Nexsound – experimental, ambient, noise, improv record label

Review

Vital

The Moglass – Sparrow Juice

‘Sparrow Juice’ is the sixth full length release by The Moglass, a trio from the Ukraine. They play a variety of instruments, such as electric and acoustic guitar, bass, computers, synth, voice, treatments, field recordings and alto saxophone. The Moglass are perhaps best described as an ‘improvising post-rock’ band. Everything they do is based on improvisation, but they always try to play gently and melodic. Most of the times they are trying to create textured, atmospheric sounds which are drone related, but in a rock context. Post-production plays an important role for them. Once the recordings are made, everything is treated on the computer in order to edit, combine and reduce sounds and to come up with what is on ‘Sparrow Juice': their most refined work to date. Softly speak the humming of guitars, synths wail about, and occasionally there is hum and distortion to be discovered, but they fit wonderfully into the mix. Cut into no less than nineteen tracks, there is a great sense of homogeneity in these recordings. The Moglass have invented their own form of post-rock. Not endless clusters of guitar drones, or krautrock like drones; not jazzy inspired songs, but a powerful yet ambient rock like sound. An almost cinematographic trip of music. Very, very nice. FdW

The Broken Face

The Moglass – Sparrow Juice

Ukrainian combo the Moglass has always had a talent for keeping things simple and nicely repetitive. This is by no means meant to reduce the value of their glacial drone/improv vendettas, rather the opposite as it shows ability to realize exactly how long it

Dusted Magazine

The Moglass – Sparrow Juice

The improvised music on Sparrow Juice, from Ukraine’s Moglass, is exceedingly difficult to categorize, because it’s equally difficult to find points of comparison. Layering synthesizers, guitars, field recordings, and other sound effects, Yuri Kulishenko (a.k.a. Paul Kust) and Oleg Kovalchuk – with a few tracks including Vladimir Bovtenko on sax and Kostya Bovtenko on voice – have found a particular niche that crosses boundaries between jazz and soundtrack, post-rock and noise, even avant-folk and musique concrete. Perhaps the foremost ingredient here is an accomplished approach to drone, seemingly blending guitars and synthesizers with ingredients that have a more organic feel, thanks to conscious use of those field recordings and other treatments.

The Moglass also succeed in balancing a dark mood with textures that give many of the songs a peculiar kind of beauty. Pieces like “Indirect News” and “Revisited with K.” pull the listener into a dreamlike vision, filled with echoey vistas of electronic washes and barely-recognizable sounds of voices and buzzing sax. They’re very pretty works in an abstract, otherworldly way. In fact, when clear bass notes begin midway through “Revisited with K.,” it’s a bit of a shock because they sound out of place amidst the other, drifting, sounds.

“Leering Raspberries” is the long centerpiece of this album, which makes sense because it has a slightly different feel, yet lacks the distinct personality of the album’s best pieces. The song has more recognizable sounds, particularly free clusters of guitar notes that chatter and squawk over the quiet synths that float out in space. It’s a seemingly more traditional improvised piece, based more on typical sounds and less on the alien sonics that lend the bulk of the album such an intriguing personality.

Of the others, we’re led through swamps of cinematic horror, filled with creakings and mutterings; dirges filled with deep guitar notes; glaciers of humming wind and quiet bass melodies; and, with the closing “Asimuth Vibrating,” a gorgeous tapestry of ur-drone constructed from guitar, synth and voice that’s reminiscent of masters like Organum, Total and Lustmord.

The 19 tracks here include nine actual “songs,” with each separated and bookended by brief, well-constructed segments of field recordings, from distant murmuring voices to static environments.

With Sparrow Juice, The Moglass have released a unique collection of sound that deserves to not be categorized, because that would inevitably limit the way in which it will be listened to. Instead, this album should be approached with open ears, and a world of sound will be the reward.

