Michal Jablonski - Humanity [Zoharum - 2020]
Polish techno musician Michal Jablonski began life as a DJ spinning records in the clubs of Warsaw. He was so inspired by the heavy sounds of those techno records that he decided that it was time for him to produce his own music. This led to Michal experimenting with different styles and genres of electronic music, in order to discover his own path. Michal has since stopped DJing other people’s music to concentrate on producing his own. Humanity is only Michal’s second full-length album following on from his full-length debut State Virtual, and a host of singles and Eps.
Humanity represents only the second full-length album of Michal’s career. It sits about as far from his techno beginnings as is possible whilst still remaining an electronic artist. Gone are the dance beats and driving beats to be replaced by ambient drones and found sounds. Michal has stripped his sound back to something primal, related more to wyrd ambient electronica and industrial music than dance. The album features eleven tracks of crumbling atmospheric electronica that remind me of avant-garde soundtrack composer Mark Korven, whose Lighthouse and The Witch scores would make great companion pieces to Humanity. The album has a really nice flow to it, whilst still managing to sound dark and creepy. The whole thing has a sinister feel to it, whilst the tracks featuring guest appearances from DID (Earth and Sun) add to that creepiness with some ominous and bizarre vocal lines.
It’s difficult to pull out individual tracks for praise as the album works more as a complete piece, however the aforementioned "Earth" and "Sun" are interesting because they change things up a little with the addition of vocals, whilst "Before All" manages to take things up a level into heavy industrial territory with some almost tribal sounding drum beats, the likes of which can also be heard in "Sun" the album’s other up-tempo number. Title track, "Humanity", takes things back down into ambient territory but it has a much lighter feel to it, less of the unrepentant horror style gloom of the album’s opener "Ghost" and tracks like "Landing" and "Arrive". The album’s final two tracks, "Atmosphere" and "Earth - Last Days" take us back into the darkness of the album’s beginnings. The digital version of the album features a bonus track, "Eternity", almost eight minutes of atmospheric drone built around a little musical motif.
Overall, Humanity is a solid piece of work, at it’s best it is sinister and creepy in much the same way as some of Mark Korven’s work, however when Jablonski steps into the light, the effect is less interesting and more generic. The good news is that doesn’t happen too often as Jablonski spends most of his time lurking in the darkness.Darren Charles