Review: Sultan Hagavik – 8 Przepięknych Melodii (Sangoplasmo, 2012)

Remember that time, dear Reader, when you used to listen to your favorite cassettes in your childhood (I’m assuming the age of the average reader of Weed Temple is somewhere around early to mid twenties) and your player would just go insane (or suddenly become an asshole) and just eat up and mangle your tape in some horrific-yet-hilarious way? The sound of the Wrocław duo Sultan Hagavik is exactly this sound, except multiplied tenfold. And then multiplied again.

If you sometimes have this craving, that drug-addict-style craving for some fantastically, frenetically fucked up anti-music, releases like this come to the rescue and give you a fix of warped sounds that pose a risk of turning your brain inside out. Wait, did I write “rescue”? “Very poor choice of words”, Dark Knight’s Joker would say. The dudes from Sultan Hagavik are pretty much Jokers, they are having a fucking ball while everyone around just try to run from their creations in terror.

Nothing is sacred for them, starting with classical symphonies (the opening and closing pieces) slowing up and down with no remorse, pierced with dadaistic soundbites played at various speeds, continuing with pop pieces warped and bastardized beyond recognition, samples from movies, speech slowed down or sped up according to the authors’ whim, bloodcurdling screams repeating and suddenly cut, Arabic music laced with glitches and noises, compositions with barely any skeleton or structure filled with crackles and tape hiss.

“8 Przepięknych Melodii” (roughly translated as “8 Super-beautiful Melodies”) is a half-hour ride through relentless mutations of sound with a lot of abstract, twisted humor hidden in this haze and maze of distorted sonic madness. The album title is hilarious in itself, considering there is hardly any melody to be found here, not to mention anything beautiful. The titles of the tracks (in Polish) are also very funny, even though most of the humor is lost to foreign listeners, with names like “Uródź Budyń” (“Give birth to pudding”), “Zwłaszcza Grzegorz” (“Especially Grzegorz”), “Biedny Spektral” (“Poor Spectral”) or “Fantastyczna Muzyka Arabska” (“Fantastic Arabic Music”). Hell, even the album’s artwork is some incredible parody – they just took a stock photo of a walrus and ACTUALLY, PURPOSEFULLY left the “depositphoto” watermark ALL OVER the tape’s artwork – not only on the front, there’s actually the watermark creating a pattern on the whole j-card, even merging with the track titles on the back.

Some men just want to watch the world burn.


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