Guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer, born 25 May 1961.
As the leader or co-founder of a number of important bands, Brylewski is certainly one of the most significant and influential figures of Polish alternative music as he crossed the boundaries of genre and experimented with new sounds. Regarded as one of the pioneers of both punk rock and reggae in Poland, Brylewski has been a part of numerous music projects, ranging from modern jazz to post-industrial electronic music.
Brylewski debuted as a guitar player and singer for Warsaw's band The Boors in 1978. A year later, after some personal changes, the band changed its name to Kryzys. As one of the first Polish groups to embrace the punk rock explosion, Kryzys toured extensively, but despite the band's large fan base, it never broke through to the mainstream scene. Some of the recordings made during live shows and rehearsals appeared in spring 1981 on an album published by the French label Blitzkrieg Records. Although it was released without the band's knowledge or consent, the LP drew attention to the emerging Polish punk rock scene. After a series of concerts, including few big festivals, Kryzys disbanded in summer of 1981.
Several months later, Brylewski assembled a new band along with Tomasz Lipiński (ex-Tilt). Taking on the name Brygada Kryzys, the group quickly achieved cult status among Polish public, also drawing attention of foreign promoters and record labels. Unfortunately, most of the offers (e.g. album release in Yugoslavia, a tour in Holland) were axed after martial law was instated in Poland by the end of 1981. Surprisingly, the band was asked to "test" the new Tonpress studio, which at the time was a major Polish record company, in the spring of 1982. Some of these recordings appeared in the summer of 1982 as a self-titled LP as the very first official release of a punk rock album and to this day it is regarded as one of the most important recordings of Polish rock music. Brygada Kryzys disbanded by the end of 1982.
In 1983 Brylewski emerged as the leader of another major band. Trading punk rock dynamics for Jamaican groove, Izrael was one of the first groups in Poland to embrace reggae music and therefore became the starting point and main influence for many artists, bands and DJs still active today. In May 1983 Izrael went into the studio, but the fruits of these sessions appeared almost two years later as the Biada biada biada LP. After two more albums, Brylewski moved his recording sessions to a London studio, applying fresh techniques and new production standards. The resulting album, 1991 merged tradition with cutting-edge technology and appeared to be a timeless release, with a sound that remains fresh and inspiring to this day. The band toured extensively, but after they released one more album of older songs, it was finally put on hold in 1994. Brylewski revived Izrael in 2006 (initially as Magnetosfera), and released Dża ludzie, an album of new recordings, in 2008.
While he was still a member of Izrael, Brylewski started a new band, Armia with Tomasz Budzyński in 1985. Although it was rooted in hardcore punk, Armia incorporated elements of symphonic rock, heavy metal, classical music and even folk. After three studio albums (including the monumental Legenda) and a live recording of Exodus, Brylewski left the band in 1993.
Since 1990, Brylewski has been working with Paweł "Kelner" Rozwadowski on a new project based on samples and electronic instruments. Tehno Terror, released in 1992 as Max&Kelner, combined an experimental approach with beats clearly inspired by club music. After a series of concerts this project was also put on hold, to return in 2007 for occasional live shows.
Since 1993 Brylewski has been a key figure in the Falarek Band, a group that whose music is based on merging post-rock sensibility with industrial music influences. The band quietly dissolved soon after releasing its only album in 1996.
Brygada Kryzys was reactivated in 1991 with new members. After releasing the Cosmopolis album in 1992 and a series of concerts, it was suspended once again, to return with a completely new line-up in 2003.
From the late '90s, Brylewski participated in numerous short-lived projects that fused rock, jazz and experimental music - The Users, Poganie or Dyliżans. He has appeared as a guest musician for both live performances and studio recordings in collaboration with, among others, Immanuel, Deadlock and Marionety.
As a solo artist, he released two albums of electronic music. Warsaw Beat (1998) was an uptempo affair inspired by club music, while its successor (2004) leaned towards slower, moody, dub-infused sound. As a producer, he established his own Gold Rock studio in 1991 and also worked as a sound engineer until it was closed in 1997.
Since 2002, Brylewski has been working with Konrad Januszek as 52um. This is mostly a studio project that involves numerous guest musicians. The duo released two albums 52um (2008) and Superego (2010). May 2006 saw a one-off reunion of Kryzys. Eventually, the band finally reformed in 2008 for a series of concerts. The new album, which includes some reinterpretations of some vintage Kryzys songs, appeared in May 2010 as Kryzys komunizmu.
Author: Maciej Sienkiewicz, June 2010.
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