Tadeusz Sudnik was born in 1955 in Warsaw. For many years he worked in the Polish Radio Experimental Studio where he recorded electronic, theatre, film and ballet music. In the 1970s he participated in Andrzej Bieżan’s projects, such as Cytula Tyfun da Bamba Orchiester and Niezależne Studio Muzyki Elektroakustycznej [editor’s translation: Independent Studio for Electroacoustic Music] and Andrzej Mitan’s projects, such as Koncert Figur Niemożliwych [Concert of Impossible Figures] or Ptaki [Birds]. Then he drove through Europe as a part of Tomansz Stańko’s project combining jazz and electronics, which back then took the continent by storm and was repeated several times (in 2004 and 2016).
In the first decade of the 21st century Sudnik was a member of two bands: Amuses, led by Adam Pierończyk (an album and a tournée) and Transylvania led by Maurice de Martin. Since 2001 the artist regularly performs intuitive music in unusual locations as a part of Kawalerzy Błotni band (together with Krzysztof Knittel, Jerzy Kornowicz, Ryszard Latecki, Mieczysław Litwiński, Tadeusz Wielecki). He also collaborated with Apostolis Anthimos, Mamadou Diouf, Zohar Fresco, Gunnar Geise, Peter Giger, Adrian Mears, Alina Mleczko, Leszek Możdżer, Helmut Nadolski, Zdzisław Piernik, Andrzej Przybielski, Der Rotte Bereich, Dom Um Romao, Sonny Sharrock, Stół Pański, Gary Thomas and Michael Zerang.
Apart from that Tadeusz Sudnik contributed to more or less ephemeral projects such as Sudodud with Tomasz Duda, Park Maszynowy with Włodzimiersz Kinorski, Linia Zwykła with Aleksander Korecki, Interakcje with Krzysztof Knittel, Analogics with Wojciech Konikiewicz, Digivooco with Pierończyk and many, many others. He performed at festivals in Montreaux, Berlin, La Mans, Madrid, Athens, Zurich, Gdynia (Summer Jazz Days), Wrocław (Jazz Nad Odrą/Jazz on the Odra) and Warsaw (Jazz Jamboree, Warszawska Jesień/Warsaw Autumn, Ad Libitum).
As the artist said in an interview:
I got interested in radio, because it was the only way to listen to music at home… I might’ve been 12 or 14 years old. Back then, in order to listen to music you had to make yourself a small decoder, which had to have a huge antenna on the top of your building, and be earthed. You plugged a diode into it, an earphone and so you could catch a transmission broadcasted on long waves. I missed the good quality so much that I've started to construct more and more advanced radios. Ultimately, I started to build a megaphone with my schoolmate, as I wanted to have something to record with. … As I played on drums I soon became a part of the school orchestra. I hated following music score, I always wanted to play something different, something I was into at a given moment, and so I lost my enthusiasm soon, the impulse which put me on this traditional path of music education. Fortunately, I was still interest in electronics, which ultimately led me to The Polish Radio Experimental Studio. … Playing live on a computer, in front of people – it’s not for me. To me that's distasteful, seeing a man in a pale light of computer screen, sitting mournfully and digging in the computer, and in the end you don’t know what he’s doing, whether he's actually playing or not. That's why I prefer devices with keys I can punch. So that people at least know that it is me handling the keys, that this is not some kind of a hoax. … Now I play only in the 'concert' mode or 'trance' mode – the performance lasts several hours, and I perform only with one vocalist or one instrumentalist. Sometimes I put aside the device, which, looped, plays on its own for a moment – this is a kind of playing that club music entails.
In over four decades Tadeusz Sudnik managed to create his own original style of electronic music, characterised by the use of samples, recovered samples and sounds, a range of unusual generators (including mechanisms and noise makers) and smooth analogue sounds, favouring loops and clear rhythm. What proves the firsts characteristic best are two of Sudnik’s projects: Stołeczne Przedsiębiorstwo Oczyszczania i Mieszania Dźwięków [The Central Sound Cleansing and Mixing Service], and a cyclic party Skup Dźwięków Nowych i Używanych [Purchasing Center of New and Used Sounds].
List of Sudnik’s favourite instruments includes synthesisers and grooveboxes. During his solo performances he creates a kind of a miniature studio on stage, where in the labyrinth of cables one can notice membranes, bowls, cookies and… wooden birds. Lately the composer has also been creating autonomous electronic music in spacious digital aesthetics at the same time not resigning from using samples, loop, multiple layers and rhythmicity (CubaSX).
