Friday, March 16, 2012

Arszyn: Polymer

Topolski/Szwelnik (duo)
Polymer (Self Produced; 2012)
Krzystof Topolski (drums, electronics)
Tomasz Szwelnik (piano, guitar, electronics)

I stumbled into Krzystof Topolski's work as Arzyn last year thanks to Maciej at the great blog, Polish Jazz. Since then I have been devouring everything I could find with his name on it.

On his latest collaboration, Polymer, he has created another other-worldly concoction of found sounds and beautiful improvisations. Added by the Cage-ian work on keys by Tomasz Szwelnik, the duo set out on a path that is dense and expansive. Their use of space and soft, short notes develops a level of calm in the listeners ears as these two long pieces move through your speakers and your mind.

"Poly I" builds slowly with pops and subtle percussion's and kit brushes until midway where Topolski and Szwelnik deliver an abstract exchange of ideas with broken chord changes and interesting sound effects, leaving you wondering if you are experiencing a performance by The Necks. It's fascinating material that later moves a series of nature sounds aided by some light strumming from Szwelnik on guitar. A quiet yet haunting conclusion to an opening movement.

"Poly II" picks up on the haunting imagery with some echo chamber effects on the drums and stop/start pecking the piano. "Poly II" seems to be the more free formed of the two pieces. Each musician plays off the other uniquely with different instruments and layered effects/loops. Topolski makes great use on found instruments within the opening minutes as his percussion sounds almost like hard pulses on the vibes.

The atmospherics are revved up towards the middle as the sound become more deep and ominous. Almost turning into a groove before leveling off with a melody that emerges by Szwelnik's hands. This carries on for awhile before returning to a bass drum heavy with electro-acoustics and experimentation. The duo battle this theme out to the end wonderfully with chimes and counterpoints from all sides.

Polymer, like many of Krzystof Topolski's other combinations is an acquired taste. And like the chemical definition of the albums title, there are multiple streams occurring throughout this forty minute piece, but if you let your mind wonder through the darkness, you'll find this is yet again an unbelievable journey.

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