard”. Similarly, the aural characteristics associated with the city, sounds of automated industrialisation and electronic tools, might be manipulated to mimic the complex relationship between sounds in rural surroundings.
Insert the CD. The opening twenty minutes comprises four tracks of faintly manipulated environmental recordings. Beautifully captured though they are, especially Geoff Dugan’s binaural recordings near Lake Otsego, rural New York State, they’re perhaps a little deceptive of the textural architecture that comes to characterise the rest of the compilation. Indeed, it isn’t until we arrive at track five, a composition by Andrey Kiritchhenko, that we get a true insight of the CD’s nature. ‘Babai’ is the first composition that cuts and splices field recordings and combines them with anomalous sounds, here some freely improvised acoustic guitar and bubbling sine wave bleeps.
The geography of the CD, the positioning of the tracks, causes some confusion on first listening. Unlike most contemporary music albums, which give each artist’s work its designated plot of digital space, ‘Rural Psychogeography’ emphasises a continual mix from track four onwards. The experience isn’t unwelcome though. Taking the mastering process of a contemporary album to this new phase emphasises more acutely the ‘journey’ aspect of the disc. Each of the sixteen tracks states a dedication to a particular location on the planet, ranging from Arizona [USA] to Huia [New Zealand], passing through Korea and Ukraine, the homeland of the releasing record label, Nexsound.
Despite the initial troubles, this album proves itself on compositional elegance alone, with well-known composers such as Francisco Lopez, Kim Cascone, Rosy Parlane [Touch records] and Radian [Thrill Jockey records] contributing to the project. Its terrain starts at a reasonably low, minimalist level and gradually crescendo’s toward the pinnacle, to the heightening pressure from feedback and fractured connections of kouhei and freiband’s live set. Upon hearing the sound of the disc spinning down, it begs to be revisited. This won’t become a dusty shelf-filler. Sit back and enjoy another journey. Where will your ears take you?
Reviewed by DJC de la Haye

Page 2 of 212