Nexsound – experimental, ambient, noise, improv record label

Review

Foxy Digitalis

the Moglass/Tom Carter & Vanessa Arn-Snake – Tongued / Swallow-Tailed

When reviewing Nexsound’s impressive Rural Psychogeography compilation a cpl of months back I said that the real masterpiece on that album is Tom Carter and Vanessa Arn’s “Mojave” and something about imagining myself wandering the vast expanses of the desert. That track opens this album and sets the tone perfectly for what is to come. “Atmanada” is a 23 minutes long drifter constructed from effected lap steel guitar and barely-there humming guitars, and although we’re talking soundscapes and improvisations here there are still distant melodies present, somehow floating in and out of your psyche with ease. It’s an impressive listen that sounds like black smoke billowing out from a chimney into the crystal clear winter sky. Hypnotic, mesmerizing and breathtaking.Ukrainian Moglass also explores soundscapes (although more electronically oriented) that just seems to be hanging in the air, but this is decidedly more dark and ominous, if not even claustrophobic. We get three tracks packed with free-floating tension and industrial angst but there’s also enough droney beauty and weird sonic whims to set this one apart from your regular industrial listen. Given the fact that I have to be seen as a Tom Carter obsessive it might not come as a surprise that I rank his and Arn’s two tracks the highest, but beyond these two beautiful improvisations this split release also works eminently as a whole, the CD communicates its intentions with success.

Paris Transatlantic

the Moglass/Tom Carter & Vanessa Arn-Snake – Tongued / Swallow-Tailed

Snake-Tongued, Swallow-Tailed is in fact a split CD between The Moglass, who contribute the third, fourth and fifth tracks, and Tom Carter and Vanessa Arn of psychedelic folk outfit Charalambides. The opening “Mojave” is an extended version of their contribution to Rural Psychogeography – see above – and is followed by the 23-minute “Atmananda”. Carter’s lap steel sounds as rich and strange as Arn’s self-designed “triwave generator” (that’s a home-made synth to you), and the track has something of the Edward Hopper melancholy of Loren Connors, who in the long run may well prove to be as influential to the younger generation of transatlantic free folkies and post-rockers as Keith Rowe has been to European and Japanese improvising table guitarists. The accompanying Moglass tracks are, in comparison, quite focused, especially compared to the earlier outing reviewed above. “Untitled (Tawny Owl)” even comes across as intrusive after Carter’s spectral fingerpickings. The reverb is cranked up and one half expects some deadly serious English pagan booze-addled cat-loving post punk mystic to intone some Aleister Crowley. “The Map (Webfootprinted)” takes a few jaunty strains of folk fiddle and clarinet (Ukrainian?) and what sounds like opera (hard to tell) and bombards them with radioactive fallout worthy of Chernobyl. A strange distorted guitar-like instrument twangs menacingly throughout. Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Ambient anymore. The folk music also lurks menacingly behind the drones and babble of the closing “Kakerlakische kakerlak”, in what would make a better companion piece to Aranos’ work with Jon Mueller and Chris Rosenau on Bleeding In Behind Pastel Screens (Crouton) than the oneiric world of Arn and Carter.-DW
DW

Vital

the Moglass/Tom Carter & Vanessa Arn – Snake-Tongued / Swallow-Tailed

A split CD between two kinda similar projects, or at least they run similar ideas. Tom Carter (known from the ‘improvising psychedelic folk’ group Charalambides) on lap steel guitar and Vanessa Arn on the triwave tone generator versus The Moglass, a post-rock group from Ukraine. Both dwell on ‘sustaining sounds’, but these sustaining sounds are generated on guitars, at least most of the time. The triwave generator is a self-built synthesizer and sound in combination with the lap steel guitar sound really beautiful. The sound is very open and spacious, while long sustaining sounds float by like silent space ships or falling stars. Music in which nothing much seems to be happening, but which has a great impact.In The Moglass sound guitars play an important role, but also one can synthesizers, taped radio sounds, all of which are created via improvisations. Instead of leaping into a bunch of noise, they create dense but gentle clouds of atmospheric music. Maybe some of the improvisations are a bit too carefully constructed, in which they take too much time to make their point, but the space is weightless enough here. Both projects play around with the notions of ambient post rock music with a cinematographic edge. Perfect music for a roadmovie. (FdW)

