Kamil Kowalczyk “Aurora” CD, Prototyp Produktions Ltd, pplcd001, 2011.
A debut CD album from sound artist/composer Kamil Kowalczyk. It contains two long tracks, “model II” and “plasma”. The main concept for album was conspiracy theory about Aurora – a top secret, ultra fast US Military aircraft, also called TR-3B, which has very advanced technology, and special engine driving by plasma…
1. KAMIL KOWALCZYK – AURORA (CD by Prototyp Produktions Ltd)
The cover for this CD is hardly revealing: just the basic information – name, track titles, label’s name and website – and not much else.
From the label’s website we learn that Kamil Kowalczyk hails from Poland, but now lives in Edinburgh and since eight years works with electronics. First as a kid with an old casio keyboard but since 2002 using computer and ‘some simple software’. Previously his work has been released by the Zenapolae net label in the form of six MP3 albums, but now he’s took the gamble and started his own label, Prototyp Records and he has started to play some gigs. So far the facts. The CD has two long pieces, one of thirty-two minutes and one of twenty-five minutes. Its hard to say wether this is all the result of computer and ‘some simple software’. ‘Model II’, the opening piece, starts out in a nice electrically charged environment of static sounds, but then at one point there is a simple bang against the tea-cup and some cheap delay, which ruins what has been build up until then. The only other significant feature in this track is something that resembles a short sine wave like sound moving in and out of the mix. Without that one silly sound it would have made a fine piece, although perhaps Kowalczyk stretches it a bit too much. ‘Plasma’ is the other piece here and doesn’t have that odd sound gesture, and is a fine dark, moving beast of chords on a synth and has ragged edge to it, but still stays firmly on the side of dark ambient music. This is the better of the two pieces, but for both one could say they are fairly normal pieces of ambient music too. Its a promising start I guess.
Vital Weekly (FdW) http://www.vitalweekly.net/
2. Intense durational electronic minimalism on Aurora (PPLCD001) by Kamil Kowalczyk, the first release on his own label Prototyp Produktions. This young Polish-born composer carried out his first sound experiments in the mid-1990s, quite innocently experimenting with tape and cheap keyboards and creating his own brand of noise and drone music, unaware of anyone else’s work at home or abroad. After a few years releasing computer-based music on a netlabel, this is his first piece of tangible product. While Aurora may not be massively inventive music within the context of a genre that already has a fair abundance of exemplars, I have a lot of time for the simplicity and directness of Kowalczyk’s music, its very clean and “pure” delivery, the simple but effective use of high tones and low tones, the unhurried way it sets about advancing its basic structural forms, and the way it sort of envelops the whole body in sub-zero temperatures. It’s like a vast blanket of wool that chills your inner fibre instead of warming you up. If Kowalczyk’s intention on these two long cuts is, as cover art suggest, to send us slowly into the centre of a spiral-formed nebula in blackest deep space, he comes close to delivering on that particular KPI. Keep this alongside your Eleh CDs and albums, and check back in a few months to see which one is winning.
Ed Pinsent, The Sound Projector, http://www.thesoundprojector.com/
3. Kamil Kowalczyk isn’t really a name… yet. He’s put out some work on the Zenapolae net label under a few different monikers including Machine Thoughts and Maszyna_02, but this is Kowalczyk’s first release under his newly formed label. His physical debut, Aurora, is some looong minimal space drone that’s a fantastic way to get noticed.
This is some seriously minimal stretched out hypno ambience, with the first of two tracks clocking in at over a half hour. “Model II” is space, being trapped in the nearly empty nothing. All that you have is the slow hum of your life support as you float past bubbling arpeggios & muffled stardust. Hidden mechanical surges and clicks disturbing your cryogenic trance as the hum shifts gears. Very little going on, a glacial electronic flow with all the right subtleties. The second track, “Plasma,” is only slightly less longer at 25 minutes, but it picks up the pace a little bit. Instead of meandering in the ether, you’ve been sucked into the orbit of a haunted sunless planet. A bass pulse from beyond, unnerving highs setting the scene for impending terror. Still minimal as fuck, but plenty of weird shit going on, layers of buzzing & throbbing, a static slow-mo bad dream.
Aurora is all about the space drone. This is probably the one record that most embodies the genre. It’s a massive planar slumber, no destination, just infinite drift in sci-fi silence. Really hoping Kowalczyk keeps up with the long form ’cause this record is fuckin sweet. Everyone take heed.
Anti-Gravity Bunny, http://antigravitybunny.com/
4. Minimal spacedrone, ambient abstract.
Aurora is made up of two longform recordings; dark, isolationist and spacey. The first of these beatless compositions fades in gradually as a single undulating thread of tone. Almost imperceptibly, additional elements trickle into the mix, percussive clicks and mechanical blip-click patterns thickening the sound. This relatively high pitch ambience alters little for almost eleven minutes before the central drone is joined by a deeper note an octave or two lower. Around the twenty two minute mark a second notable drop in pitch occurs. Gossamer electronic flutters dance faintly through the shadows and other distant sounds appear to hang deep within the music on the edge of hearing. Track two likewise fades out of nothingness to morph and evolve in ponderous, pulsing sparcity. Low beds of shifting tone writhe uneasily: clean and glassy here on ‘plasma’ as opposed to the more matt textured sound of ‘model II’. The dominant texture-drones undulate in subtle rhythmic form, layered with surges and infusions of higher sound; pattered in places establishing partial cadence; atmospheric in others suggestive of faint nebulous colour.
Morpheus Music Reviews, http://www.electronicmusicmall.com
5. If you do not enjoy drone–and by this I mean the absolute dictionary definition of the term turned into music, a seemingly endless stretch of what appears to be a single note, varied for the most part only by the slightest tidal pull of its own waveform–then you don’t want to listen to Kamil Kowalczyk’s Aurora. I don’t mind drone, but this was not an easy release for me to get through. The high pitch of the drone that makes up the beginning of the half-hour-long “Model II” was like listening to an old TV test pattern. A sense of “get on with it” crept in at the edges. Yes, there are subtle elements slipped into the flow, bits of electronic twiddle and pulse, but that barely wavering waveform holds court for 11 minutes before there’s so much as a shift in key–and then continues on its borderline flatline way. A second track, “Plasma,” offers another half hour of minimalist meanderings; luckily it benefits from being somewhat more dynamic. I wasn’t in as much of a hurry to be done with this one. I’m patient; I’m just not this patient. If you’re a fan of extreme minimalism, drone and spacey isolationism, have a listen. This one’s not for me.
Hypnagogue Music Reviews, http://hypnagogue.net/
6. I had not heard of this composer, but this is understandable as this is his CD debut. Here’s what we get from the website: Aurora ‘contains two long tracks, ‘model II’ and ‘plasma.’ The main concept for album was conspiracy theory about Aurora ‘ a top secret, ultra fast US Military aircraft, also called TR-3B, which has very advanced technology, and special engine driving by plasma.’ I have to admit that ‘model II,’ was far too minimal for my tastes. There were some clicks and crackles, along with some arpeggiated tones that work their way through the piece, but for the most part, we have a few pulsating tone that dominates the track. At about 11 minutes in we shift from a higher tone to a lower tone. This gives you a sense of the glacial shifts in the track. At 32 minutes it didn’t really seem to go anywhere. ‘Plasma’ is much better in my opinion. It is pretty good soothing bass drone that is actually kind of peaceful and hypnotic. It seems to move a bit more fluidly as well, but perhaps this is just in contrast to the previous track. This album weighs in at around 57 minutes.
Chain D.L.K., http://www.chaindlk.com/