Before I went to Poland recently, I researched the Polish experimental/weird music scene. A bunch of it is interesting and deserves more recognition! So for the next 14 days I’ll post a different Polish music group every day. I’ll start with Stara Rzeka, a project that has received notice outside Poland (The Quietus, Tiny Mix Tapes). It blends folk, black metal, and minimalism in a quite approachable way.
Polish weird music day 2 of 14. Sympli Romatikó is a Kraków-based project of Denis Kolokol, Tomek Chołoniewski, and Ernest Ogórek. In this video, Denis is demonstrating his amazing fusion of movement and sound. Tomek and Denis also have great solo recordings on the Mathka label (http://mathka.pl/). Tomek’s father Marek runs the awesome 21-year-old Audio Art Festival.
Polish weird music day 3 of 14. You may have seen them as I did, playing for hours in an art gallery at New York’s PERFORMA festival, but often noise duo BNNT pulls into town on top of a truck, shirtless and wearing balaclavas; Daniel Szwed plays drums and Konrad Smolenski a guitar modeled on a Tomahawk missile; they blast at incredible volumes and drive away before anyone knows what happened.
Polish weird music day 4 of 14. Drummer Macio Moretti (aka Maciej Moruś) runs DIY electro/rock/improv label Lado ABC and recently toured the US in duo LXMP with Deerhoof. I saw him play with Mikołaj Trzaska and Raphael Roginski in Shofar (avant-jazz takes on Jewish melodies, on Kilogram Records). Others to check out on Lado ABC (among many) include Marcin Masecki and SzaZa.
Polish weird music day 5 of 14. Strange Lóóp is a project of musician Patryk Lichota and dancer Marta Romaszkan, playing with audio and visual feedback by attaching cameras and mics to dancers’ bodies. They also run a great series/festival called Friv Move Zamek and have another cool piece called Lightskin (look it up). Patryk’s other projects include plants that talk to you when you touch them, and he’s a killer sax player.
Polish weird music day 6 of 14. Piotr Kurek makes quirky, groovy, hypnotic organ/synth music under his own name and as Piętnastka (of which live versions include drummer Hubert Zemler, a Lado ABC artist). He has one release under each name on Sangoplasmo records, a mostly cassette label worth checking out. In March, he tours Germany with Bonnie Prince Billy and Poland with Kuba Ziołek (aka Stara Rzeka).
Polish weird music day 7 of 14. Wojciech Kucharczyk runs the Mik Musiklabel…or is it a publisher…collective…all of the above? He has released over 50 albums of his own music in a variety of styles, as The Complainer, Mołr Drammaz, retro*sex*galaxy, and most recently under his own name. He’ll soon release a techno album on MonotypeRec. (an interesting label that has also released music by NYC artists) – promomix below.
Polish weird music day 8 of 14. Innercity Ensemble is an improv collective of seven established Polish experimental musicians, Radek Dziubek, Rafał Iwański, Wojtek Jachna, Rafał Kołacki, Artur Mackowiak, Tomek Pop, and the omnipresent Kuba Ziołek. They’re trancy and hypnotic, balancing acoustic and electric sounds. They’re releasing a new record next month on Instant Classic (label of Stara Rzeka & Merzbow), sample below.
Polish weird music day 9 of 14. Bocian Records, Grzegorz Tyszkiewicz‘s impressive one-man operation, jointly released with Sangoplasmo recordsthe album Jedwabnik (silkworm) by one-off project Dwutysięczny (two thousand), in which Król Błażej mixed together sounds from Wojciech Kucharczyk, Radek Dziubek, and Jerzy Mazzoll. The result is a set of mesmerizing soundscapes, alternatively motionless and pulsating with energy.
Polish weird music day 10 of 14. Saxophonist/bass clarinetist Mikołaj Trzaska first became known in the ‘90s as a member of Miłość, the band that launched the “yass” music genre (and pianist Leszek Możdżer‘s career). Trzaska recently released two improv albums recorded in Chicago: a quartet on Bocian Records and the duo below with Timothy Daisy. The duo tours the US in February; dates at http://timdaisy.wordpress.com/
Polish weird music day 11 of 14. PSeME (http://pseme.com/) is the 123-member Polish Society for Electroacoustic Music, founded in 2005 by, among 14 others, Marek Choloniewski (founder of Kraków’s Audio Art Festival) and Krzysztof Knittel (founder of Warsaw’s Festiwal Ad Libitum). The two have a long relationship – check out this awesomely weird quasi-pop album released in 2011 but recorded back in 1985-86 (under communism).
Polish weird music day 12 of 14. Anna Zaradny and Robert Piotrowicz run the Musica Genera label and ran the now defunct Musica Genera Festival (improvised and experimental music). They share an interest in installations and multimedia work. Watch Zaradny play a plant on her website (http://annazaradny.net/). Solo record by Piotrowicz below, softer and less electronic than some of their music, but still pure and harsh.
Polish weird music day 13 of 14. Bôłt Records, founded in 2008, releases Eastern European experimental music organized by series, including one on the Polish Radio Experimental Studio and one (Populista) where young musicians interpret music from Schumann to the Lomaxes to Robert Ashley. They’ve co-released albums with MonotypeRec. and Bocian Records. Below, a dreamy solo record by Patryk Zakrocki (of Lado ABC‘s SzaZa).
Weird Polish music day 14 of 14. Tomek Mirt makes ambient music and runs cat|sun, a sublabel of his and Jakub Mikolajczyk‘s MonotypeRec. Mirt has released six solo albums and eleven records with Brasil and the Gallowbrothers Band, a dreamy psychedelic band that features fellow ambient artist Magda Ter, who has a solo record on cat|sun (they’re in a relationship too); listen to their upcoming duo album on label BDTA below.