Fitoplankton (Self Produced; 2011)
Alesander Papierz (sax)
Michal Dymny (guitar)
Tomek Gluc (electronics)
Jakub Rutkowski (drums)
Andrzej Sawik (piano)
With a combination of traditional fusion and a modern rock aesthetic, Nucleon are building an exciting book of material that we should really take note of. The group, developed by founding members Jakub Rutowski and Andrzej Sawik, quietly (or loudly) built a huge following within their home country of Poland. Their self-titled debut is fantastic and has all the elements of a young group searching through their influences but also creating its own identity.
The ensemble suffered a major loss last year with the unexpected passing of the classically trained co-leader, Sawik before the group could finish its next record. But Nucleon forged on and created the beautiful, Fitoplankton, an album that explodes through the speakers with vibrancy and urgency. With a sound that is reminiscent of King Crimson, Headhunters, Last Exit and ironically, Nucleus, Nucleon is that "something different" you've been looking for the last couple of weeks.
"Where R U Going Boy?" rambles ans swirls with almost 'third stream' quality in the outset with Papierz and Gluc leading the charge. Sawik, whose piano parts are sampled in perfectly, joins in as the rest of group follow. It's an heavy laden groove that lots of funky moments but the standout performances lay between Papierz, who's delivery is on fire along with Rutkowski's pulsating timing that never lets the group simmer down. "Metalug", another bristling piece highlights the groups rock influences with a cavalcade of chords in its opening that never really lets up. It's a short piece that soon rolls into the quiet and evocative "Sola W Occie" which is driven by Sawik's classical keys and gently moves back and forth between ambient and experimental thought. Papierz delivers some nice almost Coleman-esque solo passages with Gluc and Rutkowski adding eerie direction just underneath his notes.
"Fitoplankton" presented me with thoughts of Red era King Crimson mixed with the keyboard psychedelics of Headhunters. The group mix a sense of raw, gritty energy thorugh Dymny and Rutkowski but tempered by some buoyant floatation from Papierz.
Nucleon are a group that I hope will soldier on after the lose of their influential co-founder. They found a way to intermingle Sawik's pieces into this power record which keeps is name alive. But it also gives the group a new point of direction for the future. Check out our good friend Maciej from the blog Polish Jazz for a great look at Nucleon's last effort. Both albums are well worth seeking out.