Kucharczyk’s Best Fail Remixes
2 weeks ago, 4 April 2014  ·   0 notes

Wojciech Kucharczyk is one doyens of Polish electronic music scene, as well as visual artist and a graphic designer. Operating his Mik Musik sonic empire since 1994 (!), Kucharczyk is a tireless evangelist, championing new artists (recently, notably including modular wizard Wilhelm Bras or the idiosyncratic Czarny Latawiec), and his zeal has been reinforced two years ago, when he resurrected the Polish imprint to present an exciting new sound of the Polish underground.

He is also an accomplished musician, most renowned for his Complainer percussive combo ensemble, which has been moribund since a few years, leaving Kucharczyk space to focus on his solo output. Interestingly, it has been appearing mostly on other Polish labels, recently on the respected Monotype Rec. His Best Fail Compilation, published on the aforementioned imprint, now receives a remix treatment, courtesy of friends and affiliates. Thus, we get an insider’s view into who’s who in contemporary Polish electronics. “Lot of old and new artists were invited, some more are coming. I wanted this to be a really crazy bunch, but more or less we have rather standard remixes, but: there is a plan to make a mixtape out of theses remixes, i will do another rework of those etc. so craziness will come and it should be released on a tape. I hope it will,” says Kucharczyk.

The usual suspects are all there, Czarny Latawiec, Zamilska, RSS Boys, 8rolek, KROL, GAAP KVLT, but there are also a couple of names which have eclipsed our attention so far, including Souvenir de Tanger or Micromelancolié. There’s lot of bass, lot of techno, post-dance experiments, plenty of noodling, demented samples and whatnot. A hypnotic, shamanistic journey through the murkier side of the nocturnal clubland.


PL2UA - From Poland to Ukraine with <3
1 month ago, 22 February 2014  ·   4 notes


PL2UA compilation is an expression of solidarity and support of Polish musicians for people who suffer as a result of clashes in the Ukraine. By providing their music in digital form, the artists want to help those in need and those that require support. Independent can be understood in two ways: on the one hand as an independent music scene, and on the other as the independent Ukraine which is fought for by its people. Polish artists are supported by several artists from other countries of Eastern Europe, uncluding some Ukrainians as well. All tracks have been made available by the artists free of charge, most of them previously unreleased or prepared exclusively for this compilation.”

The compilation follows in the footsteps of a Ukrainian one, which appeared a little while ago, also in support of the opposition of the status quo that sparked the protests. PL2UA features an astonishing 53 - and growing - tracks mostly - but not exclusively - electronic and dance-oriented, with many local labels participating. Some of the tracks even bear titles expressly connected to the purpose of this compilation - such as Ghosts of Breslau's - Kiev, Haunted, newcomer Zamilska's Dissent or Lights Dim's Echoes of an Ongoing Riot . Compilations such as these aim to document a time, an ad hoc sonic manifesto, the connection between music and politics is very fragile and complex, but as they say every little helps (unfortunately a certain supermarket brand owns this phrase already, but who cares).

You can get the compilation, whose proceeds go to organisations helping Ukraine, here.


RSS Boys - N00W and their tribal shamanism
2 months ago, 6 February 2014  ·   3 notes

Very tribal. Those two words resonated through my head as I put on the latest RSS B0YS release and rhythms started to emanate in my room. This mysterious Polish duo with strong bonds to the label Mik.Musik.!. have landed their latest release NOOW on the cassette imprint Sangoplasmo.

From the very beginning of this release, the listener is transported into an uncompromising frenzy. Forget introduction or preparation. Africa is on fire, heavy drums are pounding straight from the very start, a primitive but very physical sound starts to slowly evolve into hypnotizing repetition of tribal fury filled with hazy, distant oriental auralism slowly entering into long lasting jam of the instruments.

The drum is the key and center of everything. No time to rest, beat keeps going all the time with sudden breaks and new themes entering, putting more tension and ending in a grande finale of viciousness. Side two is more relaxed and dubby with a noisy and distorted ambience filled with deep bass drum escalating into sow house groove and intense build ups and ends silently with reverbed pads. It is a noisy, but still airy nightride jam.

There is a mysterious question mark floating above the project and their tumblr page filled with pictures of oriental women in veils, masks of the ancient tribes or steampunk devices only add to this mystique. This is war without the modern weapons, pure crystallized animal fury which could set every club on fire, while still keeping a decent and sophisticated face despite it’s heavy and distorted moments.

One of their rare live acts happened on Unsound festival which banned photographs and thus only a couple of hand drawn pictures exists from their show. They dressed up in masks which resembled a cross between a burka and a bee mask. Willing to give up the indentity for the sake of the concept may not work that fully all the time, but this is not the case of the RSS B0YS, their final statement on this release is complete work of art.

By B.Arctor


Czarny Latawiec - Mikophonic Workshop, chopped and screwed
3 months ago, 31 December 2013  ·   2 notes

Some time ago Mik.Musik.! released an unusual record “Mikophonic Workshop, chopped and screwed” – the title, of course, referencing sound experiments of BBC Radiophonic Workshop but also those originating from Houston. The album consists of excerpts from the label’s releases mixed together – which reflect and remind about huge part of its history (recordings from 1999-2012 were used). It is also an invitation to rethink our listening – to make it a conscious one, to concentrate not only on what we are hearing but how we are hearing.

Similar issues concerning musical sensibility are important in the curatorial activities of the album’s author – Czarny Latawiec aka Daniel Brożek, who is taking care of Survival festival music programme since 2009 and is responsible for New Territories in Sound Art cycle at G23. He is also a music critic and a DJ whose sets are devoted to African heritage. In the past he was hosting a radio show Canti Illuminati at Radio Sitka (his blog is a kind of continuation of that).

