Piotr Kurek - World Speaks
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. Intertwining a vast number of musical touchstones - we were huge fans of 2019's Polygome and 2020’s A Sacrifice Shall Be Made / All The Wicked Scenes - now he’s back with a brand-new LP, World Speaks, his first outing with the Antwerp based imprint, Edições CN. Drawing inspiration from the work of the painter Thomas Cole, across its two sides processed voices and a diverse array of instrumental sounds collide in complex swaying structures that once again encounters Kurek dazzling minds.
Bridging the worlds of Modern Classical composition, musique concrète, electronic and electroacoustic music, wonky jazz, and dance music - fitting comfortably in no single idiom - for more than a decade Piotr Kurek has remained a slow and elusive fixture in our sonic landscape, creating an entirely singular, almost lawless world of his own, pointedly avoiding any fixed proximity, practice, or aesthetic and plowing against the grain of contemporary experimental electronic music, and arguably even himself.
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, this is not less the case for World Speaks, an album soaked in the influences of the early 19th Century Anglo-American landscape painter Thomas Cole, an artists whose works depicted the raw power of nature and decaying grandeur of another time, laying that groundwork for seven compositions that speak to human presence within an uninhabited world.
Largely constructed from samples of the human voice, World Speaks rethinks the possibilities of the original instrument, weaving abstractions that can never fully disassociate themselves from their source; processed and restructured by Kurek as attempts to trigger his own memory through sound. The result, spanning the album’s two sides, is a body of composition that vacillates between the minimal and the baroque, tones and fragments stuttering and pulsing in truly unexpected ways, forming images that drift away as quickly as they came, almost resembling a greek chorus run through the blender of time and reassembled as some unrecognised Frankenstein.
Yet another proof that Piotr Kurek is an artist with almost no equivalent in the contemporary landscape of experimental music, World Speaks defies any easy description. It stands on its own. Absolutely fascinating and engrossing, it’s issued as a beautiful limited edition LP by Edições CN, and is already sold out at source. Needless to say, the few copies we have aren’t going to sit around for long. Grab it while you can!