Cezary Gapik: Contrast I
The first in a planned trilogy of vinyl releases on White Box Recordings (with the other two scheduled for 2011), Contrast I is the work of experimental composer and audio terrorist Cezary Gapik. Born in Czestochowa, Poland in 1963, Gapik developed a love for punk rock and new wave (Cabaret Voltaire, Public Image Ltd.) before discovering avant-garde composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen and La Monte Young and the works of electronic figures like Mick Harris (Lull, Scorn), Illusion of Safety, Thomas Köner, and others. In a manner befitting the album title, the release’s two sides can be heard as distillations of two of Gapik’s primary areas of musical interest, with the first side a noise-based piece and the second an isolationist-ambient setting. Though his micro-tonal drones include computer-processed sounds and field recordings, nothing identifiable in any literal sense emerges in these abstract pieces.
“0473 [Tremor]” is an appropriate title for the grinding assault of rumbling convlusions that is the release’s first side. A twenty-two-minute exercise in so-called “power electronics,” the piece is a monolithic slab of aural granite whose unrelenting hum of static and noise could easily pass for construction equipment operating at full throttle. Such a description would appear to make the idea of listening to Gapik’s material a dauting prospect indeed, but,truth be told, the experience is less harrowing than one might expect. The roar stays at a fairly consistent pitch, for one thing, so that once the listener is acclimatized, the ride becomes steady and in its own way scenic, especially when slivers of metallic lava punctuate the material’s upper surface. A radical comedown following the opening side’s onslaught, side B’s “0458 [Drowsiness]” unspools at a much quieter level for fifteen minutes; obviously a diametrical contrast to the opening piece, the second one breathes calmly with washes and tones ebbing and flowing and crawling in and out of phase. Fans of Peter Rehberg, Kevin Drumm, Tim Hecker, and Thomas Köner may find Gapik’s work to be worthy of investigation. Issued in a run of 400 vinyl copies, Contrast I will see the first hundred pressed on blood red vinyl, fittingly enough.