Here’s what Czarny Latawiec says about the creation process of the album: I went back to all those recordings, I was choosing fragments which are important and interesting sound-wise for me. The idea was that it should more of a ‘sound sculpture’ than a standard mixtape. I was working more with the textures of sound, not so much with rhythm or melody.

It’s interesting to note that on most of the used releases one won’t find improvised music, however this project, akin to curator’s strategies, in live context is an improvisation. Each situation of working with the richness of Mik back catalogue effects in different results. This kind of approach to live sound diffusion could be seen as belonging to the French tradition of acousmatic music. Recordings are merely a score, only when they are played live by an artist, present in an actual space, who is sculpting in sounds we get the full end result. Recently the new sound culture was developed and I’m not only speaking about composers or musicians in wider sense, but also careful listeners, conscious of the act of hearing and all that is connected with it.”

And what are those pieces? Many of them were recorded by one of a kind Mołr Drammaz, a band created by Mik boss Wojciech Kucharczyk and his sister Joanna Bronisławska. Thanks to this project around 1994 Mik.Musik.!. was born, it grew on the ground of friendship to become a blossoming label. On “Mikophonic Workshop” there are excerpts from “Skórzana maska” (“Leather Mask”) a record which was largely improvised piece for theatre. Those experiments with electronics were ahead of its time. There are also fragments of “Presents: to.je.take.co.take.to.!.”, were the music was mostly created by children (with a little help of Mołr Drammaz) and “Boazeria” (“Wainscot”) – a multidimensional album with a whole lot of new instruments and concepts. Some parts from the recording of a joint concert with Neurobot from 2001 also found their way here. *Retro*Sex*Galaxy*, a Mik founder solo project, is also frequently present with its unearthly sense of humor, boldly toying with conventions, referencing pop-culture or frivolously playing with a Bollywood phenomena (“Time is Rupee and Love Costs Nothing”). At times it’s noisy plundrophonic, as on ‘Concrete Steps’, which was done together with Dreams of Tall Buildings & Digital Etah, but started from children’s interaction with old 7” records. Basic inspiration for all *R*S*G* activities is a book “Zajmująca fizyka” (“Entertaining physics”) from 1955. The album titled thusly was also used as a puzzle in Brożek’s jigsaw. Kucharczyk is releasing his most personal projects under his own name and here one can hear something from his “superrityn.ses”.

This record was the first in the series in which each next one is a remix of the previous. So, later on opopop, an alias of Roc Jiménez de Cisneros (widely known as Evol) was re/de-constructing Wolfram’s “superrecombination_sys”. The result, “caro de computar”, was a kind of delightful mock-up of forest sounds, also those of creatures (sometimes imaginary ones) living there. Equally surreal and organic, albeit full of glitches, is a record by Urkuma “Misophonia”. Sebastian Buczek’s album “Wabienie Dziewic” (“Alluring for Virgins”) was record using old time techniques. It’s worth mentioning that it was pressed on a record made of beeswax or chocolate (totally eatable!). Vigilant ears will be able to track down moments of buzzing and humming microsounds from 8 rolek and Freiband releases. Or something from „Ran Midi, Out!” by brisk Asi Mina (aka Joanna Bronisławska), a collaborative effort with young and emerging musicians. One of them was the last year debutante, enigmatic Paweł Pesel whose “Ekscentryzm” was included in “even more secret series”. His techno inspired constructions bring to mind the output of RSS B0YS and it might be quite possible that he is one of them.

Since its very beginning Mik.Musik.! intrigued the listeners with sounds themselves and musical ideas. “Coming back again to the oldest Mik records I realized that many of them still sound fresh, that they passed the test of time. I reckon that those early activities, which were frequently very simple, are still up-to-date. What had changed are accessibility and awareness of the sound spectrum. More and more absorbing music is being made. We had this discussion in media during last year – ten years ago we could hardly find interesting and sound-aware polish musicians. Now we have more and more of them – labels, concerts series, even a few days festival was organized. That’s why I also dedicated this album to them.”

Pay attention to the exquisite packaging of the record – which is a Mik’s trademark. You should also check the interview and the podcast done for Easterndaze last year.

By Karolina Konstancja Karnacewicz, http://betonowechabry.tumblr.com/


Východiska Xmas mix
3 months ago, 27 December 2013  ·   3 notes

Every week on Wednesday Czech Radio's Wave station, we try to present a project, label, in a short interview format. Our show Východiska (you can check the archive of the show here) aims to map the latest happenings on the independent music scene in Central and Eastern Europe. We have created a special mix featuring our favourite labels and project, and asked them to send us their upcoming releases. Here is what came out of it.

Tracklist:
1. Superskin – Drown
2. Lightning Glove – Brave New World
3. Plevna – Imperios
4. Shamanelism - Shamanelism
5. Steaua de Mare - Babadag
6. Katraven – Stars
7. Obete Sekty – Čo ak sa nevrátim /noitt remix/
8. Jonáš Gruska - Site specific resonances II
9. Dead Janitor – Divided
10. Lutto Lento – Vengo
11. Skan-zen – Tothem
12. Carla Under Water - Cocoon Boy
13. Alpár - Psychedelic Leftovers For Sunday Brunch (Chapter ‘Definitely Bad Trip’)
14. Nightmare Carpet - untitled
15. Kucharczyk – Green Green Kick
16. Sillyconductor - Piano