|Three weeks later than expected, here is our best of 2006. We kick off with the Top 20 Polish albums. All the other cathegories are to follow next.
Top 20 Polish Albums
2006 saw the release of Motion Rootz Experimental, the debut album by Village Kollektiv (VK), the collective that gathers musicians from Kapela ze Wsi Warszawa (a.k.a. Warsaw Village Band), Masala, Yerba Mater, Swoja Droga and Stara Lipa.
Formed back in the year of 2002 thanks to Kapela ze Wsi Warszawa and Rafal Kolacinski, this 7 elements collective plays music that travels across the sounds of the Bulgarian Shopluk region, the throat singing from Tuva and the yoik of the Sami people. All this, together with dub, drum 'n' bass and more electronic beats. In total, 10 tracks that will easily put your feet moving to the beat and the world music of the VK.
Wyrzundzaj Sie[mp3 Preview]
Delicate, sensual, laid back and with a touch of Scandinavia, Patrycja's voice and Jacek's electronic textures bring us to memory the likes of Moloko, Moa, Bjork, Everything But The Girl and Peggy Lee.
4 years after the release of Czy slyszysz, 2006 saw their return in a much better shape. Zgadnij, with its 10 tracks and a multimedia section (where we can find some photos and the video for Iskrzy, iskrzy!!!), is a pearl that requires more than the simple quick listening. It requires to be listened often, paying special attention to the music while it fills your place with its exotic scents.
3moonboys are Wojtek Kotwicki, Piotr Michalski, Marcin Karnowski and Radek Maciejewski. Once Charlie Sleeps and 5 Strona Swiata, this Bydgoszcz-based guitar band takes us on a ride thru the world of little musical gadgets, incredibly addictive vocal loops, hipnotic and progressive guitars riffs, melodic, experimental and spacey tunes that remind us of all those cold and enormous places somewhere in Northern Europe.
With these 10 tracks, totally sung in English, 3moonboys went on a long tour that took them several cities in Germany and Poland.
Spit it out[mp3]
Bassisters Orchestra is a project gathering musicians from Warsaw and Gdansk. Led by Wojtek Mazolewski, Bassister Orchestra combine hip-hop, experimental and improvised jazz, noise coming from several unidentified objects.
On Numer Jeden among the other usual suspects, Bunio, Emade, Macio Moretti, Mikolaj Trzaska and Fisz, they worked, as well, with Maciek Cieslak (Scianka), Tomek Duda (Baaba) and Mauricio Takara and Rob Mazurak (both from Sao Paulo Underground).
Together, these twelve songs award us with some of the best lyrics and music composed in PL. Do not forget it, To Jest Test
George Dorn Screams are an alternative rock band, likened to Mogway and the ambient atmospheres they create, but somehow sounding more melodic with a song structure well present. This Bydgoszcz-based quartet has on Magda's lo-profile and seductive voice, on the guitar, bass and percussion dialogues, on the sometimes pop, experimental and noisy guitar swirl driven alternative rock their major characteristics.
Their 9 track album, is a nice suprise on the Polish music scene. It does not fit into any post-punk look-a-like band, neither brit pop nor any other trendy music genre. Tracks like the excellent album opening 69 moles, Phoney, Winter of deceit or The woman with a bow will catch anyones's attention after first contact. It happened this way with me.
The woman with a bow[mp3]
Last year, the band of Artur Rojek, Wojtek Powaga, Przemek Myszor, Jacek Kuderski and Wojtek Kuderski brought us another magnificent album, Happiness is Easy, where we are taken throught the sounds of Bowie and his Ziggy Stardust, blinking an eye to some electronic sounds and where a dreamy and inteligent "tra la ra" pop is happily saying "present". Everything, of course, served with their unique rock sound.
This is one of Myslovitz' best releases so far, where pop and rock music are explored further to deliver us 13 extraodinary tracks.
Take you time and discover yourself, that after all..... Happiness is Easy.
Zle Mi Sie Sni[mp3 Preview]
Rock is something C.K.O.D. know about, even though their name comes from the British pop band, St. Etienne.
These boys are Krzysztof Ostrowski, on vocals, Jakub Wandachowicz, on bass, Marcin Kowalski, on guitar, Jacek Fras, on drums, Kamil Lazikowski, on keyboards, and Wojciech Michalec on guitar.
