"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Imperfect by design

Imperfect by design. That’s what Out of Forgetting is. Linking his spoilt poesis to a theme of ‘destroyed memories’, Szymon Kaliski composes by blending ‘badly played’ (his words) instruments and field recordings in pieces providing for both planned and improvised musical gestures. The young man from Poznań brings to his debut - on Audiobulb man David Newman’s digital-only label, Audiomoves – a kind of homespun Mitteleuropa take on 12k-style post-digital electro-acoustic minimalism, cloaked in crackle and sad wisps of piano pathos.

In seven brief well-tempered works woven of tremulous tones, respiring sustains, and piano plonk, this minimal mover of sound captures and releases his timbres, gently maltreated, commingling aleatory forays into introspective vignettes. Although minimalist in spirit, Out Of Forgetting does not want for sonorities, with various ebb and flow undercurrents in dark waters, gently thrumming, micro-pocked and crisped with crackle like a softly smouldering fire, and various fractured sound tokens of memory slippage. The monochrome cover shot of a cup, ashtray and unlit cigarette, with lugubrious titles compound a certain just-so flatness of musical habitus; motifs are almost deliberately simplistic, as if wanting to be honest and eschew all pretentious conceit. There’s a feeling of restraint and withholding, as if each gesture carried a small cargo of repressed emotion behind them.

"A point to" emerges in a field of static and a lugubrious two-chord piano motif, that gets increasingly (ill-)treated, somewhat in the style of Matthew Cooper/Eluvium’s Concert Silence. "As Unimportant" brings forth swathes of tone colours and choreographs them into arcs and dives with maybe a ghostly familiar of early Tim Hecker attending. "Or Delicate" has piano droplets falling in a fog of drones in a sad simple sequence that, Basinski-esque, finds fellow-feeling between abstraction and intimacy.

Szymon Kaliski - Or Delicate by Audiomoves

"Of Decay" is initially so perfectly textured it feels like Stephan Mathieu may have passed close by – that is until some distracted mix-fidgeting comes late in the day to mar the event. "In Twelve Scenes" comes with a reverb-doused plucked string resonance that forms the spine of the piece around which spiral snatches of speech and silence sprinkled with interference. “For Patterns” ruminates over doleful piano bleeding into reverb/delay-doused drones.

For Patterns by Szymon Kaliski

Though this is Kaliski’s first release, it shows an ability to make modest parts amount to more than their sum, proving himself fit to be filed next to others of a similar stripe. A propos of which, you can find a mix of Szymon-selected tracks at the estimable play my tape.

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