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Czarny Latawiec – Mikophonic Workshop, chopped and screwed

Published December, 2013
by Easterndaze

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).

Mikophonic Workshop, chopped and screwed by Czarny Latawiec

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:!.”, 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 “”.

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,