PRES Sampling #3 – Bartosz Weber
full-width, PRES Sampling #3
– Bartosz Weber, Bartosz Weber, photo: courtesy of the artist, center, weber_fot_dzieki_uprzejmosci_artysty.jpg
Having sampled the Polish Radio Experimental Studio's music, Bartosz Weber talks about the life of a sampling artist.
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.
As part of the 100th anniversary of Poland’s regaining of independence, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute commissioned compositions based on the PRES samples. Bartosz Weber 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.
PRES Sampling #1 – Wojciech Kucharczyk
In The Garden of Press Pack was produced by multi-instrumentalist Bartosz Weber. He is the co-founder of the bands Baaba and Slalom, as well as a member of Mitch & Mitch, Warszawska Orkiestra Rozrywkowa, and the Lado ABC association. He is currently concentrating on a solo project under his own name and his new material is a return to electronic music. As a guitarist and sampler, he plays in his own band Baaba, which has so far recorded five albums and given countless concerts in clubs and during renowned festivals in Poland and abroad. In Mitch & Mitch, Weber finds fulfilment playing guitar, keyboard, percussion and a sampler. Together with the group, he has recorded four albums, toured all over Europe and reached even Brazil and Israel.
Filip Lech: What was your first encounter with the music of the Polish Radio Experimental Studio?
Bartosz Weber: I don’t remember! But I’d assume it wasn’t the easiest to listen to. As a young lad, I wasn’t interested in contemporary music. I’d guess that I started with the Study for One Cymbal Stroke by Włodzimierz Kotoński.
FL: Is the ethos of experiment dear to you? How is electronic music experimental in 2019?
BW: Obviously, I like to get involved mostly with the sound layer. As a self-declared sampler, I try to approach music in a way that makes at least a couple of its aspects bring about something new. The context is also important. I only fully understood Kotoński’s Study… after I started working with sound production myself.
The experimentality of electronic music in 2019 depends on the point of view. At the end of the 20th century, there was a term in electronic music called ‘abstract beats’. But these were not actually abstract beats – what would that even mean – some people simply thought about them this way. Experiments should move a given field forward or they should at least help us understand its mechanisms.
PRES Sampling #2 – A_GIM
FL: Is PRES music outdated or does it sound modern?
BW: I find many interesting and uninteresting things here. It’s important that the music is good, not modern.
FL: What meaning does the history and tradition of electronic music have for you? Do you refer to the past in your music?
BW: The history and tradition of electronic music have a great importance for me. I refer to the past, present and the future.
FL: Which PRES artist is your favourite?
BW: For a long time it was Eugeniusz Rudnik, he’s one of the flagship composers of the PRES. I really like the composition Ptacy i Ludzie (Birds and People). I recently started to really appreciate Witold Szalonek and his combined sounds, his preparation of wind instruments (like in Piernikiana).
FL: Which sound from the PRES sample library was the most to your taste?
BW: In general, it’s a very interesting selection, Marcin Staniszewski did a great job. It’s a shame that there are samples from only three composers, because the two mentioned above – Rudnik and Szalonek – would have fit here perfectly as well.
Interview conducted in Polish by email, May 2019; translated by MW, June 2019
Poland was the Epicentre of Rebellion and Dissent: An Interview with Bolesław Błaszczyk