The music of Pink Freud can’t be described with a single word or easily pigeonholed. What is certain, however, is that it is a quartet driven by its charismatic leader Wojtek Mazolewski, and that it is widely regarded as Poland's most energetic improvised music band.
Pink Freud was founded in 1998 in the Tricity (an area on the Baltic coast consisting of Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot). Since that time it has gone through numerous changes in personnel, hundreds of long tours and noticeable alterations in the direction in their music. What was in the beginning yet another post-yass formation that was expected to break up soon (as most yass bands did), became a strong and consistently developing voice on the independent music scene.
Their first album Zawijasy (2001) is deeply rooted in the aesthetics of yass – long trance pieces based on strong grooves from the rhythm section and long, free solos with scanty composition. Similar to many other bands of that time, there are a lot of straight-ahead jazz echoes in there, like walking on the double bass, Miles-esque trumpet parts or typical fusion drum grooves. Although Pink Freud toured quite a lot, they were rather a part of the strong post-yass movement than its leaders or distinctive members.
Yass? - find out about the genre's beginnings and its winding story
The Breakthrough – Sorry Music Polska
In 2003, Pink Freud came back with the album Sorry Music Polska, the title of which playfully criticised the dominance of major recording labels and the music they promoted at the time. Yet the music on the album did this even better. Sorry Music Polska is a result of cooperation between the new core of the band (Mazolewski, Ziętek, Staruszkiewicz) and one of the most creative pianists, Sławomir Jaskułke, the skilful DJ Wojak and Paweł Nowicki (who was reassigned from drums to electronics). The surprising amalgam of sounds from the 60s and 70s, blending the freshest electronics with a solid portion of jungle / drum’n'bass, was a masterpiece that lifted Pink Freud to the position of the most promising electric-jazz band in Poland and gave them the opportunity to sign a contract with Universal Music Polska in 2007.
Punk Freud & Alchemia
With the significant popularity achieved by the good sales of Sorry Music Polska, Pink Freud started touring extensively and that made them fall in love with live performances, playing with a high level of energy and… very loudly! The band consisting of Wojtek Mazolewski, Tomasz Ziętek (trumpet) and Kuba Staruszkiewicz (drums) achieved artistry in giving thunderous concerts. Soon, their love for electronics drifted to admiration for rock, post-rock and jazz-rock. Their subsequent albums: Punk Freud and Alchemia (a live concert recording featuring outstanding pianist Marcin Masecki) established Pink Freud as top live performers and prolific collective improvisers. This period of the band’s activity is characterised by a rough sound, fast tempos, crazy solos and lots of space for freedom and experiments - great music for an adventurous listener.
Monster of Jazz
In 2010, Pink Freud returned to the idea of blending experimental jazz with electronics. What was, however, surprising is that the new album – Monster of Jazz –was heavily produced by Piotr Pawlak, an excellent producer. The boundless energy of the band was tamed and out came a wonderful album, full of musical landscapes and sophisticated echoes of world music, interwoven with subtle electronics. Two additional musicians who took part in the recording sessions (Jerzy Rogiewicz – drummer and Adam ‘Milwiw’ Baron – trumpeter) soon replaced Kuba Staruszkiewicz and Adam Ziętek and together with Tomasz Duda and Wojtek Mazolewski formed a band that was recognized by many listeners and journalists as the most formed a band that was recognized by many listeners and journalists as the most musically-aware line-up of Pink Freud ever, with a delicacy and subtlety of sound which is unparalleled in their works both before and since.
Horse and Power
If the Monster of Jazz line-up was the most conscious in Pink Freud’s history then the Horse and Power line–up will be remembered as the most vigorous and explosive. For the purpose of this recording, Mazolewski was joined by renowned Polish drum’n’bass drummer Rafał ‘Jabba Drummer’ Klimczuk who replaced Jerzy Rogiewicz. The music itself, recorded with famous producers Roli Mosiman and Marcin Cichy (from Polish Ninja Tune stars – Skalpel) unleashed a brand new level of energy. They toured all over the world (Japan, South America, Europe, Asia) and captivated audiences every single night. A perfect blend of virtuosity, showmanship and aware control of tension & release is what makes Pink Freud A.D. 2014 one of the most spectacular jazz ensembles worldwide.
- 2001 – Zawijasy (Cpt. Sparky Records)
- 2003 – Sorry Music Polska (Zen Poseé)
- 2005 – Jazz fajny jest remix & live
- 2007 – Punk Freud (Universal Music Polska)
- 2010 – Monster of Jazz (Universal Music Polska)
- 2012 – Horse and Power (Universal Music Polska)
- 2015 – Pink Freud Plays Autechre
- 2002 – Live in Jazzgot
- 2008 – Alchemia
Author: Wojciech Oleksiak, 8th of July 2014.