One of the pioneers of contemporary electronic music on a global level, Jacek Sienkiewicz has been making music for more than 20 years, experimenting with analogue machinery to produce a unique sound that goes beyond that of the clubs. He was born in Warsaw, in 1976.
One of the pioneers of contemporary electronic music on a global level, he has been making music for more than 20 years, experimenting with analogue machinery to produce a unique sound that goes beyond the club.
His adventure with music began as a DJ in the early 90s: 'it all started with the first legendary parties in the Filtry club, followed by Merlin on Pole Mokotowskie and Alfa at Narutowicz Square' said Sienkiewicz in an interview with Jakub Bożek. In clubs, he played pulsating techno from Detroit and house from Chicago – two music genres that still resonate in his work. He quite quickly realized that presenting someone else's music wasn't satisfying enough, though, as he wanted to create something of his own, and so his Roland TB-303 synthesizer came in handy. Already in 1996, Sienkiewicz released his debut album Recognition (1996, CD), the title given also to his debut vinyl (2000, 12''). It was released by his record label of the same name. Recognition keeps on producing music to the present, releasing Sienkiewicz’s albums as well as music by musicians he's befriended.
I do not consider myself a musician, but more a creator who operates a variety of tools and instruments in order to take the audience on journeys by transforming my various ideas that I’ve gathered over the years. I find it hard to call myself an artist, but I guess I am an artist. I treat sounds like painters treat paint – I create diverse landscapes and more or less harmonic structures as well as interpenetrating sonic layers.
– admits Jacek Sienkiewicz in an interview with the Wprost weekly.
Sienkiewicz’s records drew the attention of foreign DJs and publishers – his albums were released by De: Bug Hartwaren, Keystone, Klang Elektronik and WMF Records. One of the DJs who played Sienkiewicz’s tracks at his DJ set was the legendary Sven Väth – a veteran of German techno for whom Sienkiewicz created a remix. Their relationship resulted in a contract signed by the Polish producer and the Cocoon label run by Vath. Its concert agency also dealt with bookings of performances by Sienkiewicz. For the artist from post-communist Poland, where club music was in its infancy, it was an incredible honour. Sienkiewicz lived and worked in Berlin, the European mecca of techno music, for several years.
In 2002, Cocoon label released Sienkiewicz’s first vinyl album (Téchnè, CD / LP, 2002), it was also the first studio album in the catalogue of Sven Väth’s record label which used to produce EPs only. The Cocoon also released his three subsequent albums: Displaced (CD / LP / MP3, 2004), Modern Dance (CD / LP, 2009) and On the Road (CD / LP / MP3, 2011).
Early Sienkiewicz’s productions refer to the aesthetics of club techno/house from Detroit and Chicago and to the Berlin minimal techno scene. His music stands out from hundreds of other dance tracks composed at the beginning of the 21st century due to its extraordinary attention to detail in its narrative: a multitude of subtle sounds, chords, minor interventions in the rhythm. ‘I was always interested in transmitting soul and in multilayered narrative’, says the artist.
Last Sienkiewicz’s recordings, released by Cocoon Recordings in 2011, underwent metamorphosis. The dance aspect of his music has receded into the background. The artist focused on the texture, depth of sound, and improvisation. He confessed he got tired with the club and party scene and wanted to do something 'deeper that would implement his ideas'.
In 2013, Jacek Sienkiewicz began collaborating with Uwe Schmidt, the legendary German artist residing in Chile and known as a post-modernist of electronic music (this is one of the few cases in which the use of the word ‘legend’ is justified). Schmidt released albums under dozens of pseudonyms and created music in a similar amount of styles: from rapacious techno and trance to chillout bossa nova. While recording with Sienkiewicz, Schmidt incarnated his most dynamic identity – Atom ™. Firstly, they have made a split album, Wagner - two Abhandlungen (LP, MP3, 2015), released by the Goethe Institute and Recognition Records on the occasion of two hundredth anniversary of birth of Richard Wagner.
