In his music, Mirt explores the relationship between technology, nature, and spirituality. He uses synthesisers, various samples, and home-made instruments. Field recordings and self-made modular synthesisers are part of his practice too. Mirt is also a graphic designer: he usually creates the covers of his albums himself. Unrestricted creativity is at the very core of what his field recordings are about.
Tomasz Mirt was born in 1979, in Warsaw. He is graduate of the Faculty of Industrial Design of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. He is musician and painter; he has worked as a graphic designer in music magazines such as Zine and M|I. Additionally, he co-owns Xeoc Devices, a company which produces modular synthesisers. Mirt is also one of the founders of the group Brasil and the Gallowbrothers Band (previously One Inch of Shadow). He also owns three record labels: Cat Sun, Monotype, and Saamleng. Yet, the majority of his work consists of solo recordings.
Mirt’s music is made up of analogue electronic tunes and synthesisers as well as field recordings. Field recordings are a core part of Mirt’s activity – he travels around the world with a microphone, recording the sound of streets, bazaars, parks, temples, and even water. The artist explained:
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My first month-long trip to Thailand was an accident. However, it turned out that it was the place I needed: the perfect mixture of cheesy mysticism, kitsch, futurism, and nature. At the same time, it was a journey into the future and back to the past. Vietnam, Cambodia, and Nepal added additional layers to all of that.
Mirt’s field recordings from Asia were not enhanced with synthesisers or acoustic instruments. Up until now, he released Khmer & Siam Recordings, Bikes In Hanoi, Bats In Phong Nha, A Winter Day on Tarutao, Songs and Prayers From The Kathmandu Valley and BKK. When asked about the places he would like to visit with his recording equipment, Mirt responded:
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Definitely Socotra and Antarctica. When you see pictures from Socotra, its endemic flora is otherworldly. I would like to know if the island’s sounds are as different as its flora is. I was encouraged to see Antarctica by Chris Watson’s radio broadcast on Touch Radio. It is also connected to my interest in Gordon Hempton’s work and his quest to find a place where no man-made sound can be heard. Actually, I would like to go further and find a place where you can’t hear anything. I also find Patagonia interesting, but I’m afraid that due to the weather conditions, recording there could be quite challenging. However, I really want to record the way wind blows there. Those who record in the field often work in a way similar to photographers, choosing the best lighting and the best angles. In my practice I try to avoid that, as I want to record the truth.
In 2014, Bôlt Records released Mirt’s album Solitaire, which is a part of the Polish Radio Experimental Studio series. Solitaire reinterprets Arne Nordheim’s work. Mirt tinkered with some aspects of the Norwegian composer’s music, making the recording slower, highlighting its different parts, and focusing on its ‘meditative dimension.’
In October 2015, the album Vanishing Land came out. The artist brought up environmental degradation and the way it affects technology and religion. The musician explained:
It is an allusion to the musical concept of the Fourth World developed by Jon Hassell. Bangkok too inspired me. The title refers to the world which is cultural melting pot, a fusion that preserves contrast between the tradition and modern technology, but also focuses on hybrids and rubbish. It is almost like the world of Blade Runner.
Decaying Land was released in the autumn of 2015, the album was a continuation of Vanishing Land. This time Mirt focused on human relationships instead of environmental changes. While, Vanishing Land was inspired by Asia, Decaying Land concept was connected to Europe and the United States.
While talking about his inspirations, Mirt referenced the Qatsi trilogy directed by Godfrey Reggio. The motto of Decaying Land is a fragment of Paul Dunbar’s poem The Haunted Oak. Mirt explained how he perceives the relationship between the artist, his work and the recipient:
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It’s easy to write and tell a story through text. But when there is nothing written, the imagination works. Comparing the images with a title or a poem give a certain context, you are forced to think. It is more open to interpretation.
In the meantime, Mirt worked on Random Soundtrack – a so-called extended field recording or a musical écriture automatique. Once again, he composed and used field recordings to create a soundtrack for peacefulness in the chaos of everyday life. As the album cover, Mirt used his own paintings:
The painting I used for the album cover is from a series: the normal life of mythical creatures. The idea was to collect photos of random people and change them into mythical beings. It was important for me to build a contextual framework through the stolen pictures. Some of them were famous images and some very anonymous, private photos. For example, I used some police photos. It builds up a realistic situation and then one is captivated by fauns, Cthulhu and other creatures.
He thinks of sound design in a similar way:
Sometimes the traditional sound reminds me of something else – saw sounds from horror films or the analogue synthesiser with a sample & hold filter used to depict spaceships in sci-fi films. I’m conscious that my practice may seem unclear, but it helps me to create. My recordings exist in a niche, but the element of escapism is essential. When the context is uncertain, it is possible to fill the gaps with your own content.
In autumn 2018 Blinded by The Lights, directed by Krzysztof Skonieczny, premiered. It was a series based on a novel by Jakub Żulczyk. The music for the series was composed by Marcin Masecki and Mirt. In a very short time, Mirt recorded eight hours of audio material and a lengthy soundtrack.
Compilations and collaborations
Mirt’s solo recordings can be found on the compilation albums released by labels such as BDTA, Jasień, Monotype, Pawlacz Perski, Pointless Geometry, Requiem, and Zoharum. In December 2008, the album Si Si was released. Mirt collaborated with Tomasz Gadomski – a musician who mostly plays percussion instruments in groups like The Band of Endless Noise.
In 2010, Mirt recorded with Gadomski once again on the Exploratory Music From Poland Vol. 2 compilation, for the 317th issue of British Wire Magazine. Mirt’s music appeared also on Polish Radio Experimental Studio Revisited 1998-2018. Later, he recorded two albums with Ter – Sultans of S#&*$" (concert version) in 2014 and Bacchus Where Are You? in 2017.
Author: Jacek Świąder, February 2019
Translation: Magdalena Majkowska, March 2019
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2001 – Rain in City of Myrrh and Forget-Me-Not
2002 – Journey through the City or Six Strange Signs in Molnars Diary
2003 – Most
2006 – Oh! You Are So Naive!
2008 – Si Si (with Tomaszem Gadomskim)
2010 – Handmade Man
2011 – Artificial Field Recordings
2012 – Grasslands Recordings
2013 – Heading South
2013 – Rite of Passage
2013 – Mud, Dirt & Hiss
2014 – Solitaire
2014 – Khmer & Siam Recordings
2014 – Afrikanische Völker EP
2014 – Definitely Late EP
2014 – Modern Electronics EP
2014 – Sultans of S#&*$ (with Ter)
2015 – Vanishing Land
2016 – Bikes In Hanoi, Bats In Phong Nha
2016 – Searching For Shelter EP
2016 – Random Soundtrack
2017 – Bacchus Where Are You? (with Ter)
2017 – A Winter Day on Tarutao
2018 – Songs And Prayers From Kathmandu Valley
2018 – BKK
2018 – Rain in the City of the Past
2018 – Decaying Land
2019 – Floppy Disc Suite