Piotr Kurek - Edena
Over the last 15 or so years, whether working in collaborative projects - Abrada, Ślepcy, Suaves Figures - under different monikers - Heroiny, Piętnastka - or under his own name, the Warsaw based musician and composer, Piotr Kurek, has slowly emerged as a definitive force in the landscape of contemporary experimental music. Early to the game in recognizing Kurek’s remarkable talents and singular voice was the Milan based imprint Black Sweat, and among their earliest releases dedicated to his work was the LP “Edena”. Long out of print and in high demand, they now return with a special 10th anniversary repress of this incredible creative statement. A timeless gesture at the juncture of high minimalism and rigorous conceptualism, it’s a hypnotic immersion of arpeggiating tones and off kilter polyrhythms that draws us back to a potent moment in Kurek’s truly remarkable career. An absolute must for anyone that missed it the first time around or who discovered him during the years since it first appeared.
Bridging the worlds of Modern Classical composition, musique concrète, electronic and electroacoustic music, wonky jazz, and dance music, for more than a decade Piotr Kurek has constantly plowed against the grain of contemporary experimental electronic music, and arguably even himself, creating an entirely singular, almost lawless world of his own, pointedly avoiding any fixed proximity, practice, or aesthetic.
Ideas and external touchstones are key features in drawing Kurek’s works into existence, sculpting a fascinating, dualistic form of conceptualism where the sounds share equal space with what brought them to be. As it was for his most recent solo LPs, “Polygome”, “A Sacrifice Shall Be Made / All the Wicked Scenes”, and “World Speaks” - all which we were huge fans of - so too was it the case in the early moments of his career, a fact illuminated by Black Sweat’s brand new repress of 2012’s “Edena”.
“Edena” grew from Kurek’s love of vintage sound equipment and his long-standing practice of drawing references from beyond the world of sound into his compositions. The album’s six works - working together in a coherent body - balance on the line between melodic narrative and sound collage, utilizing a Moebius comic he had never seen (Le Monde d’Edena) and an instrument he would never have (a Mellotron) as a conceptual starting point. Pervaded by a hypnotic, circular motion - calling to mind the minimalistic music of Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and Terry Riley - that gives the impression of forward motion folding back on itself, with cycling and arpeggiating keyboard lines intermingling amongst fragmented vocalizations within structures of jittering, off-kilter polyrhythms.
Disarmingly playful, while remarkably rigorous, at moments Kurek’s “Edena” gives the impression that it might have been a lost soundtrack for some Soviet era avant-garde animation - whimsical and psychedelically kaleidoscopic - before snapping forward through its references to minimalism, uses of technology, and culminating as distillations of ghost like essences of nostalgia into a romance for the present day. Brilliant, fascinating, and deeply engaging, it’s a truly stunning piece of works that - like so much of what Kurek does - takes time to fully unravel and reveal itself. We can’t thank Black Sweat enough for bringing it back with this 10th anniversary vinyl edition and reopening the door to one of his earlier, seminal works. Absolutely essential for anyone who missed it the first time around, and any fan of electronic music at large.