Octopus

the Moglass/Tom Carter & Vanessa Arn-Snake – Tongued, Swallow-Tailed

Tom Carter est un homme providentiel pour le rock americain. Il diffuse depuis plusieurs annees sa folk psychedelique boiteuse, notamment dans son groupe Charalambides. Il signe la premiere partie de ce split album avec Vanessa Arn, manipulatrice des ondes de la guitare de Carter. C’est donc un album de cordes, The Moglass utilisant beaucoup les guitares pour sa part. Carter et Arn jouent avec le silence, flirtent avec le drone, cherchent la lumiere. Des improvisations qui emplissent l’espace, des sons denses mais harmonieux et touchants, meme dans les presque riffs. Car on est pres de la musique traditionnelle americaine, avec sa guitare argentee, meme si le minimalisme – un autre standard americain – est de rigueur. Une musique qui n’est bien sur pas sans rappeler Loren Connors. The Moglass joue une musique plus sombre. Les frequences radios s’accommodent des guitares delayees en nappes melancoliques ou pincees en riffs liquefies. Globalement, The Moglass joue une musique plus construite, plus proche d’une conception contemporaine du rock, celle qu’on a un temps rangee dans la case . Malgre l’intensite et le sens melodique des titres presentes ici, The Moglass a ete plus convaincant dans ses precedentes apparitions isolees.
Jerome Langlais

Loop

the Moglass/Tom Carter & Vanessa Arn-Snake – Tongued, Swallow-Tailed

This split CD comprised the collaboration between Tom Carter [Charalambides] and Vanessa Arn who contributed with two long experimental pieces ‘Mojave’ and ‘Atmananda’ and on the other hand, The Moglass with three cuts ‘Untitled (Tawny Owl)’, ‘The Map (Webfootprinted)’ and ‘Kakerlakische Kakerlak’. Carter and Arn’s work already had been included on V/A, ‘Rural Psychogeography’ [Nexsound, 2004], whereas the Ukrainian trio The Moglass has several productions in this label based in the capital of Kiev.’Mojave’ and ‘Atmananda’ propose to play flourishes on the lap steel guitars, with effects, sustain reverb and notes are added to it that shape in the form of drones. From time to time synth lines although rather is a generator of sounds of custom built synth called triwave tone that create an environmental base. In relation with The Moglass they create real magnetism by the atmospheres produced, their guitars that almost sing introduce the listener in a very deep space and some bells resonate in the vast horizon that creates this post-industrial trio in their brilliant ‘Untitled (Tawny Owl)’. With a classical intro comprised of samples of violins the guitar reminds me of Throbbing Gristle. ‘Kakerlakische Kakerlak’ is has an Arabic air with twinkling guitars quite melodic and apart from the wall of noise of their previous tracks. This is an album where we can find noise and melody really blended under the experimentation of few instruments but that seem to be a big ensemble.
Text Guillermo Escudero

