Music from Poland in 2017: A Subjective Mixtape
Weddings in Kielce, communist-era film chronicles, avant-garde Hungarians, improvised punk, post-club music, echoes of the Holocaust and Georg Philipp Telemann. Culture.pl's Filip Lech brings you his subjective, and most eclectic, playlist celebrating Poland's diverse music scene in 2017.
What happened in Polish music in 2017? Quite a lot, but to sum things up, I'd like to focus on a slice of what was most interesting. Let's talk about it in express mode, since after all you can listen to it yourself in the presented mix.
First up, Tęgie Chłopy, a group of young urban musicians who have been interpreting rural music masterfully, recording a concept album about a wedding. Then, what does Augustyn Bloch have to do with this year? The composer and organist who died in 2006? I found his piece on the record Kroniki Filmowe: Polish Library Music 1963-78, a compilation put together for the GAD label by the DJ collective Soul Service. I always like reaching towards our post-war history. For example, towards the Polish Radio Experimental Studio founded in 1957, the place that pioneered electronic music in Poland as long as 61 years ago. I also probe indie culture from 20th-century history. That's how Tibor Szemző, creator of Pole and Hungarian Cousins Be, made his way into my mix. We could see his work this year during the phenomenal exhibition Notes from the Underground in Łódź, curated by Daniel Muzyczuk and David Crowley.
Later: punk improvisers, namely The Kurws. Then Paweł Siwczak, who specialises in playing historical instruments, but in 2017 recorded an album with Danny L. Harle, one of the artists from the PC Music label. Max Eilbacher is an American, but his music is being released by a young Polish label called Mondoj – good luck to them! Further on – Youtube veterans of Polish hip-hop, Hewra. They mix into Bogusław Schaeffer, one of the most interesting composers to ply their trade at the Polish Radio Experimental Studio. Cutting into that is the talented percussionist Hubert Zemler with his new project Melatony. Orkiestra Czasów Zarazy interprets Polish threads in the works of Georg Philipp Telemann. Stefan Węgłowski, DJ Lenar and Andrzej Bieńkowski, curator of the album Kolberg po Żydowsku, each remind us of the Jewish roots in Polish music and culture.
After all these serious matters, it's time for Tomasz Sroczyński, a young musician who unexpectedly released his first symphony. It's a very bombastic piece (Poland's answer to Hans Zimmer's Dunkirk?), but at the same time extremely witty. It's mixed into post-club music, specifically the collective Intruder Alert. We also glance into the work of the 1000hz label which releases African music. At the end, we have Teoniki Rożynek's The Most Satisfying Music, one of the best things I heard this year at the annual Warsaw Autumn festival.
- Tęgie Chłopy – Śpiwa Stanisława (Wodzirej, 2017)
- Augustyn Bloch – Kosmos (GAD Records, 2017)
- Tęgie Chłopy – Sędkowian (Wodzirej, 2017)
- Tibor Szemző – A Fekete Lyukban (Budapest Film, 1990)
- Kwintet Rudzińskiego – Rahat Lukum (GAD Records, 2017)
- The Kurws – Tańce na Wulkanie (Gusstaff Records, 2017)
- Danny L Harle & Paweł Siwczak – Other Passacaglia (PC Music, 2017)
- Max Eilbacher – Unnamed (For Guitar and Tape) (Mondoj, 2017)
- YUNG'O MUZYKANT (HEWRA) – ZAMOKUO (YouTube, 2017)
- Bogusław Schaeffer – Kantata IV (Bôłt, 2017)
- I m m u n e – Shine (Intruder Alert, 2017)
- Bogusław Schaeffer – Synthistory (Bôłt, 2017)
- Melatony (Hubert Zemler) – Pomorze (Pawlacz Perski, 2017)
- Orkiestra Czasów Zarazy – Marcia Funebre (Anonym XVIII) Dance Polonoise TWV (Telemann's Poland) (Ayros, 2017)
- Stefan Węgłowski – Modeh Ani (Kairos, 2017)
- Jan Rogoliński (b. 1907) violins, Józef Lament drums – Polka Żydowska, Oberek Mendla, Opowiadają Muzykanci (Muzyka Odnaleziona, 2017)
- DJ Lenar – Nit-Hein (Bôłt, 2017)
- Tomasz Sroczyński – Symphony No. 1 'Resurrection' (Allegro) (Sygnał Records, 2017)
- Astma – Hyacinth Trash (Intruder Alert, 2017)
- Kukaya – Malayirano (We're coming) (1000hz, 2017)
- Teoniki Rożynek – The Most Satisfying Music (2017)
Originally written in Polish, translated by AZ, 1 Jan 2018