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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Lech Nienartowicz - Wzdłuż Pasma [Kosmodrone - 2018]

Wzdłuż Pasma severs up a decidedly wonky & uneasy mixture of wavering synth textures, off-kilter percussion elements, unwell electronics, and weird field recording flotsam & jetsam. This is seemingly the first full length release from polish based sound artist Lech Nienartowicz, after a split with Michał Wolski four years ago.

Instead of enlightening us the releases six-panel foldout mini gatefold really deeps the mystery & uneasy of the whole thing, as aside from the releases name & very small font text detailing the track titles -there are no texts or explanations of what we have here. Instead, we get a random picture of sand covered monitor, hair-like textures with purple streaked lines on top, and abstract blurred shapes & lights.

The release takes in just three tracks but has a traditional album length runtime of around forty-four minutes. I guess you’d describe what we have here is a mix of unwell ambience & mood music, blended with elements of fairly abstract percussion & bizarre, often difficult to discern the origin of field recordings- with some slight darts into more slurred & surreal electronica. It really is a difficult release to try & tie down- both structurally & genre-wise, which of course makes the whole thing so much more curious.

Starting things off we have the shortest track here "Północne Słupy"- which comes in just shy of the eight & a half minute mark. After some seemingly random and unsettling junkyard scarps & knocks- these off-kilter layers of knocking & slightly reverbed vibe like percussive hints appear. Around these build a slowly pitch shifting & drunken selection of wavering keyboard melodies- these have a very uneasy & melancholic feel to them, around them we start to get weird elector swirls & swoop. The whole track just seems to get more unwell & bent as it progresses, and to me, it brought to mind some weird junk funhouse floating in a faded Day-Glo sea- strange I know, but that’s what I pictured.

The second track is "Nowe Ślady", and this slides in just sly of the eleven-minute mark. To begin with, get a selection of electro gamelan-like stab tones- this underfed by this hazing shimmer brood like layer, and by the second minute, an sort of melted Arabic melody has entered & is played of sustained organ keys.  At around the three & a half minute when you feel like you might have come to term with what we have here- the layers drop back until there's just these aged sways of crashing waves, pitch-bent seagull sounds, and weirdly melted chirping elector textures. Fairly soon this wavering & forlorn church organ-like melody lightly drifts through it all- yet never fully becomes firm or set.


Finally, we have "Dwa Kamienie"- this is the longest track here at nearing twenty-five minutes. It opens in a very vague & hazed manner, with a series of fading in stretching & churning tones- maybe there  some sort of stripped back & distanced field recordings of a road or machine shop. At around the four & a half minute mark, these bell like tolling  hits are added in, and these sort of drift & knock in a very slurred & lose manner, never really shaping into a true melody.  As we drift further in things get blurred  by rushing & sudden chugging textures - and around these are these weird grainy filing & scraping tones.  And by around the 10th minute, a constantly pulsing-yet-reduced synth bass line has appeared, buried under the seemingly random layers of knocking, chugging & ringing percussion- which is blended with these almost harmonic string twangs.  In the remaining time, the track seems to drift & swin in a fairly random manner- with sudden speeding past string plucks & key hits, ringing percussion build-ups, and strange ambient flotsam & jetsam


Wzdłuż Pasma  is a  decidedly weird, and often out of sonic focus release that sits awkwardly between off-colour mood music, blurred musique concrete & very abstract ambience/ electronica.  This is only ltd to 200 copies, so if it sounds like your thing best act sooner, than later...

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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