Catalogue des Arbres
For the past decade or so, Polish musician Michał Jacaszek has been exploring a new, resolutely modern chapter in Eastern Europe's long, storied love affair with classical music. His creations are painstakingly crafted collages of electronic textures and baroque instrumentation, harpsichords being swarmed by woolly static one minute and pulled apart by billowing wind the next. A push-and-pull tension runs deep and constant throughout. Ambient music is rarely so sonically challenging. Jacaszek has recorded for Ghostly International, Miasmah, Gusstaff Records and Experimedia, as well as other labels. This is his first release for Touch. Jacaszek writes: "When poets and writers declare their enchantment for the forms of nature, they often use musical terms as metaphors. Visual artists' creations often resemble graphic partitas when recapturing the rhythms of landscapes. Confirming, in a way, these musical intuitions, composers write great music deeply inspired by birdsong, wind rustling, wave repetitions, etc. Making Catalogue des Arbres, my ambition was to join this broad artistic movement devoted to natural phenomena and find my own way to describe trees: their forms, atmosphere and mystery. I have started with 'open air' recordings, capturing mainly leaves' rustlings -- from different distances, in different locations and weather conditions. This collection of nature recordings was transformed into a kind of 'organic drone' and becomes a main background for instrumental and voice improvisations. My initial inspiration here was Olivier Messiaen's bird song transcriptions for piano -- the composer's work entitled 'Catalogue d'Oiseaux' I have paraphrased on my album. A piano, clarinets, violin and percussion parts, performed by the Kwartludium ensemble, were electronically processed, and afterwards all this electro-acoustic material was turned into a collection of eight soundscapes -- forgotten songs performed secretly by my beloved trees." Composed, recorded and produced by Michał Jacaszek. Additional composition and all instrumental parts performed by Kwartludium. Voice parts (tracks 1, 8) performed by 441 Hz Chamber Choir. Additional clarinet parts (tracks 2, 3) performed by Andrzej Wojciechowski. Grand piano recorded by Cezary Joczyn at Gdańsk Academy of Music). Kwartludium are: Dagna Sadkowska (violin); Michał Górczyński (clarinet, bass clarinet), Paweł Nowicki (percussion); Piotr Nowicki (grand piano). Mastered by Denis Blackham at Skye Mastering. Artwork & photography by Jon Wozencroft.