Nexsound – experimental, ambient, noise, improv record label

Review

Vital Weekly

Andrey Kiritchenko – Enough Heaven

ANDREY KIRITCHENKO – ENOUGH HEAVEN (7″ by Nexsound)
It has been a while since I last heard music from Andrey Kiritchenko I thought but of course I reviewed ‘Chrysalis’ in Vital Weekly 856. Is that long ago? Perhaps with the amount of music weekly to digest this indeed is. That LP seemed something of a shift from his earlier laptop based music to something more jazz like. More dwelling on acoustic instruments and as such we should regard his latest offering a 7″ with two pieces ‘Enough Heaven’ and ‘Heaven Is Not Enough’. There is no cover, nor tons of information, but I guess we have drums, piano, strings and wind instruments here, plus perhaps a bit of electronics. The two pieces are connected, not just by their title but also in the way they are composed, played and recorded. There is a fine sense of minimalism in both of these pieces, with repeating phrases for some of these instruments, while others (saxophone or piano usually) play a more melodic part, jumping about from place to place. One could say this indeed owes to the world of jazz music, and no doubt it does, but it’s actually a lot more difficult to qualify, just as the ‘Chrysalis’ LP was very difficult to judge. I have no idea if Kiritchenko is playing all of these instruments himself, or a bunch of session players, or even if they are sampled together; it all together makes up a fine yet odd orchestral sound, and two lovely pieces. Pressed on transparent vinyl, which is the only thing to complain about: it could have been pressed better. It might be just my copy of course. (FdW)
Address: http://www.nexsound.org/

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v4w.enko and sanmi – Y:E:T

A collaboration, through e-mail I guess, between Kyo Yanagi, also known as Sanmi and Evgeniy Vaschenko from the Ukraine. A highly digital work this is, but one that has also quite a ‘live’ feeling to it. Clicks ‘n cuts – if anyone cares to remember that – is certainly something that applies here. Things buzz, hiss, crack and loop around, with a highly dynamic sound. Deep bass sounds, shrieking high end sine wave like sounds on top, cut ‘n pasted together in the best Pan Sonic tradition. yet, all with a slight difference: this music deals less with a straight forward beat, but rather with cutting up all the sounds, all the time. Only in the closing piece ‘Lcgf’ the cut-up is absent, and everything is placed in a straight forward fashion, with some desolate piano sounds. A fine closing to a somewhat tiring but also quite rewarding release. Excellent stuff. (FdW)

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Alla Zagaykevych and Electroacoustic’s Ensemble – Nord/Ouest

Now this is the kind of band you don’t see very often, I think, although I don’t think they would approve of my use of the word band. Alla Zagaykevych is responsible for the composition and programming (although I am not sure what it meant with programming), live electronics, vocal and theremin with Iryna Klymenko (vocal), Sergiy Okhrimchuk (violin, vocal) and Vadim Jovich (percussion). The ensemble has an interest in the ‘primitive mystery and “elusiveness” of the folklore of North-Western region of the Ukraine’. The music from this area is something we should be able to hear in the music, but that is perhaps only if you know the original version. Although Zagaykevych is credited with composition, I must say that a lot of this sounds like improvisation and just the second part sounds more folk like, with a lot of traditional singing. Throughout these three lengthy pieces there is some interesting variations to be spotted. The first part is no doubt the most improvised one, which reminded me of AMM and Morphogenesis meeting up – especially through the use of drums. The second piece is the most traditional one, as said, mainly through the use of vocals, although clashing in with the use of modern electronics and scraping of cymbals. The third part is again more improvised like, with a major role for the flute, violin, percussion and the electronics providing a more mellow backdrop – here its more Morphogenesis than AMM, I suppose. Bands of this kind, combining a band structure, along with improvisation and electronics are these days a rarity – as far as I can view such matters of course – and this ensemble plays some excellent music in that style. (FdW)

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Ojra & Kiritchenko – A Tangle Of Mokosha

