Cezary Gapik – The Sum Of Disappearing Sounds | review by Bruno Lasnier (The Milk Factory)

Posted on April 2, 2012

1


Although he started as a punk activist in his native Poland in the early eighties, at a time when the country was facing the first onslaughts of the huge struggle to escape the grip of communism which would characterise the next few years, Cezary Gapik went on to widen his musical horizon greatly as he discovered Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle and Public Image Limited, and, later, the musical experiments of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Morten Feldman or La Monte Young. His own production, for the most part self-released, has been nothing short of prolific since 1999, but his official debut release came only last year on the excellent White Box Recordings with Contrast I, the first of three instalments planned for the label.

The Sum Of Disappearing Sound is quite an epic offering and is articulated around four atmospheric pieces clocking between eleven and sixteen minutes. Working from field recordings, prepared instruments and processed electronics, there is a certain post-industrial fatalism about Gapik’s work which often results in dark and abrasive sonic constructions. This is not quite the case with Uncertainty [#0522] however. If the piece remains extremely ambient and drone-based, the actual soundscapes forming its backbone are extremely sleek and polished, and ridden with miniature electronic noises and tones, sounding at times like cohorts of digital crickets and birds. Although the drone continues to develop through the whole sixteen and a half minutes of the piece, it keeps to its pastoral realm for the duration. Whilst this is actually rather peaceful, there is an underlying tension running through the whole piece which, whilst extremely discreet, still infuses a certain edginess throughout.

Things instantly take a turn into much more rugged terrains on The Gradual Loss Of Elasticity [#0529], but here again, the overall tone of the piece remains fairly subdued, albeit denser and more dystopian, as Gapik keeps a free-flowing drone moving through granular components for two-thirds of the piece. In its last segment though, the track goes through a series of mutations, first becoming more distorted, then progressively closing upon itself in its dying seconds. Taking shape around a processed saturated electric guitar which is increasingly disfigured, Idiomat [#0528] continues the shift towards more distorted sonic structures started with the previous track, and here things become much more tensed. Gapik slowly adds layers of distortions through the piece, and processes them to alter the density of his assemblage accordingly. Still, No Beginning, And… Without End [#0516] goes beyond noise to reveal a much bleaker set up. Here, Gapik relies on just one long desolate drone which never really change texture or aspect through its whole course, contrasting quite drastically with the constantly shifting sounds of the three previous tracks.

There is a real sense of a journey through this album, from the gentle pastoral opening piece through to the more rugged and dense middle two compositions to the arid and desolate soundscapes of the closing piece, and, despite the different aspect of these, it all feels very much as part of a considered whole, a purposely designed progression, which is a strong testament of Cezary Gapik’s great maturity as a musician and sound artist.

themilkman  [Bruno Lasnier] | The Milk Factory

 

 

Posted in: Music