Karol Gwóźdź – Tamte Czasy (Psychonavigation)


This debut recording by pianist Karol Gwóźdź flies its Harold Budd and Brian Eno flag high, about which he makes no bones. He has a great love and respect for ambient music, as he attests in a video interview, and I am guessing he has made the album he would like to listen to when falling asleep. His piano has some of that special, spectral Budd technique, with its echoes bleeding into one another to create an uncanny, sustaining background.

Preemptory dismissal of Gwóźdź as just another acolyte are, however, too pat. From industrial southern Poland, the artist is a more wistful soul – I believe the title translates into ”That Time” – and his dreamy music is charged with uncomplicated emotion in a way the coolth of Eno never would allow.

As a kind of mood primer, Gwóźdź taped cassette hiss over which to record his album. It is just barely discernable and gives his meticulous compositions, combining a variety of acoustic instruments, though most often and prominently the piano, with synthesizers, an enhanced foundation on which to adhere. It´s a very promising debut. It has its bland moments and it droops near the end, but its best tracks, and they are the majority, light up an otherwise dreary vista.

Stephen Fruitman


About Author

Born and raised in Toronto, Stephen Fruitman has been living in northern Sweden lo these past thirty years. Writing and lecturing about art and culture as an historian of ideas since the early nineties, his articles have appeared in an number of international publications. He is also a contributing editor at Igloo Magazine.