Friday, December 20, 2019

Tie Break – The End (2019)

Tie Break

Antoni Gralak - trumpet, vocal, percussion
Janusz Yanina Iwański - guitar, vocal, percussion
Mateusz Pospieszalski - saxophones, vocal, percussion
Marcin Pospieszalski - bass
Frank Parker - drums



The End

AGORA 5903111494148

By Adam Baruch

This is an album by the legendary Polish ensemble Tie Break, which features four founding members of the ensemble: trumpeter Antoni Gralak, saxophonist Mateusz Pospieszalski, guitarist Janusz Yanina Iwański and bassist Marcin Pospieszalski and also American (resident in Poland) drummer Frank Parker. The album presents nine tracks, all co-composed by the ensemble members, five of which also include lyrics which are chanted (rather than sung) by the ensemble in a Greek chorus manner. The music was recorded during three separate sessions between 2014 and 2018.

Following the release of the marvelous "Tie Break (Box Set)" in 2014, which summed up the ensemble's output recorded between 1984 and 1995, it seemed that the fate of Tie Break was sealed, but apparently the protagonists thought otherwise and continued to make music together, which is collected here. Following this pattern, one might hope that the ominous title of this album is also only temporary, as Tie Break definitely has still more energy and creativity than most young contemporary ensembles.

The music is, not surprisingly, completely unique; a zany mixture of Rock, Funk, Punk, World Music and Jazz worthy of epic Frank Zappa and his Mothers Of Invention proportions. This music is bolder than most contemporary Rock, Funkier that today's Funk, way Punkish than anything in Punk history and still Free Jazzier than most. The overall sound of the ensemble manages to create a wall of sound effect, which allows every tiny detail of the multi-layered complexity to be heard clearly and distinctly. The music has elements of marching funeral bands, Balkan wedding music, Polish Folklore and countless other relations, which can only be discovered as a result of repeated listening sessions. In short there never was anything in the Polish music history close to Tie Break, and following this album, the gap becomes even deeper.

Although the ingredients of which the music of Tie Break is made of is not Avant-Garde as such, the unique combination and the obvious "oppositional" attitude to everything mainstream is still deeply implanted in this music and it is obviously refusing to be tamed. The album pays tribute to all the numerous members of the ensemble over the years and other outside of the mainstream great Polish musicians like the lamented Andrzej Przybielski, including the founding member Krzysztof Majchrzak, whom I had the pleasure to meet a few weeks ago and reminiscence early days of the ensemble and many other things with.

In short this is a brilliant piece of music, full of creativity, ingeniousness and pure joy, completely unique and striking, unconventional and as musically anti-establishment as music can be. I refuse to interpret the album's title literally and already long for the next chapter in Tie Break's journey! The End of boredom is definitely here!

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