By Mason Jones

Skug Magazine

The Moglass – Sparrow Juice

Improvisierte Musik muss nicht per se höchst vertrackt und unsexy klingen. The Moglass aus Kharkiv in der Ukraine sind da eine treffliche Ausnahme, die auf flächige Sounds setzt. Hier zerfließen auf hohem Niveau Gitarren, Synths, Field Recordings und Saxofon. Wo auch gesamplet wird, liegt ein Post-Rock-Verdacht auf der Hand, doch schichtet das Trio die Sounds dermaßen entspannt, das eher von galaktischem Free Noise die Rede sein muss, allerdings die Klangwolke dermaßen grazil und melodienüberfrachtet wirkt, das man geneigt ist, das Wort Lärm wieder zu streichen. Und wenn dann The Moglass nach Kiritchenkos komplizierten Verästelungen Soundquellen von Alan Courtis (Co-Gründer von Reynols, u.a. Releases auf Trente Oiseaux, Lucust etc.) anzapfen, dann schwingt sich der Sound in höhere Sphären auf. Bedrohlich schwären grummelnde Bassloops, doch jubilieren drüber spacige Synth- u Gitarrengeschwader, ein ganzer Droneschwall ergießt sich aus den Boxen. Und dann hört man förmlich ein Glockenläuten, wenn The Moglass Courtis Soundscapes zuliefern. Gibt es schon so etwas wie einen Droneoszillator? Klingt so, dies ist pure Psychedelia! Vielleicht würde Syd Barretts Alterswerke heute ähnlich klingen, wenn …
ALFRED PRANZL

Neural

The Moglass – Sparrow Juice

Combo ucraino quello dei Moglass votato a sonorità nel complesso alquanto contorte e di matrice improvvisativa, seppur frutto d’iterazioni in fondo elementari, a cui si sommano droni ed effetti digitali vari, dando vita ad una mescola a tratti davvero affascinante e che solo in minima parte può essere ascritta agli ambiti post-rock. La vena immaginativa di Yuri Kulishenko, Oleg Kovalchuk e Vladimir Bovtenko prende corpo soprattutto quando la claustrofobia di certe atmosfere viene sovrastata da spontanei innesti ed improvvisazioni. Importante è tuttavia nel loro progetto anche il lavoro di post-produzione, usato come una possibilità di creazione aggiuntiva quasi fosse un ulteriore strumento. Gentili, melodici, mai scontati e derivativi, questi ragazzi sanno farsi valere mettendo in gioco trattamenti assai disparati, rifuggendo dai clichés di genere e da pratiche di cross-over spesso ancor più stereotipate.
Aurelio Cianciotta

WIRE

The Moglass – Sparrow Juice

Ukraine trio The Moglass formed in 1997 and have recorded six albums, the latest of which is this collection of softly rippling improvisations, where treated street recordings are sensitively blended into the overall musical patina of the group’s seductively enveloping sound. With trace elements of jazz seeping through, courtesy of Vladimir Bovtenko’s earthy alto and Yuri Kulishenko’s minimalist fusion bass patterns and Derek Bailey-style guitar picking, The Moglass belong as much to the European free jazz movement as they do to avant rock.
Edwin Pouncey

Etherreal

The Moglass – Sparrow Juice

Ayant déjà parlé à plusieurs reprises du label ukrainien Nexsound, nous n’avions pourtant jamais évoqué The Moglass dont les pochettes laissaient présager un style différent de ce que nous avait habitué le label, plus proche du post-rock de Godspeed You ! Black Emperor ou Set Fire to Flames que des expérimentations noisy de Kotra. On découvre donc The Moglass avec Sparrow Juice, deuxième véritable album au sein d’une discographie déjà riche de collaborations et autres sorties MP3. On n’était pas très loin, The Moglass est une groupe plus orienté post-rock que l’ensemble des artistes Nexsound, mais un post-rock marqué par l’improvisation, les drones, les field recordings, tout en utilisant quelques synthés analogiques. L’album composé de 19 pistes alterne avec rigueur les morceaux d’une durée classique (4 à 5 mn) et interludes de field recordings (accordéon et fête foraine, clocher, ambiance de rue, dialogues…). On rentre véritablement dans l’univers de The Moglass avec Obviously Political Lyric, un parfait mélange entre électronique et guitares, dialoguant avec le même vocabulaire, répétitif et envoûtant, à la manière d’un Labradford, en plus lumineux. C’est le drone qui domine ensuite sur Revisiting With K., magnifique pièce ambient sur laquelle une multitude de petits bruitages viennent se poser, des enfants qui chantonnent pour une ambiance de forêt enchantée que l’on retrouve sur la pochette. Tout l’album semble être une longue balade dans une forêt féerique, peuplée de lutins et de monstres, d’arbres qui craquent et de marais prêt à vous engloutir. Une flûte imite une chouette sur Serious Mocking Bird, des lutins semblent se moquer de vous pendant votre cueillette (Leering Raspberries) avant l’arrivée de la pluie qui se matérialise via l’apparition d’une texture grésillante. Après avoir mangé un champignon vénéneux votre balade vire vers le trip psychédélique (Indirect News) et vous reviendrez petit à petit à la réalité sur Krevpfok Gegkiu Riad où les chants d’oiseaux se mêlent au bruits de voitures qui passent non loin, sur une petite route encore humide. Durant ce voyage d’une grosse heure, les drones auront dominés, flottants, apportant cet aspect irréel tandis que les improvisations donnent du mouvement, de la vie à l’ensemble. Entre le jeu dense d’une guitare free jazz et les drones, de petites touches d’électronique ou glockenspiel semblent décrire un univers onirique, une longue rêverie dans laquelle on prend plaisir à se perdre. Cet album de The Moglass tient tout autant du post-rock, que de l’ambient et de la musique improvisée, même si l’improvisation n’est qu’une étape tout au début du processus d’enregistrement de l’album, avant que ces longues sessions ne soit découpées et agencées entre elles. Pour autant, Sparrow Juice est d’une parfaite cohérence, et de ce mélange naît une richesse et un univers tout à fait singulier. On découvre donc The Moglass et on se dit qu’on aurait du se pencher un peu plus tôt sur le sujet. Pour ceux qui souhaitent commencer par écouter quelques MP3, rappelons que Nexsound sort également de nombreuses sorties numériques parmi lesquelles vous trouverez ce fabuleux trio.
Fabrice Allard

