Thursday, August 25, 2016

Niechęć - Niechęć (2016)

Niechęć

Tomasz Wielechowski - piano, synth
Maciej Zwierzchowski - saxophones
Rafał Błaszczak - guitar
Jacek Szabrański - guitar
Piotr Łukaszewski - guitar
Karolina Rec - cello
Maciej Szczepański - bass
Sebastian Witkowski - dub, electronics
Michał Kaczorek - drums

Niechęć

WYTWÓRNIA KRAJOWA 12

By Geno Thackara

It's a strange fact of life: to some degree or other, we've all got some little inexplicable deep-down attraction to things unsettling. There's no shortage of art in any medium that's based on confronting discomfort or even ugliness. It's the reason people are drawn to things like gargoyles and, I don't know, probably scrapple or Marmite. Warsaw's Niechęć (no, don't even ask me how to pronounce that) not only understands but embraces the idea-the name means "animosity" in English, so there's already a hint up front for those who recognize it. Their self-titled release fearlessly lets their imp of the perverse off the leash with fierce and wicked results. You could call it fusion for the nuthouse, like electric experimental jazz with a gothic-horror twist. 

Of course it won't be everyone's dish of mazurka. That creepy child or doll (I'm not even sure which) on the cover gives a visual hint of what's to come, and the semi-dub groove and harsh stabbing organ of "Koniec" immediately does the same for the ears. There's a cinematic quality that makes the album sound like a score for some imaginary arthouse movie-particularly something unapologetically surreal. The band spins hypnotic improv grooves and off-the-wall noise, dabbling in the trippy ambience of acid jazz and noisy freak-outs of krautrock. The production is similarly abrasive and often loud to the point of occasional brickwalling; it can be especially uncomfortable in headphones, but that's really of a piece with the whole presentation. 

It's a dynamic and audacious performance that can get your foot tapping against its will even as the tones mess with your head. Sinuous Wurlitzer-like keys twine around crazy sax wails and solid electric guitar, sometimes all in the same piece, as with the intense "Atak" or the piano-led "Widzenie". It's easy to get mentally exhausted even before reaching the finale of "Trzeba to Zrobić," but there's an extended jam still in store that goes from ominous groove to wild juiced-up blowout. I suppose it wouldn't have been right to finish off with anything less after the ride Niechęć has already offered up to that point. Many things it may be, but it's never dull.

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