My predicament of Eastern European electronic musicians combining with folk songs to be the next big thing never set through, which was a pity since it could have been a really interesting thing, but perhaps its a slow wave: now there is a CD by Andrey Kiritchenko, the electronic hero from the Ukraine, who recorded a work with Ojra, a four piece band from the world of folk music. The opening piece ‘Svity Misyachenko’ reminded me of Dead Can Dance circa ‘Aion’ (a private favorite for whatever reason). It sets the tone for this release. Folky singing is of course what is at work here, but the instruments added make up a fine blend of music. On one hand there is the kazoo, violin, guitar, bass, dulcimer, kalimba, sopilka, dvoyanka, drymba, bayan and buhay (and I admit for some of those I have no idea what they look like) and on the other hand there are the electronics and field recordings of Kiritchenko. An odd combination perhaps, but the music is wonderful. Ancient perhaps, but also very modern. I am not sure if the instruments are ‘processed’ in any way – I think so, as sometimes there are loops and such like of those sounds – whereas the real instruments keep on playing in real time. The modern version of an old folk dance? Sometimes even augmented with almost techno music. This is exactly the combination of styles I thought would be the next big thing a few years ago, and hopefully now it will be pushed. This is an absolutely great disc which show the way out for laptop musicians wanting to do something radically different. Hardly folktronics, I’d say, but something entirely new altogether. (FdW)

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Andrey Kiritchenko – Stuffed With/Out

By now the name Andrey Kiritchenko should be a household name. Playing concerts all over the world and releasing very fine discs. Here he presents another one, on his own Nexsound label, in a very nice cover. The cover credits read ‘guitar, processing and field recordings’ and moving further into the world of glitchy ambient music. However the guitar remains a clear feature. In most of the tracks the guitar is clearly recognizable as such. Whatever computer processing Kiritchenko employs it remains an ornament to his playing. It’s been pushed towards the back of the recording, while the guitar stays clearly in the front. Field recordings might be in there too, but then they too are not easy to detect. Turning his music in favor of the guitar he plays the ambient card more than the microsound one, and the music surely benefits from that. Kiritchenko comes closer to the music of the likes of Japanese musicians on labels such as Spekk and Noble, or the German Flim. The microsound aspect is reduced, but not entirely gone, and as such it means that the music made an interesting step forward, while still staying (or perhaps more than before) inside the traditional offerings of ambient music. (FdW)

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Zavoloka-Agf – Nature never produces the same beat twice

This collaboration was waiting to happen: the leading lady of glitch poetry Antye Greie Fuchs, aka AGF and upcoming star on that scene Kateryna Zavoloka. These women know eachother since 2003 and they have played together in concert in France and Belgium, developing the concept Techno Like Trees. Now this is worked out, or rather sketched out, in fifty short, one minute pieces, each dedicated to a certain plant. There are five subgroups: trees, bushes, meadow, flowers and spices. The names of the plants are sung in either German, Ukranian and English, but are usually to cut up to be understood. It doesn’t matter really, what plant is what, unless of course you are a connoisseur of these matters (which I am not at all). This singing is set to one rhythmic pieces that is sometimes ongoing for a minute, but also at other times is totally broken up, and I must admit that doesn’t help to enjoy the CD that much. The whole thing, fifty tracks in as many minutes, is already a guarantee that for a more sketch-like approach, but for the more chaotic pieces this makes matters even less easy. But some flowers are beautiful blossoming and you would want to keep that going for some more time than just that one minute. The repeat button is always a handy feature here, but the ‘next’ button also has it’s proper function. Maybe an all female remix project would be an option. (FdW)

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Zavoloka vs Kotra – to Kill the Tiny Groovy Cat E.P.

