Piotr Kurek is a music creator, born in Biłgoraj, Poland in 1978. His music goes far beyond the boundaries of any genre known to mankind and his creative energy seems to be limitless.
Artist biographies usually start with detailed information about their academic background but you can hardly learn to create the kind of music Piotr Kurek makes at any academy. His truly innovative and genre-spanning pieces of music come from unfettered exploration and a blending of various inspirations rather than through education. This is why Piotr Kurek does not hold a degree in classical or jazz piano but has established himself as one of the most distinctive creators of avant-garde music.
From the very beginning of his career he founded bands which were not meant to last for years and record many albums. Instead, he almost always started ephemeral projects which aimed at registering the results of Piotr’s meetings with other artists.
I like it the way it is. I meet people, we record and then there is no continuation... That is not to say that I exclude working permanently with somebody else but at the moment I just don’t feel it necessary.
His full-length debut came in 2000 with an album of the electronic music project Ślepcy that he co-founded together with Marcin Stefański, recorded for the Berlin-based Kool.POP label. The album blends the craziest breakcore beats with folky melodies which results in restless music of an unheard-of provenance.
Contemporary dance and theatre
Throughout the rest of the decade Kurek focused on his cooperation with Lubelski Teatr Tańca (Dance Theatre in Lublin, with whom he very often performed live) as well as Międzynarodowy Ośrodek Inicjatyw Twórczych Rozdroża (‘The Crossroads’ International Centre for Creative Initiatives). In 2009, he co-authored a play titled Powidok Miejski which made it to the finals of the competition at the Poznań Malta Festival.
In 2008 he released the album Inne Pieśni (Other Songs) which consists of his reinterpretation of songs recorded during the Songs of the Balkans festival in 2008.
His successful cooperation with theatre and contemporary dancers as well as the enthusiastic reviews of his music earned him an artistic residence at the prestigious Centre Chorégraphique National de Rillieux-la-Pape under the supervision of the famous Yuval Pick. This is where, in 2012, he staged his Flatbush – a play for a motorcycle and colourful clothes. In 2012 he worked with Pauline Olivieiros during her workshops in the United States, thanks to U.S. Department of State's One Beat scholarship.
In 2009 Sangoplasmo records label released Dalia – the first album of Piotr Kurek’s project Piętnastka (Polish for ‘fifteen’). The music on Dalia is very dense and consists of a universe of sounds created by Kurek, boosted by live drums played by the extraordinary Hubert Zemler. The outcome is impossible to pigeonhole (psychedelic, sarcastic, minimalist?) but this makes it all the more impressive. Unlike Ślepcy or Suaves Figures (below) Piętnastka is still active and known for its intriguing live performances.
Next Kurek’s album for Songoplasmo was released only one year after Dalia. This time the label presented his encounter with Sylvia Monnier – a French ambient artist, known for her absolute attachment to analogue synthesizers. The album titled Nouveaux Gymnastes comprised seven tracks, titled Figure 1, Figure 2 etc. presents a multi-layered landscape of overlapping saturated sounds that please listeners’ ears and create a fairytale ambience.
Piotr Kurek Solo
In 2009, Kurek embarked on his solo career by releasing Lectures, again under a prestigious label, this time the Portuguese Crónica. The album develops the musical thoughts and sketches of Cornelius Cardew - an English experimental music composer, and founder of the Scratch Orchestra, a famous avant-garde ensemble. Thanks to Cardew’s son, Kurek used unreleased recording from Cardew’s performances, rehearsals and private archives as the basis for this recording.
His subsequent solo album came out in 2011 and again presented Kurek’s variations on specific musical material. Heat is based on sounds gathered from exotic records, from documentary movies and archives of analogue synthesizers, with vintage organ and electric piano recorded on top of it and giving it a brand new colour.
The most recent solo album by Piotr Kurek is Edena, released at the turn of 2012. It is another step in the sublimation of his musical language and another exceptional recording that is incomparable to anything else. Bartosz Nowicki, the author of the respectable music blog 1uchem1okiem wrote of it:
Edena has a sacred factor, with its nature being in the same time ritual and psychedelic. It is a completely unknown and amazing music universum. An exceptional and original thing. Mysterious but full of lightness and panache.
On his 2014 recording titled familyadventures, he was joined by Francesco de Galo on saxophone and self-released the album under the project name of ABRADA.
Author: Wojciech Oleksiak, 21.11.2014