PRES Sampling #9 – Contest Winners
default, PRES Sampling #9 – Contest Winners, Krzysztof Penderecki and Egeniusz Rudnik, photo: Andrzej Zborski / FOTONOVA / Forum, center, studio_eksperymentalne_polskiego_radia_rudnik.jpg
Let’s listen to the winning tracks of the Polish Radio Experimental Studio contest, in which artists used existing samples from PRES to create fresh new tracks.
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 more than 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 for users of the program Ableton – one of the most popular programs for producing and editing sound. The jury was made up of representatives from IAM, Radio Poland channels ‘Dwójka’ and ‘Trójka’ as well as The Quietus. Jurors chose four winning tracks, though one member bowed out from receiving recognition. Winners of the contest are: Adrian Hindmarch, Bad Progress and Tymon Zaniewski.
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The English producer created an electronic, multifaceted track relating back to music from the 1950s. On top of that sound, there are echoes of the digital aesthetics from the late 1990s and early 2000s.
‘Where’s the future we were promised, with flying cars and robot butlers?’ – Bad Progress asks in their experimental track Rest & Relaxation. Their song speaks to the future that never arrived: utopic visions that came about during the post-war technological boom. The musicians say the ethos of experimentation is important to them, moving away from conventional musical structures to instead build atmospheres, moods and soundscapes. They say Bad Progress tries to create music speaking to the place in which it created, answering the ideas that linger in the air – succinctly and immediately. The history of experimental music influences their creations but they try not to look backwards too often, so as not to turn into curators who pick out the methods and sounds they want. Their music focuses on the present.
How did the idea of Rest & Relaxation come about? The band members answered:
PRES Sampling #3 – Bartosz Weber
PRES Sampling #1 – Wojciech Kucharczyk
The idea was to re-contextualise the samples into our own musical language, introducing some of the kind of guitar, synth, vocal processing and rhythm ideas we use in the rest of our work, as well as giving the track a ‘live’ feel. It was important that there were several changes of chord pattern and time signature in the track, but with the lead parts remaining the same, to emphasise the idea of the samples moving through different contexts, as they have moved from the time of their creation to the present day, and their sound and history are re-interpreted into a modern setting. There is a big afrobeat / Tony Allen influence on the drum part, which we feel is not something that would normally sit alongside these samples, but it is a key part of our musical landscape in London in 2019, as are the delayed guitars, trap-ish snare patterns, pitch shifted and auto-tuned vocals.
Zaniewski is a high school student from Gdańsk. He listens mostly to ambient music, soundtracks from video games and drum & bass. He has been involved in music production for three years. He also has an interest in programming and history. He discovered PRES from an article on the Ableton blog. Zaniewski says that before the contest, he was already interested in the beginnings of experimental music and the possibilities that using laboratory equipment opened up. Only later did he discover that similar experiments were being carried out in Poland. In his winning track Dust, he created a rhythmic, ambient landscape with samples from bygone machinery mingling with unnatural nature sounds.
What does experimenting in 2019 look like for him?
PRES Sampling #8 – Jlin, Matmos & Mouse on Mars
I consider every attempt at using something new within a specific genre a form of musical experimentation. In today’s world, the field of experimentation related strictly to the synthesis of new sounds is far narrower than during the times of PRES. In an era where music is made with the help of computers, we’re capable of recreating almost every sound and transforming it any way we want. Despite this the only innovation of new programs and instruments are differences in the interface and an easier way of doing what has always been possible. That’s why I think that experimenting with electronic music in 2019 depends less on creating new sounds and more on arranging existing sounds in new, unexpected ways. This approach is in line with the methods of PRES. The studio’s compositions are almost entirely based on samples, and most of them were created with the help of scientific equipment.
Polish Radio Experimental Studio
polish electronic music
polish contemporary music
Sources: Interview conducted with contest winners by FL
Originally written in Polish Nov 2019, translated by AZ Nov 2019