Review: Piotr Kurek - Heat (Digitalis Ltd, 2011)
The newest tape by Warsaw’s sample wizard Piotr Kurek brings the whimsical, folktronic compositions of Dalia (released under the moniker Piętnastka) to the next, more intricate and psychedelic level. The music here is slower and more “adult”, the childish playfulness of the Sangoplasmo cassette is gone. The sounds on Heat bring the memories of Amon Tobin’s samplescapes, but without the focus on IDM/breakcore element of the equation. Kurek sculpts droning, sometimes even downright noisy collages, amorphous proto-jazz compositions falling into shamanic trance. The tape itself is described as “organ-infused tropicalia and archive amazonian recordings”, which can bring the likes of Sun Araw and Gala Drop to mind. The comparison is not as far-fetched as it might appear at first, and Piotr Kurek appears to be more than happy to quench our thirst for exotic instrumentation.
I’m certain the cassette must’ve been quite a surprise to the people familar with the output of Digitalis Limited, a label known for its take on rather minimalistic analog synth dronescapes, various Kosmische Musik worships and stipped down guitar based raga folk ballads. Because Heat is pretty much unlike anything released by Digi Ltd before: a collection of highly rhythmical, high fidelity soundtracks to oriental spy movies filled with instrumental clutter and vintage electric organ lines. Every little sound, every little beat, every littlest instrument and sample is on fire. The tracks are incredibly diverse too: the still mischevious “Heat”, which sounds like a more mature and a more aware take on Piętnastka’s “School Boy”, dark and foreboding “Time Takes What It Wants” and the massively droning “Organs Slide”, where the numerous, overlapping organ dialogues sound like dubless Sun Araw.
Until his expansion to the cassette labels like Sangoplasmo or Digitalis Ltd, Piotr Kurek was known only to a close-knit circle of EAI, experimental and ambient music aficionados in Poland (and probably a few abroad). The refinement of his sound and the exposure to a new crowd of fans (both because of the labels and because of websites and blogs picking up [and digging] the sound) may hopefully bring him to the spotlight, and motivate him to record more beauty in the near future. Highly recommended.