UKRAINE NEXSOUND NS 68 LP (2012)
With a healthy swathe of over 40 recordings under belt, among which roisterings with the likes of Francisco López and Kim Cascone, Nexsound label founder (and occasional visitor to Sound Projector pages) Andrey Kiritchenko now unveils Chrysalis: a petri-dish for musical metamorphosis in which ‘acoustic instruments and electronics flow into one another, dissolve in devolution, decay in a space of interactions’ and experience ‘rebirth’. Well, there’s a palpable sense of dew-dropped newness and wonder throughout: a beguiling innocence that arises from the satisfying compositional integrity of a solid set of slow and graceful jazz numbers for an augmented quartet of clarinet, double bass and violin and whatever else Kiritchenko happens to deem apt for each occasion. Tracks stroll the gamut from mechanically precise electro-jazz shapes to lusher, more laconic orchestral outings, pleasant surprises abounding from one moment to the next.
Bass-driven with warm, round tone, ‘Vortex Singular’ establishes the quirky, hobbling rhythm that runs through much of the record; a clarinet mantra bobbing overhead, with an occasional riptide of electronic screech. Forgivably brief spells of synthetic string stabs do set teeth on edge, reminders of Innerzone Orchestra’s electro-jazz or ‘90s Ninja Tune (which no-one seemed to have a harsh word for, back in the day), standing out as the one undermining element of this otherwise mellifluous melange. An arguable disadvantage of adding computers to jazz I suppose. However, guest instruments such as xylophone, thumb piano and some crisp drumming add much to the music’s resonance, its patient, layer-by-layer development and minimal mood, redolent of organic machines in a Hiyao Miyazaki animation. Each piece artfully rephrases this formula, while never quite straying into parametric extremes, and sitting side by side most successfully on side B: ‘Momentum Derive’ being a personal highlight.
My only other fault with this record is a real first-world nit-pick: its paper-thin outer sleeve really does the beautiful silver-inked artwork a disservice, along with the attractive transparent grey vinyl and the music itself, of course. If only more records suffered such slight afflictions!