Indieville

The Moglass – Sparrow Juice

The Ukraine’s Moglass are one of my favourite experimental electronic acts (ever since I encountered their Telegraph poles are getting smaller and smaller as the distance grows album a long time ago), and Sparrow Juice makes no attempts to counteract that opinion. This isn’t your typical experimental electronic act though, as these improvisers tend to use many more live instruments than many of their peers on the scene. Computers, synths, and field recordings make appearances but don’t overbear more organic sounds coming from guitars, bass, saxophone, and even voice. The result is an epic, atmospheric-but-listenable record that feels right at home playing into a pitch black room. There is a foreboding, eerie sense exuded by Sparrow Juice, with lots of reverb lending the sounds a distant, almost cathedral-like openness. I kind of see a slight post-rock flare in the more cohesive and song-like offerings on this disc, though the more structured nature of that genre should not be confused with this predominantly abstract release.

The album, though consistently soundscape-based, varies from the ambient drone of “Revisited With K.” and “Krevptok Legkiy Riad” (which both use synths and static-like noise) to more guitar-infused, post-rock semi-melodic material like “Maya Britanova” and “Indirect News”. Meanwhile, eleven minute freeform improv work “Leering Raspberries” lays on the acoustic guitar plucking heavily, with sifting bleeps and electro bubbles steaming in the background. The record closes off with “Asumuth Vibrating,” which is a powerful, Fennesz-esque finale that seems to whisk by in a startlingly beautiful haze. Clearly, Sparrow Juice is not a record that deserves to be panned or glanced over. I suggest you buy this, turn out the lights, and let it play. That way, there’s no way you can ignore what truly amounts to a wonderful experimental soundscape album.
Matt Shimmer

Signal To Noise

The Moglass – Sparrow Juice

The farther that Moglass get from conventional instrumentation, the better they sound on Sparrow Juice. They wield field recordings with skill to create atmospheres that seem suffused with a sense of place and moment, but defy you name the when and where. Such skills don’t entirely desert them when they turn their hands to ordinary music. Judiciously applied echo turns “Obviously Political Lyric” into a persuasive resurrection of Popol Vuh’s placid spookiness. But on “Maya Brittanica” twinned bass guitar lines take you nowhere, except maybe to the closet where Brokeback hide their outtakes.
Bill Meyer

Testcard

The Moglass – Sparrow Juice

Für die Musik von The Moglass sollte man sich Zeit nehmen. Sie entwickelt sich sehr langsam, zieht unbeirrt ihre K, eise und klingt im Aufbau dochi ganz anders als die immer gleiche, anschwellende Dynamik von Bands wie Mono oder Mogwai. The Moglass stammen aus der Ukraine und haben bereits mit Tom Carter (Charalambides) zusammengearbeitet und waren mit Bands wie Jackie-O Motherfucker und My Cat Is An Alien auf Tour. Diese Information nur, um ihre Musik ein wenig zu verorten. Hauptquellen der überwiegend instrumentalen, oft auf Improvisation basierenden Nummern sind Gitarren und Field Recordings. Diese werden allerdings nicht geschichtet, sondern strudeln beinahe gleichmäßig nebeneinander her. So entsteht ein gleichmäßiger Fluss mit psychedelischem Touch, der sich doch nie einer ÜberwättigungsÄsthetik bedient.