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Poland> Krakow

Published August, 2010
by Easterndaze

Krakow counts as one of the most picturesque cities in the country and also – consequently – a sort of a tourist trap, a living Central European “museum” full of stunning architecture. As is often the case in aesthetically pleasing exteriors, we were struggling to find good musicians here, who maybe thrive in their uglier counterparts. The infrastructure is there, Krakow is, in the end, the city with several globally recognized events in terms of the more adventurous music, such as the more indie-rock oriented Off Festival or the Unsound Festival.

Kreng presents Main Titles (Unsound Podcast)

The annual Unsound festival, which is currently in its seventh year, and which last year also successfully exported a plethora of Polish musicians to New York, has usually a well-informed line-up (this year it includes the Polish debut of Oneohtrix Point Never, Emeralds, Mordant Music, etc.) We met up with Unsound’s organizer, the affable Mat Schulz, an Australian expatriate who has been living here since the 1990s, in Krakow’s artie/bar Kazimierz district. This year, they have ambitious plans with Unsound with ad hoc commissions – for instance a world premiere of Ben Frost and Daniel Bjarnason collaborating with Krakow’ s Sinfonietta Cracovia

Few hours before we met Mat, we walked to the industrial area of Krakow. Within a stone’s throw from Oskar Schindler’s factory, there is another type of warehouse – Fabryka Klub, a fairly extensive precincts, that houses music and arts events. Today it was populated by Krakow’s well-groomed hipsters, who danced to the beats of the city’s premier bass music duo Supra1. Their DJ sets, however, failed to catch our imagination…

Exploratory Music From Poland is a Audiotong-released compilation that came out in Wire

On Friday, we met Marcin Barski from Audiotong, the leading Polish experimental label. Upon his recent visit to Poland, Marcin was the Polish connection to Biba Kopf, who wrote an extensive article on Poland (with a slight hint of Western nostalgia for the dark, Communist plagued East). We chatted with Marcin and his Ukrainian friend, the musician Denis Kolokol, about contemporary Eastern European music and its relevance in the West, drawing from the local context vs. blatant or latent copying of Western trends, authenticity and Catholicism.