Schmidt took up the analysis of 'Tristan chords' – a chord which consists of two overlapping themes and for many symbolizes the decline of major-minor tonal system. On the other side of the album, Sienkiewicz rewrote Wagner’s music employing more rhythmic, minimalistic, machine-like beats. A year later, a digital recording of a joint concert given by Atom ™ at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Zero Time Collapsing, was released by No. – the archive of Schmidt’s sonic actions. It was a very intense performance, full of sound effects and resembling a radio broadcast in its structure.
In 2015, another of Sienkiewicz’s album was released by No. ( Nomatter, CD / MP3, 2015). The music combines dark ambient passages, reminiscent of compositions by artists creating in experimental music studios worldwide. He took a similar path on the album Instict released by Bocian Records.
It is primarily a powerful spatialisation of Sienkiewicz’s music. Something like the transition from 2D to 3D in thinking about the sound stage. And something like a leap from the linear world of techno to the world of immersion, a story woven in a far more relaxed way.
– wrote Bartek Chaciński on his blog.
Jacek Sienkiewicz didn’t give up club music, but it definitely receded into the background; when playing dance sets he uses the pseudonym Recognition, and when performing with more 'ambitious' repertoire he uses his own name. The evidence proving that club sounds are still important for him is the album Drifting (CD, LP, 2015) in which he sums up over 20 years of experience with dance music. Each of the 10 tracks refers to the best traditions of techno: they are hypnotic, yet very artful; subtle details smoothly enter the flow of Sienkiewicz’s compositions.
- Téchnè (Cocoon Recordings, 2002)
- Displaced (Cocoon Recordings, 2004)
- Modern Dance (Cocoon Recordings, 2009)
- On The Road (Cocoon Recordings, 2011)
- Atom™ + Jacek Sienkiewicz - Zero Time Collapsing (Live at MSN Warsaw, 10.08.2014) (No., 2014)
- Nomatter (No., 2015)
- Drifting (Recognition, 2015)
Singles & EPs:
- Recognition EP (Recognition, 2000)
- Directions (Recognition, 2000)
- Meaning (Recognition, 2000)
- Item / Microfilm (De:Bug Hartwaren, 2000)
- The Real Link (Recognition, 2001)
- The Truth (Recognition, 2001)
- Pocket Control EP (Trapez, 2001)
- Slope EP (Klang Elektronik, 2002)
- Case Theory (WMF Records, 2002)
- The Evidence (Recognition, 2003)
- Narrative (Recognition, 2003)
- Dream Machine EP (Cocoon Recordings, 2004)
- Absolut Sienkiewicz (Absoluttracks.com, 2004)
- Time Starts Now (Recognition, 2005)
- Six Feet Above / Perpetual Motion (Recognition, 2005)
- Double Secret / Secret Life (Recognition, 2005)
- Jacek Sienkiewicz & Marek Raczkowski - Warsaw For Beginners (Recognition, 2006)
- Untitled (Recognition, 2006)
- Good Night And Good Luck (Cocoon Recordings, 2007)
- Living In Oblivion (Smallville Records, 2007)
- Forgot To Tell You (Recognition, 2007)
- Spirits Of Life (Recognition, 2007)
- Mirrors (Recognition, 2007)
- My Little Place 2 (Cocoon Recordings, 2008)
- Beacon (Recognition, 2008)
- Pier Bucci & Jacek Sienkiewicz - Eastern Promises (Recognition, 2009)
- Modern Dance EP (Recognition, 2009)
- Pier Bucci & Jacek Sienkiewicz - Eastern Promises Pt 2 (Maruca, 2009)
- Who Told You That? (Recognition, 2010)
- X Years Later (Recognition, 2010)
- Magic Mountain 3 (Numbolic, 2011)
- On The Road Again 2 (Cocoon Recordings, 2011)
- Atom™ & Jacek Sienkiewicz - Wagner - Zwei Abhandlungen (Recognition, 2013)
- Instynkt (Recognition, Bocian Records, 2015)
- Max Loderbauer, Jacek Sienkiewicz - Ridges (Recognition, 2015)
Author: Filip Lech, ed. & transl. GS, August 2015