Posted on Jan 7th 2011 12:52 am
White Box Recordings 2011
02 Tracks. 37mins51secs
Born in the industrial city of Czestochowa, in the south of Poland, in 1963, when the country was under communist rule, Cezary Gapik grew up to become a punk activist in the early eighties before discovering the likes of Cabaret Voltaire or PIL, then later on avant-garde composers such as Stockhausen, Morton Feldman or La Monte Young, which have since partly defined his work, which has, until now, been entirely self-released.
As its title suggests, this very limited vinyl-only album, the first of three to be issued over the course of 2011 on White Box, is a contrasted affair, presenting two very distinct spaces, almost at opposite of the sonic spectrum. Bearing rather enigmatic titles, somewhere between Pantone reference codes and health assessment, the two tracks making this release hint at such different worlds that they could have been carved up by totally different artists.
On the A side, #0473 [Tremor], stretching well over the twenty-minute mark, sounds like a heavily sedated Pan Sonic slowly dipped in a bath filled to the brim with sulfuric acid. It is difficult to determine the exact make up of the overwhelming sonic structure which develops slowly over the course of the piece. Distorted electric guitars or electronics, processed radio signal, decaying white noise, whatever it is that Gapik uses to build this piece is layered continuously and offer very little recess from the dense barrage of noise. Things become a tad more civilised around the half way mark, but this is only temporary, and the digital abrasive assault soon picks up intensity again, although taking on a very different aspect again. In the latter part of the track, aggression is replaced with various levels of introspection as the piece slowly dies down.
By contrast, #0458 [Drowsiness], at just a nudge over fifteen minutes, is a much more polished and, dare I say, refined, construction. Here, Gapik assembles round muffled tones, moving them in the spectrum as to create a constant rippling effect which, while unsettling the surface, never actually appear to disturb the under layers. If the harsh textures of the first track proved somewhat unsettling, the smooth and gossamer feel of the second feels like an underwater dive of epic proportion.
So different are these two pieces that one would be hard pushed to second guess what Cezary Gapik may unleash next. His dark abrasive soundscapes on #0473 [Tremor] are sharp and intense, yet he is equally at ease with the gentle atmospheric pulses of #0458 [Drowsiness], making this first installment an impressive release.
Contrast I is released as a limited edition vinyl-only run of 400 copies, with the first 100 copies pressed on blood red vinyl.