Thursday, February 23, 2023

R. Iwanski - Transformations I [Gusstaff Records]

So this is a first for the ever more eclectic Polish imprint Gustaff Records. Released on February 17th, 2k23 is Rafal Iwanski's "Transformations I", a nine tracks and roughly 64 minutes spanning longplay effort aimed at the goal of composing electroacoustic music based on ethnic instruments of African heritage, an angle we surely haven't come across before - neither on Gustaff Records nor on any other label, at least as far as our memory goes. Backed by a bunch of cultural organizations Iwanski, also employing the musical guise of X-Navi:Et at times, embarks on a journey of highly specialized electroacoustic treatments with a set focus on instruments from the lamellophone family starting with a tender, caressing and beautiful two-tone motif in the opening tune "Forma X" which develops quite unsettling, cavernous background movements over time whereas the subsequent "Zanzaphonie" leads the listener into an inward-looking quasi-Ambient dreamstate and "KalimbAfrica" presents a steady flow of washed out repetetive pads and floating esoteric atmospheres which will sit well with all die-hard Ambient lovers out there. With "Technosis 3.0" Rafal Iwanski presents a surprisingly jazzed out and percussive variation which could be well derived from microtonal syrinx' if the albums focus wasn't on African instruments, "Solastalgia" caters another series of enchanted and carefully layered loops with a slightly kitschy and esoteric, albeit time-defying touch before "Pre-Post" fully indulges in chiming, fragile and almost glassy slow motion cascades and spaced out polyrhythms. Furthermore we see "Syntaxis" provide peaceful, yet almost clumsy and robotic rhythmic studies which interestingly never reach a full on climax, the "Hyper-Continuum" presents us with a similarly complex and chiming sci-fi feel before everything blends and fuses into a beauteous stream of droning Ambient Noize after more than ten minutes whilst the concluding "Virtual Paradisum" rounds things off on a calm, solemn and inward looking note for a closing. Quite an interesting release which needs to find a home in every sophisticated ChillOut collection.


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