Sultan Hagavik is a duet established in 2011 in Wrocław that focuses on creating experimental and improvised music. It consists of two academically educated musicians: Mikołaj Laskowski and Jacek Sotomski. They cooperate with artists known by their nicknames: Måggda and Drag Queen Pasterka.
Their leading field of activity may be defined as tape-deck music. Magnetic tape as a material music carrier is both the result of their work and an elemental product made into an analogue montage with the use of cassette deck players and dictation machines. They use original tapes and their own recordings with various sources of sound and music, including radio broadcasts. An advertising jingle, a pop melody or a Tomasz Sikorski or Giacinto Scelsie song undergo Sultan Hagavik’s improvisation. However, the source is not greatly important; rather the tunes and textures are. The musicians use a strategy similar to plunderphonics when projecting the visual side of concerts, developing names for songs, and sometimes when creating interviews with themselves for serious music journals. Additionally, the name of the band was taken from a Swedish firm designing furniture and other elements for interior decoration.
The tape recorders used by Sultan Hagavik ought to have specific features. In academic terms, we would say that the desired mechanism should have advanced analogue sound conversion capabilities. The musicians look for these in second-hand shops. Jacek Sotomski stated in an interview conducted by Małgorzata Burzyńska:
The mechanism has to work like the keys of a piano. It cannot be a modern recorder, on which you only push ‘play’ and ‘stop’.
Mikołaj Laskowski additionally explained:
We look for mechanisms in which the buttons give one room to maneuver. One can push it not too hard and feel that there is a mechanism that resists pressure and potentially can influence the conversion.
Sultan Hagavik’s concerts do not have a developed performative layer, though they are visually attractive. The musicians wear masks and colourful outfits, decorate themselves with Christmas lights and spread glimmering or shining objects on the floor. A video projection plays in the background.
The band has performed in Poland and abroad at Musica Electronica Nova, The European Poet of Freedom, Port Literacki, Strefa Bôłt, Słuchalnia, Licenses Festival (Paris) and Ring Ring Festival (Belgrad). Sultan hagavik also gave numerous autonomic concerts in Poland, Germany and Belgium, including the international ‘Eastern Waves’ tour that promotes works of the Polish Radio Experimental Studio.
In 2013 Sultan Hagavik received the OFF Grand Prix at the 34th edition of the Stage Song Review (Przegląd Piosenki Aktorskiej). The performance Passion: All These Fucking Actors Song (Pasja: cała ta chujowa piosenka aktorska EP) was created in cooperation with Martyna Majewska and a group of actors that consists of Magdalena Różańska, Martyna Witkowska, Maciej Marc, Krzysztof Brzazgoń, and Marta Kędziora. Passion caused controversy in Wrocław. The use of vulgarity in the title was criticised by Prof. Jan Miodek, a linguist from the University of Warsaw.
Agnieszka Grzybowska, January 2015, translated by Antoni Wiśniewski
- SAME PRZEBOJE, sultan hagavik, 2012
- 8 przepięknych melodii, sultan hagavik, Sangoplasmo 2012
- 9 Symphonies, sultan hagavik, Bôłt Records 2012
- TDNWHSINGLE, sultan hagavik, 2013
- Passion: all this fucking Actors Song (Pasja: cała ta chujowa piosenka aktorska EP), sultan hagavik, 2013
- TDNWH, sultan hagavik, Bôłt Records 2014
- Pole Reports from Space, Bôłt Records 2014 (KØSMØPØLEX FORTE)