Michael Jacaszek

(Copyright © 2010 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
Lo-Fi Stories (2004), 6.5/10
Treny (2008), 7.5/10
Pentral (2009), 6.5/10
Glimmer (2011), 6.5/10

Polish electroacoustic composer Michael Jacaszek (1972) debuted with the Lo-Fi Stories (2004), that were assembled from music "found" in old music-boxes and cassette tapes.

He turned to high-brow art with the fragile chamber music for digitally processed classical instruments of Treny (Miasmah, 2008). Rytm To Niesmiertelnosc I is a delicate, gently pulsing adagio for strings caressed by a ghostly female voice. The violin whistles, the guitar tinkles, the cello ticks like a clock and the contralto sings a wordless hymn in Lament. The even slower Orszula introduces anguished tones and the shiest piano ever. The soundscape can be foggy and abstract, but something always makes sense of it: in Walc the hissing noises hatch a hummed heroic elegy. Powoli marks the supreme fusion of chamber, industrial and glitch music: a simple iteration of elegant sounds, some of them melodic and some dissonant, and eventually a distant echo of the female singer. The sense of emptiness can be overwhelming, particularly in Martwa Sisza, in which the feeblest of voices meanders in the company of muffled drones over a petrified beat. The effect can be so tender that one could talk of "Mozart-ian dissonance" in describing the melancholy flow of tones in the vast empty space of Taniec. The "movements" of instruments and vocals are calculated to achieve a highly cinematic quality even though they seem to be played by zombies. There are relatively straightforward lieder like the folkish O Ma Zalosci and the lovely childish lullaby Rytm To Niesmiertelnosc II . A supernatural calm permeates these pensive but never brooding compositions.

He went for melodrama and even shock on Pentral (Gusstaff, 2009), notable instead for the wildly extravagant shifts of mood, volume and timbre driven by sudden bursts of pipe organ. After the brooding shapeless first movement, one is confronted by the sheer massive organ explosions of the second movement that alternate with pauses of quiet metallic tinkling. The third movement plunges into his trademark glitchy emptiness, this time with darker overtones than in the previous album. The fourth movement is a slow crescendo of sustained tones, culminating with an organ drone, that, again, creates a dreadful atmosphere. The fifth movement, like the third, is a half-naked intermezzo clad in mystery and darkness. The sixth is pure madness: a mellow pulsing industrial metronome alternating with spikes of church organ plus requiem-style choir or with the angelic crooning of a seductive female voice. After another movement of relative (if cryptic and brooding) calm, the eighth places a wandering vocalizing voice centerstage amid sounds evoking a religious ceremony and electronic drones. The ninth is another murky electroacoustic blend and the last one transitions from a subdued confused chaos of percussive sounds to an ecstatic female hymn.

Glimmer (Gusstaff, 2011), meticulously arranged with harpsichord, clarinet, acoustic guitar, metallophone and electronics, returned to the elegant format of Treny but with a neoclassical aspiration. The disorienting biomorphic soup of sounds of Goldengrove already achieves a climax of intense counterpoint, but Pod Swiatlo is all about classical melodic counterpoint, and What Wind Walks Up Above tries to create simple harmony out of both melody and dissonance. If Evening Strains To Be Time's Vast soars into a maelstrom of harsh digital drones, Seidene Stille plunges into Jacaszek's trademark visions of apocalyptic emptiness. The (guitar) melody emerges powerful out of the chaotic shimmering tones of Even Not Within Seeing Of The Sun. As Each Tucked String Tells completely abandons the reluctant detached stance of the past for rapid guitar and harpsichord strumming, but still immersed in a forest of unfinished sounds. The album ends with the serene pastoral scene of Windhover . This time Jacaszek worked with no vocals.

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(Copyright © 2010 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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