Jacek Mazurkiewicz - contrabass, piezo fork synth, looper
Multikulti MPLE 002
By Dirk Blasejezak
This is a solo album by a double bass player! You can not repeat this often enough. You should also make it aware to yourself with each piece anew! Here stands a man with his bass and plays - and while he plays, he turns a lot of knobs and buttons on many small units, which he has arranged around himself. But in the end it remains a solo album. Jacek Mazurkiewicz plays these pieces also live, so it's not that he's using a 4- or 8-track-recorder to overdub everything neatly in succession - these are the outpourings of a live recorded, and enormously talented musician.
We could hear his talent only on a few albums yet, for instance on Andrzej Przybielski's "Tren Zalobny" in 2011 or on the album "Roots" by Maciej Trifonidis published in the same year. This year he has only worked on two albums so far, which I enjoyed very differently: The trio with Rob Brown and Daniel Levin ("Day In The Life Of A City") could not really convince me, while the new Pulsarus is for me one of the best records of 2014. Otherwise, there are only very few recordings with Jacek Mazurkiewicz I know of: some live recordings or short videos (eg. a great one with Mikołaj Trzaska). The more amazing it seems that he chooses a solo album as the first album under his own name. But maybe that makes sense, as the complexity, he creates on his own makes it difficult to imagine how this could be complemented by other musicians.
For the listener this album is quite demanding too if you want to understand how the individual pieces were created. The album kicks off with a relatively sophisticated piece about "Lady Midday" (Południca), which clearly shows that Jacek Mazurkiewicz feels at home in free jazz and avant-garde as well. The following two pieces give the audience a little rest, in particular "For people like you" could be a perfect entry point for lovers of the "classical" double bass. After these it gets more free again; his homage to Zbigniew Karkowski might represent a challenge for many - this clearly demonstrates his affairs in avant-garde. Here again, one must always keep in mind that this is a solo album!
The recording technique can be observed particularly well in "For you," one of my favorite tracks on this album. He begins (and ends) with an strongly accelerated sequence of the then following ostinato bass, which he fades in slowly after the intro in order to develop the actual piece over this bass line. With more and more voices coming he weaves those looped voices into an increasingly complex web that has a very meditative effect (at least on me). There are certainly very different opinions on the use of the looper in music, I've seen some very disappointing concerts using it, but Jacek Mazurkiewicz does not used it to simply underpin a beat, instead he plays with the loops, he distorts and alters them and turns the transformed loops into an additional instrument. A very nice documentation of his approach can be seen in the video below.
Unfortunately, the album already ends after two more rather futuristic, and quieter pieces. I would have liked some more of this. I really hope we get to hear more, and that he finds some like-minded musicians with whom he can produce equally unstrained modern music.