Phosphor

the Moglass/Tom Carter & Vanessa Arn – Snake-Tongued / Swallow-Tailed

Nexsound from Ukraine have presented a variety of electronic artists inthe past. Muslimgauze releases have appeared in the label’s catalogue, butalso a release with microsound-related artists including Kotra and KimCascone.The Moglass consists of Tom Carter, who has also previously released analbum on Kranky, Vaness Arn. Accompanying information suggests thepresence of other group members, but they are not named explicitly. Onthis release there are two tracks by Tom Carter and Vaness Arn playingtogether, where the former plays a steel guitar, whereas the latter playsa custom built synthesizer. Additionally, there are three tracks by theMoglass. The first two tracks build to a slow increase in intensity, withimprovised playing on the steel guitar and the synthesizer graduallygaining more and more presence. The music tends to attain a kind ofmysterious, surreal feel, which is perhaps due to the productiontechniques used on the CD. Anyhow, it works very soothing. The threetracks by the Moglass are more densely populated, and obviously deploy amore radical approach to sound. The third track starts with a deepdrone-like sound, with reverbing sounds and short bell-like textures onthe foreground. The fourth track contains more heavily manipulatedinstruments, again rather deep textures with a mist-like quality. Ahumming synth-like sound provides a background for drifting melodicstructures and wonderful drone-like sounds resonating. The fifth and finaltrack contains similar elements with a repeating melody giving the piece amore dramatic feel. Interesting release that will appeal to improv andguitar-drone fans.
(mvk)

Rock Sound

the Moglass/Tom Carter & Vanessa Arn – Snake-Tongued / Swallow-Tailed

A split release album from the ever-interesting Ukrainian label Nexsound that showcases how music that is fleeting needn’t be ethereal. San Francisco improvisers Tom Carter and Vanessa Arn provide two instrumentals, ‘Mojave’ and ‘Atmanda’. Sustained echoes of electronic noise work their way through these exercises in distension, roving and seeking some kind of substance while the watching guitars sporadically wax and wane. The Moglass, a Ukrainian trio whose work places them somewhere between alt.folk and free noise improve, arrive with a little more focus, albeit not much. ‘Untitled (Tawney Owl)’ introduces itself with dirge and effects that hint at a soundtrack to some post-modern horror film but it’s ‘Kakerlakische kakerlak’, that is the most memorable of five tracks on here, a vista of damaged psychedelia that reverberates its pain by drawing out feedback before the lightest of refrains.
Alex Whitehead 8/10

Dream

the Moglass/Tom Carter & Vanessa Arn – Snake-Tongued / Swallow-Tailed

First off Tom and Vanessa use chimes, bells, guitar, and more to create a stark spacious landscape called appropriately enough Mojave, that last for almost eleven minutes. Next clocking in at 22:43 is the rather monumental Atmananda; slowly a gradual accumulation of swirling shimmering silver light. Like moths to a flame, this light draws the ghosts, who shyly try to hide in the shadows. Ukrainian band the Moglass deliver three droning spectral and spacious ambient distances. The first feels like a series of atmospheric conditions; like microclimates that unfold in sequence in your earphones. The second is thirteen and a half minutes of collaged layers of vocals interweaving with a throbbing android heartbeat that evolves into an active interactive meandering moonlight stroll. The final track ends things with a group of people speaking Russian that shatters and refracts into a drone like sunlight untill all that’s left are big hazy shapes of light too bright to see. A theme like Durutti Column at 78 RPM recurs until we gently sail off the edge of the Earth.

