arszyn

The Polish in Exile

Today we would like to introduce a few Polish underground artists who are underrated or even unknown in their own country, but definitely worth the attention. They play experimental music and stay out of mainstream. Sometimes, their records may be so hard to find that it may seem as if they were trying to hide them from the world.

Micromelancolié – Owl Eater

Robert Skzyński is the owner of the 49manekinów net-label and the co-owner of 77industry net-label. He has been recording and publishing his music and video art since 2003 under a lot of monikers (about 12 so far). In spite of all these activities, Skrzyński is an artist unknown even to those few who are actually exploring the Polish underground scene with some engagement. One of the most interesting of his achievements as a sound engineer is a project called Micromelancolié (in Polish: Mikrodepresja) whose latest cassette – Owl Eater (C30, limited edition of 40) – has been released recently on Already Dead Tapes & Records, a small American label „established from musicians using non-traditional methods to craft sound as art”.

Skrzyński’s approach to the issue of samples reminds me of going through one’s personal scrapbook – an archive of the most secret, intimate symbols and metaphors which are totally incomprehensible but seem to be driven by some internal order.  Lazy drones and funeral strings are layered together with a cackling of cheerful chickens, birds chirping. The most mesmerising piano is having a chat with group of flute scraps and an industrial loop. But what’s most important here: Owl Eater is a collage, not chaos, it’s a subtle symphony made of one’s handy mess. Skrzyński never loses his wits so everything is falling into right place, carefully caressing the ear and lighting up the atmosphere of your reading room. It’s postmodern mysticism, hot and dusty sampledelia similiar to Kurek's Heat or Basinki's Disintegration Loops in miniature. 

Tundra – Tundra EP

Tundra is an improv-electroacoustic project by Dawid Adrjanczyk and Krzysztof Joczyn from Gdańsk. Dawid’s solo project – Trupwzsypie – gained positive critical response for it’s debut album (Intymne życie pantofelka released in 2010 on Pitu Pitu Recordz) and was focused on hauntology in the vein of early Belbury Poly, tape ambient and samples from educational VHS tapes. Tundra isn’t that nostalgic though, it’s definitely dreamy. By using glitchy loops, samples, tapes, analog synthesizers, Vermon’s organs and such delicate instruments as flute or bells, Adrjanczyk and Joczyn are establishing an imaginary journey through vast surfaces of north Eurasia. A voyage highly recommended for every connoisseur of hazy folktronica and experimental ambiance. Tundra’s new album – Anekumena – will be soon available so check their bandcamp once in a while.

Tomasz Krakowiak - Moulins

„That’s it, I’m not into those avant wanna-be's”, one could say and, well, that may be a reasonable approach because experimental artists have let down our trust hundred of times. But Moulins by Tomasz Krakowiak seems to be a bit different. Krakowiak recorded 30 minutes of free-improv percussion – naked, dense rhythm in the vein of mad japanese OLAibi – but at the same time those tracks could get recognised as an abstract field recording or a sophisticated complimentary comment on activities of such artists as Monte Young or Harry Bertoi. Krakowiak’s eclectic approach to percussion relies on the method of capturing a sound – it’s clear just from the first spin that the microphone has been placed really close to the instrument and thus, we are listen to the rhythm „in zoom”. Because of the massive sound it’s not surprising that Moulins are being called „sound sculptures”. Check it out here.

Arszyn - B

Arszyn's latest tape released on Sangoplasmo – B – is an ultimate proof that he’s one of the most interesting Polish sound artists nowadays. Arszyn (Krzysztof Topolski) has always – or to be accurate since the 90’s – been fascinated with the phenomenon of soundwalk and on his new release, he takes listeners for an audio tour of a troubled place.  is a typical noisy tape full of tape hiss, chaotic strings, field recordings and sudden dissonances so characteristic for horror soundtracks. According to Wikipedia, dissonance is a „combination of notes that sound harsh or unpleasant to most people” and Arszyn takes this definition a bit further by saturating loud and disturbing sounds with a sentimental glow which makes noise even more haunting. It’s like listening to grotesque memories especially because of the hypnotic rhythms which constitute Arszyn’s own memory of his first experiences as a professional drummer. B is for Burial Hex in the pleasant, ironic mood.

by Filip Szałasek. Check out his fantastic blog here.