Proud of having some of their tunes already played on Steve Lemacqs program at BBC 1 FM, last year they released 2006, their latest album, where fast guitar riffs meet with angry and spit out vocals. In this record they have release their demons and the result is tremendous. Spaliny and To Nie Zdarza Sie Nam are in our favourites for last year.
Do Mi No, Pustki's last record increased definetively the number of followers. I'm one of those.
Their songs work quite well both in record as in concert. Tracks like Balagan, Tchu mi brak, Slabosc chwilowa or Proba Sil work perfectly and manage to put everyone dancing and singing.
The band of Radek Lukasiewicz, Janek Pietka, Grzegorz Sluz, Filip Zawada and Barbara Wronska released last year their third and most accomplished album so far. Raw compositions meet melodic songs; the 70's, 80's and 90's all celebrate together the arrival of Do Mi No.
Tchu Mi Brak[mp3 Preview]
Music to dance to! Music to celebrate! To celebrate life and death, sadness and euphoria.
They are Jaroslaw Bester (accordion), Oleg Dyyak (percussion, accordion and clarinet), Jaroslaw Tyrala (violin) and Wojciech Front (double bass). Back in 1997 Jaroslaw decided to form the Cracow Klezmer Band (CKB) with his smoking break fellow colleagues.
Weepy accordions, seagulls trapped inside a double bass, frenetic violions and amazing percussion. This is but a few of what CKB is capable of. Their sound breathes balcan-like music, Jewish music, gloomy tunes, jazz and folk music.
These four magnificent musicians released this year Balan, another volume to John Zorn's Masada project, on the Tzadik label. Live, all their music becomes so intense, with such energy and emotion, mainly due to their dedication, that every song is transformed into a very unique moment. It is as if music could fly away, spread its wings and land closely by your side, surrounding you with warth and a cosy feeling.
Bartek Weber and the rest of the gang released this year Poope Musique, the latest record by Baaba. Amusement park synths, chinese ding 'a' longs, minimal beats with an happy smile, Michael Nyman gone disco ........ all this is to be found at Baaba's Poope Musique.
As the tracks move forth, we depart in a musical journey. Experimental jazz served in a cocktail glass, colourful and with electronic sunny beats saying Hello!! Then, we move smoothly into another direction. We're still talking jazz, but now, it's been stripped to the bone and set free...... This is the magical world of Baaba. This is the world of Bartek Weber, Tomek Duda, Wojtek Mazolewski and Maciek Morus. Please say the word and step inside.....
Biegnij Kuba, Biegnij[mp3]
On their second album Downtown, released last October, Old Time Radio combines harmony vocals, catchy, fluffy and spacey electro pop tunes, electronic beats and analogue synthesizers with atmospheric shoe-gaze guitars, jumping sometimes back to the early 80's electro beats, giving an astonishing look to their songs.
2006 saw the brothers Fisz and Emade returning with Piatek 13, an album where 14 tracks, meet Fisz at his best, sarcastic and corrosive, with his speech flowing so smooth but pointy as an arrow, and Emade's beats giving the perfect soundtrack to this revolution.
Taking Polish Hip-Hop one step ahead is what Fisz and Emade have been doing for the last years, either undercovered as Tworzywo Sztuczne or in the several other projects they've been involved.
This record would not be complete if guests such as Envee, O.S.T.R., Bunio, Pablo Hudini, Ada Antek, Jurek Zagorski and Iza Kowalewska wouldn't give their contribution to this Firday 13th (Piatek 13).
Mitch, Mitch, Serious Mitch, James Boned Mitch and Mrs Mitch take us to a world where pop and rock music, kitsch, old tunes and love songs, nonsense, western blues sountracks and Morricone all have seem to live happy. As they say, "....It would all have been different if Jobim hadn’t written ‘Desafinado'..."
Last year saw the release of 12 Catch Tunes (We Wish We Had Composed), an album dedicated to "....their personal heroes and godfathers, our homage to the musical geniuses who have undeservedly been forgotten by... well, everybody...".
Having selected several tracks from a bunch of unknown composers and other artists, Mitch & Mitch and their 12 covers, delivered one of the freshest albums seen in 2006.
If you as well, haven't heard about Arkiun Tekkelaki, Hekoki Motherfuckers or Antek Sobol, do the same as I did: Buy the album!!!