He is also active in the field of gallery and illustrative music. In 2006 he showed the installation Kolej rzeczy in Mazowieckie Centrum Kultury i Sztuki, composed the soundtrack for the ballet Pajzaż nocą with the choreography conceived by Barbara Kędzierska (it was performed in Teatr Wielki – National Opera over 43 times) and for the play Drewniany Człowiek directed by Stasys Eidrigevicius (The Studio Theater), as well as electronics for the Double Opera HEARTPIECE performed in The Kitchen, New York. He also created a feature installation Filonik–Sudnik in BWA Gallery in Bielsko-Biała. However, the uncountable live concerts, jam sessions and improvisation located between intuitive, traditional, electronic, contemporary and retro music remain Sudnik’s element.
In a review of the album Tadeusz Sudnik & His Friends in Arts Robert Ratajczak wrote:
Despite the fact that the records come from different sessions realised over the course of nearly 20 years, the album is a logical and cohesive whole. All the pieces are characterised by exceptional fantasy and the sense of the protagonist of the album, who exposes analogue sounds of synthesisers, electronic processors and effects of nature. Despite the impressive list of musicians who collaborated to the album, these are the beats, sound effects and ambient sounds produced by Sudnik, the Master of Ceremony, who are in the centre of the album. Effects and solutions generated by the artist are at the same time rhythmic and harmonic, and this is because he improvises. Sudnik faultlessly plays loops and samples in the exact time, whether he uses Tomasz Stańko’s trumpet or Adam Pierończyk’s saxophone; he can also give a exceptional sound to Andrzej Mitan’s recitations. The records represent a wide stylistic range: from Tomasz Stańko’s Freelectronic achievements mixing jazz and electronics through the rhythm-intense trans records such as Canadada, to the experimental, avant-garde records at the end of the album (Symphonic, Cats In Space) and 7'37" realised by the Studio of Impossible Sounds. The album constitutes a kind of a neatly prepared anthology of Tadeusz Sudnik, showing the subsequent stages of his activity and as such it would definitely interest both electronic music and jazz lovers.
Originally written in Polish by Jan Topolski, translated by NC, July 2017.
• Jubileuszowa Orkiestra Helmuta Nadolskiego, Jubileuszowa Orkiestra Helmuta Nadolskiego (Alma Art, 1984)
• Andrzej Mitan, W świętej racji (Alma Art, 1984)
• Tomasz Stańko nad Freelectronic, Witkacy Peyotl (PolJazz, 1986)
• Tomasz Stańko and Freelectronic, Switzerland (Polskie Nagrania Muza, 1988)
• Stół Pański, Gadające drzewo (1997)
• Teh (2), I-IX (2000)
• Adam Pierończyk, Digivooco (PAO Records, 2001)
• Adam Pierończyk, Amusos (PAO Records, 2003)
• Tadeusz Sudnik & His Friends In Art (Polonia Records, 2006 / Audio Cave 2017)
• Maurice de Martin and Berlin Jazz Composers Ensemble, Transylvaniana (Chaos 2004)
• Kawalerowie Błotni and MSMT, Sceny z bezkres (Rozdroża, 2012)
Selected illustrative pieces:
• music for Joanna Stańsko’s instillation Dancing Blue (1983)
• music pefrormace for the film Deja vu (dir. Józef Piwkowski, 1988)
• music for the ballet Pejzaż Nocą (Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera, 1995)
• music for the documentary Wielkie dusze, małe cuda (dir. Jerzy Bogucki 1997)
• music for the documentary Wewnętrzna moc (reż. Maria Poszwińska, Stefan Żuchowski, 2005)
• installation Kolej rzeczy (Mazowieckie Centrum Kultury i Sztuki in Warsaw, 2006)
• music for the documentary Tombakowanie (dir. Maria Poszwińska, Stefan Żuchowski, 2007)
• music for the documentary Kamienna cisza (dir. Jerzy Bogucki, 2007)
• music for the spectacle Drewniany człowiek (Studio Theather in Warszaw, 2007)
• music for the spectacle Wiara nadzieja, miłość (Stara Prochownia Theather in Warsaw, 2008)
• sound for Stanisław Dróżdż exhibition OD-DO (Propaganda Gallery in Warsaw, 2009)
• Filonik – Sudnik installation (BWA Gallery in Bielsko-Biała, 2015)