Splendid

the Moglass/Tom Carter & Vanessa Arn – Snake-Tongued / Swallow-Tailed

The more abstract music gets, the harder it gets to assess its quality in empirical terms. You can’t sing along to a 15 minute ambient track, or hum it, or rock out to it in the car with your friends — so what makes it “good”? For argument’s sake, let’s say it’s a question of physical and emotional response; the best abstract material will take you places, make you feel things, and generally affect your perceptions while you’re at it.Tom Carter, better known as Charalambides, is the biggest name on this globe-spanning ambient split. Teamed with Vanessa Arn (Primordial Undermind), he coughs up a pair of resonant, atmospheric tracks. Opener “Mojave” is endless open space as rendered in musical form — sighing lap-steel notes and generated tones processed into howling winds, heat-haze and eye-bewitching expanses of monochromatic sand. At nearly eleven minutes, it’s quite a sonic hike, but “Atmananda” more than doubles its run time. The detail is more extensive here — a progressive series of bell-like tones, resonant whirring noises and almost-air raid siren howls that drift in and out of focus like objects on a fog-shrouded road. There’s even an addled guitar lurking in the mist somewhere near the six-minute mark; it yields a befuddled, quasi-mystical jangle of notes before disappearing. In short, this is moody, meditative, potentially disquieting stuff — never overtly frightening, but unlikely to inspire pleasant daydreams about flowers and bunnies.
Ukrainian improv trio The Moglass, who can hear stuff like “Atmananda” every night simply by opening a window (or so we’ve all been lead to believe about Eastern Europe), favor a denser sound — which isn’t surprising, as they have more members to keep busy. Their “Untitled (Tawny Owl)”, for example, sounds a bit like a late-night nature hike with members of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, during which you have a close encounter with an alien spaceship. Once again, the impetus here isn’t so much musical as mood-defining, and headphones are more or less required to reveal the full extent of the trio’s layered sonic collage — scrapes and clatters, electronic shrieks and effects-treated rattles stirring mysteriously behind an impenetrable mesh of synth drone. “The Map (Webfootprinted)” dangles some more conventional music as a lure — a ghostly trail of violin, a brief burst of marching band — but you’ll quickly be pulled into the ever-changing murk behind them. Almost-recognizable instruments emerge as the piece builds: an effects-treated guitar chatters away like a cartoon duck, and an angry bass guitar emerges from its lair, strings humming and clanging. These questionable companions will dog your steps, sometimes camouflaged and sometimes audible, as the thirteen-minute piece rolls inexorably forward.
Closer “Kakerlakische Kakerlak” begins with laughing, chattering human voices — a timely opportunity to reconnect with your own humanity — but don’t be fooled. Soon enough, we’re once again plowing through sheets of resonant haze, striated notes shimmering and hanging in the air as they seethe and pulse. Fragments of speech are distantly audible as the drone pulses brighter and darker, and eventually there’s a hint of a more conventional melody line looped deep in the mix — nine or ten notes that lurk, semi-audible, beneath the track’s surface, emerging from their feedback cocoon like the most fragile and spindly of butterflies as the piece dwindles to its conclusion.
These descriptions may sound like faint praise, but they’re intended as an endorsement; it’s simply difficult to adequately describe a sensation that’s more visceral and intrasensory than musical. In the right circumstances, any of these five pieces can summon its own measure of spine-tingling, consciousness-trapping reality. The places to which Snake Tongued Swallow-Tailed takes you may not be recognizable physical landscapes — and there’s no guarantee that they’ll be pleasant places to visit — but they’ll seem palpably real while you’re there. Like a particularly vivid nightmare, the quality of the experience ultimately transcends its purpose.
— George Zahora

Dusted Magazine

the Moglass/Tom Carter & Vanessa Arn – Snake-Tongued / Swallow-Tailed

Ukrainian label Nexsound follow up their impressive Rural Psychology compilation with this split release, pairing up the duo of Tom Carter (Charlambides) and Vanessa Arn (Primordial Undermind) with native drone-scapers The Moglass for this nicely packaged release.
Predominantly employing lap steel guitar and a triwave picogenrator (a device which enables the user to produce a myriad of unearthly tones) as their sound sources, Carter and Arn contribute two brooding instrumental tracks, which at their most intense moments sound like Ry Cooder’s soundtrack to “Paris, Texas” run through a blender. While there are more restful sections, the overriding feeling is one of claustrophobia. Without the spaciousness that marks so much of Carter’s other work, a suffocating density gradually weighs the pieces down and, certainly, the overly long “Atmananda” never manages to achieve lift-off.
The Moglass’s sound is less organic, an all-enveloping fog of Coil-tinged electronics, punctuated by the occasional chirp of a bird of chime of a bell. There is an almost schizophrenic feel to their three selections, as snippets of well-known folk songs desperately try to emerge from the throbbing fug, only for the beautiful timbres of voice and violin to fall prey to the din. As final hopes for any last shard of melody drown, the industrial pulse grinds on remorselessly, until a final coda of strummed electric guitar and delicate keyboard bring the whole thing back to earth, as Godspeed-like waves lap against desolated shores.
By Spencer Grady

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