[ Self-released, 2017 ]
I’ve been in luck when it comes to jammy, instrumental Polish bands. After Królestwo and Produkty Rolne comes time for a band named Jocelyn Packard. Little is known about them, apart form the fact they named themselves after an influential Twin Peaks character and they play the kind of neurotic, angry post-rock that was big before it went all GY!BE-like and lost most of its balls. However, this self titled debut album doesn’t give a fuck about being sentimental and goes instead for being angry, alienated, even tortured at times, when taking a sludgy, doomy turn. The slightly lo-fi production only enhances the smoggy mood. Recommended debut!
[ Self-released, 2016 ]
Last year’s album by the Polish noise rock unit Artykuły Rolne (which could be translated as “Agricultural Commodities”) is a shackled beast, which is struggling to free itself and sometimes spews scorching fire. The amount of energy and layers contained on this LP could be given to a few albums by a few bands, and the sheer, cosmic lysergic energy is conjured by heavily effect-laden walls of guitar noise and heavy, doomy drumming. When you name one of your tracks “Kosmos”, you gotta go huge. And goddamn, they do. This amount of heady, wide-eyed psychedelia is rarely to be seen. It’s almost like an anomaly. There should be more anomalies like this. Highly fucking recommended.
[ Music Is the Weapon, 2016 ]
Dreams of Power: The debut album by the Gdynia based free rock trio Królestwo (Polish for “Kingdom”) is a listen I find difficult to describe. The best way to describe this album would be simply “free rock”, but that’s a simplification. The compositions are really open-ended, usually built around some simple bassline or rhythm that morphs and changes forms over time, but almost always returning, like an endless repetition. The open structure might suggest some psychedelic rock or post-rock influences, but Ćwiczenia repetytywne has an uniquely dark, almost industrial air to it: you can almost feel the smog hovering above bleak urban landscapes. This album is a big, dark cloud that slowly sucks you in and puts you in a trance with its ominous power. Highly recommended!
[ Recognition, 2017 ]
Polish visual and audio artist Bartosz Zaskórski explores the half-forgotten, dusty memories as Mchy i Porøsty (Polish for “Moss and Lichens”), exploring the strange zone between being awake and asleep and trying to rebuild full compositions out of snippets of remembered moments from the deep past. The newest album by Mchy i Porøsty is as hypnagogic as it gets, erasing all semblance of clear melody or structure under a heavy shroud of faulty memories and the dust of past experiences. Distorted tape loops emerge and disappear under hazy drones and meticulous musique concrete in the vein of Wanda Group, except with some occasional thumping rhythms and a somewhat industrial air about it. Like drinking several beers in a car on a foggy parking lot and slowly drifting off to unconsciousness. Recommended (the album, not the drinking)!
[ Dunno Recordings, 2016 ]
Looney Tunes in MIDI: There is a somewhat hazy backstory to this album: the label blurb claims is an archival release by the Polish electronic musician Andrzej Nowak who might actually not be Andrzej Nowak at all. The brief description at the label page states that it’s an archival release of short electronic pieces recorded between 1987 and 1994 for a series of cartoons. Apparently, the soundtrack was scrapped because the producer didn’t like it. However, it’s extremely hard to find any information to confirm this and every attempt to Google musician Andrzej Nowak ends up on Andrzej Nowak the rock musician, who was the founder of the Polish heavy metal band TSA. Whether it’s a genuine archival album or a brand new alter ego mindfuck, the MIDI sounds on Cocktail Paint are deliciously wacky and cheap-sounding, which would make a great early 90’s computer game soundtrack. Strange!
[ Instant Classic, 2016 ]
On their third studio album, the Polish band Innercity Ensemble keeps their central idea of improvisation strong, but this time the music is more concise and rhythm driven. Despite a double album (like it was in the case of II), they go for a shorter, yet fuller experience, balancing between tribal trance and jazz aesthetics. What stands out here is the amazing drumming – everything else is subject to it, it’s the rhythm that rules the album. Innercity Ensemble is a supergroup – but not a kind of supergroup that has some big names in the roster and releases something mediocre. They do exactly the opposite: their cooperation on III is so perfect they might as well be one organism. And they manage to express their organic approach to improvisation and psychedelia with truly magnetic power. Highly recommended!
[ Instant Classic, 2016 ]
The eighth studio release by the Szczecin based rock group Kristen is their psychedelic to date, this time turning to minimalism and setting their organic jams on the foundation of trippy loops. While the concept of a simple, looping riff has been done many times before, to name Pharaoh Overlord, Cave or Oneida (and their labelmates Lotto) as some most obvious examples, Kristen’s songs are both smoother and smokier, ornamenting their music with gentle synths and a spacious atmosphere that somehow feels more mind-enhancing than the previous experiments with repetion. Not to mention the phenomenal interlude “Wyspa”, breaking the trance with a heavily layered, droning mass of sound that sounds like La Morte Young jamming with Spencer Clark. LAS was completely unexpected, and it blew me away. Highly recommended!