This short release is a taster for a forthcoming full length release by Kotra and Zavoloka. Both are from the Ukraine and over the last couple of years they have played together a lot, both live and in the studio. For this release, Kotra returned to playing the bass, ‘clanged and creaked’. Zavoloka ‘has nurtured it and killed it’, it says on the rather beautiful cover. Whatever nurturing and killing may be, it’s hard to trace any sound back to the bass in these five pieces. Five pieces of chilling computerized glitch, with a good ear for a bass sound (that seems to be coming from anything deep end in the plug in section, rather than from a wooden box with four thick strings). Sounds crash like hard drives here, with fierce high end pitches among the deeper end music. Not danceable, hardly ‘warm’, but a truly noise related attack on the senses. Good for the fact that it defies any relation to microsound and clicks ‘n cuts, trying really to melt down all the various influences together and be something new. Makes great expectations for the full length. (FdW)

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Zavoloka – Plavyna

Ukrains Nexsound label have been around for quite some time now, dividing their time and energy between releasing ‘real’ CDs and releasing MP3s. Katja Zavoloka hails from Kyiv in the Ukraine and has released a couple of MP3s albums and some CDRs, most notably for Zeromoon (see Vital Weekly 414). That was a bit too short to say anything about it, but here is her debut release on a CD, co-released with Austria’s Laton label. I’ve read that the “Plavyna” album is inspired by the folk music of her region, but it’s probably not entirely my unawareness that I didn’t recognize any of this in the vivid rhythmic yet abstract digital sound collages of Zavoloka until after the seventh track. Melodies arrive in there, here and there, but most of the time things are hectic and full of energy. Sometimes the use of reverb is a bit too tedious, but as a whole this is clicks ‘n cuts of the better kind. In ‘Kosytsia’ she reaches an almost technoid beat, with warpian senses. In the final pieces of the album, she starts chopping up the folk tunes, which she does rather nicely, but however this also breaks the album in two different things, which is a pity. However, the entire album is quite nice as a whole.
Fdw

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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)

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v/a – Polyvox Populi

About ten years ago a compilation came out called Novaya Stsena, featuring underground music from Kharkov and other cities in Ukraine. It was an amazing document of the creative sounds produced before and right after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Now a new compilation shows us that great music is still being made in Ukraine. Polyvox Populi, the title a play on words of vox populi and polyvox, the soviet version of the moog synthesizer. Ten groups perform 12 tracks, two of them being collaborations between 2 of the groups. What strikes me overall is how the CD flows together, as if they were produced by the same group. Some of this is due in part to groups sharing members, or collaborating, but more likely a result of the thought put into compiling the tracks for this CD. What really appeals to me is how the groups here seem to not be affected by current fashionable trends in electronic music, and prefer to operate in their own sonic realm. Yes there are some clicks and cuts (most notably in the great harsh edged track by Kotra) and laptopisms, but the music has feel of experimental music of the late 70s-early 80s, with its analog sounds, rhythms, and drones. But it never succumbs to retro fetishism, rather more a result of the years of cultural isolation under soviet rule. One of the few benefits of the old regime, was that experimental music developed on its own, with its unique take on western influences when it encountered it. The track by The Moglass could have been released on the old UK label Third Mind, with its process guitars, rhythm box and atmospheric sounds. Sidhartha presents us with a nice looping bit of electronica, swirling keyboards, tabla-like glitching, along with the accompaniment of a baby’s cries. The Moglass team up with Alphonse De Montfroyd for a track of lightly played, percussive guitars and intriguing loops and processed environmental sounds. Alphonse’ solo track is a hard edged rhythm machine, like old Esplendor Geometrico. Nihil est Excellence, which is nexsound boss Andrey Kiritchenko’s project (along with Sidhartha), creates a highly irregular pulsating piece of musique glitch concrete, composed environmental sounds. Cold War Mechanizm’s track is very reminiscent of the 80’s hometaper band F.A.R., with its sequencer lines and processed ambient sounds and tapes. The other groups on this compilation, Caste’, First Human Ferro, and Fragments are contribute strong tracks. Most of the groups contained herein have other releases on nexsound in cdr format, all of which come highly recommended. (JS)

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