PRES Sampling #2 – A_GIM
full-width, PRES Sampling #2
– A_GIM, A_GIM, photo: promotional materials, center, agim_fot_promo.jpg
Listen to A_GIM's techno track based on samples from the Polish Radio Experimental Studio, and read his thoughts on the egalitarian nature of experiments.
In 2018, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and Ableton created a library of samples based on the archive of recordings made in the Polish Radio Experimental Studio (PRES). So far, sounds created by Elżbieta Sikora, Krzysztof Knittel and Ryszard Szeremeta have been used by over 20,000 music producers from around the globe. In May 2019, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute together with the British music magazine The Quietus even announced a competition for compositions using the PRES samples.
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As part of the 100th anniversary of Poland’s regaining of independence, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute commissioned compositions based on the PRES samples. A_GIM was among the artists invited to participate in the project, as were Natalia Zamilska, Wojciech Kucharczyk and the legendary German duo Mouse on Mars. All their tracks will be soon available to listen to on Culture.pl and on The Quietus website.
The composition SEPRENATION was made by Agim Dzeljilji, a producer and keyboardist associated with the Wrocław music scene. In the 1990s, he was a member of the art-rock electronica band Deliver and he later worked with Novika and the bands Hurt and Husky. Since 2004, he has been performing with his own band, Őszibarack, which has released 4 albums and given concerts at numerous festivals in Poland and abroad. Together with Igor Pudło from Skalpel and Janek Młynarski, he created a project called Nervy in which synth sounds meet acoustic instruments. As A_GIM, he has been engaging in producing and remixing music (he has interpreted compositions by artists such as Novika, Hey and Baasch).
Filip Lech: What was your first encounter with the music of the Polish Radio Experimental Studio?
A_GIM: When I was a schoolboy at a first level public music school, my mother gifted me Bogusław Schaeffer’s Mały Informator Muzyki XX Wieku (A Little Compendium of 20th Century Music). I didn’t understand much of it, I was probably 6 years old. But the charts, the photos of advanced sound-generating tools and the magical-sounding names of great composers such as Stockhausen and Xenakis must’ve programmed my brain strongly enough that I put all my attention as a kid and teenager into experimental and electronic music.
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FL: Is the ethos of experiment dear to you? How is electronic music experimental in 2019?
A_GIM: I abandoned my ambitions and inclinations towards the so-called cognitive process for a couple years. I felt disappointed in my intellectual potential, but right now I’m happy with transposing pure emotions into the language of music. Today’s technology provides every artist, even the averagely talented ones, with huge and limitless possibilities for experimenting. Experimenting has become egalitarian.
FL: Is PRES music outdated or does it sound modern?
A_GIM: Time smooths out or even ennobles the imperfections of a given period, a given era. However, in the case of the PRES, we’re talking about the results of work by extremely conscious people for whom the finished composition was often less important than the process which had allowed them to gain knowledge. What kept many technicians and composers awake at night back then is today achieved with simple and quick operations in advanced software. Without a doubt, the PRES recordings contain the ‘magic’ of those years, as well as the sensitivity and the passion of the people composing.
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FL: What meaning does the history and tradition of electronic music have for you? Do you refer to the past in your music?
A_GIM: Very often and with much intensity. Not knowing the context might make the creative process easier but only at first. With time, that sort of ignorance becomes an obstacle. I very often and very consciously refer to the electronic music of the 1970s. The German and French scenes were particularly to my liking. I also draw a lot of inspiration from the American and the Polish avant-garde of the 1950s and 1960s.
Many contemporary artists refer to the past in a significant way. For example, the newest Efdemin album, New Atlantis, appears to be quite unique on first listen. But with a little knowledge about the history of electronic music, you can hear inspirations from Klaus Schulze’s Irrlicht album (1972). Obviously, I don’t see anything wrong with that. We create a continuity which keeps on evolving.
FL: Which PRES artist is your favourite?
A_GIM: Eugueniusz Rudnik. I had the honour of working with his music for an album recapitulating his creative output. The album is named Miniatury (2015), or Rudnik’s Cube and was released by Requiem Records. I’m also attached to the work of Krzysztof Knittel and Włodzimierz Kotoński.
FL: What is your favourite song from the Warsaw studio?
A_GIM: It’s difficult for me to point to one composition. I treat the works of PRES as a single whole, one very important to our culture. If I had to choose one track using only aesthetic criteria, I would probably choose Kotoński’s Aela.
FL: Which sound from the PRES sample library was the most to your taste?
A_GIM: The fragments cut out of Krzysztof Knittel’s music, such as the Echo Drone and Jammin.
Interview conducted in Polish by email, April 2019; translated by MW, June 2019
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