Maciej Cieslak, guitar and vocals, Arkady Kowalczyk, drums, and Michal Biela, bass and vocal, deliver us a record where noise, experimental sonic trips, bizarre tunes, sweet melodies and drums out of control all get together in order come up with one of the most enthusiastic releases in Poland, this year.
Nevertheless, do not think this is one of those albums you'll fall in love at first time. This is an album that requires more attention. This is an album that you will learn to love. This is an album that you'll have to listen again, and again, and again. It was this way with me and most likely, the same will happen to you.
The first track, Boje sie zasnac, boje sie wrocic do domu starts slowly, with the guitars and drums evolving into a thunderstorm. Wielki Defekator continues this sonic legacy. Prepare yourself then for what's next.
Boje Sie Zasnac, Boje Sie Wrocic do Domu[mp3 Preview]
Jazz music has always been quite important on the Polish musical scene. During several years, this was one of the most prolific music genres.
Today, it reflects on some of the most interesting bands to come out of this country. Skalpel, Fisz, OSTR, Stealpot, among many others, have somehow created a unique sound by mixing several other genres with jazz.
Now Muzykoterapia are doing the same. Having released their album on Asfalt Records, home to some of the most innovative Polish projects (OSTR, Fisz or Noon), their music breathes freshness.
Iza Kowalska, on vocals, Wojtek Traczyk, on contrabass, and Dominik Trebski, on trombone and electronics, came up with an album difficult to define. Call it nu-jazz or downtempo; call it etno-swing; call retro-pop rumba; call it............whatever.
60 minutes and 52 seconds. This is the result Kuba Kapsa and his brother, Bartek Kapsa, both ex Something Like Elvis, came up with on their debut album as Contemporary Noise Quintet.
This quintet, complete with Tomek Glazik, Wojtek Jachna and Pawel Urowski delivered one of the most enthusiastic records on the Polish market for 2006.
Jazz music, with a touch of improvisation. Perfect for mute, black and white film soundtracks (Goodbye Monster); ideal companionship for those cold and snowy winter afternoon, the beats and breakbeats, the astonishing sax tunes, the wild drums, the continuously "in crescendo" and tragic tunes on Even Cats Dream About Flying, make this album, a pearl to keep close to you and listen again and again and again.
To keep close to all the great masters of Polish Jazz.
Adrian Jakuc-Lukaszewicz, Maja Chmurkowska, Pawel Dudzinski and Przemyslaw Gorski landed on this corner of Eastern Europe to give us one of the most interesting debuts this year, and one of the best Polish albums for year 2006.
Just as many artists decide to isolate themselves in search of inspiration, Zerova did the same. Taking themselves to the countryside, their music was then gifted with the cold whispering winds of the Baltic Seas, with the relaxing ambients from Iceland, with the melancholic and smooth electronics from Sweden and Amelie Poulain's beloved Paris, and the mysterious folk sounds of darkened Poland.
In their music, one can find influences from the sounds of Scandinavia but not only ....... Sigur Ros, Mum, Yann Tiersen or Orb ......... all of them, found space in their music. Enchanting melodies, ghostly whispers, hypnotising synthesizer backgrounds and a marriage between sci-fi soundtracks and folk bring us the unique sounds of Zerova.
More on this record right here
Do you remember King's of Convenience remix album? or even Badly Drawn Boy's melodic but faster and rockier tracks? The Car Is On Fire do as well.
With one hour approximately and 23 tracks, Lake & Flames can be seen as the transition between their self-titled debut album and what's coming in the near future, as one can still listen to some tunes likened to their debut and an effort to go forth with their sound.
The album kicks in with The car is on fire early morning internazionale and the magnific Can't cook (Who cares?), the first single to be taken out of this release. The music continues playing and we hit Parker Posey, a mellow post-punk track that could be compared to a supposed Damon Albarn, The Rapture and The Clash project.
As I move on, I run into some tracks I think we'd be better without. North by Northewest, Ex sex is (not) the best (title) and Kiss kiss take me back to the voice register (or call it tone) that I couldn't stand on their debut. Gladly, I quickly forget these tracks as I find what's next. The irresistible Newyorkewr (with a violin making it sound so charming), an hello to the Beach Boys with Oh, Joe, the synth-pop It´s finally over and the clap your hands, merry-go-round Love.
Surf rock, poppy indie tunes, acoustic melodies, a smile to the post-punk scene and the inclusion of a sax, clarinet and violin make a hell of an effect on this return. This is an album that might take more than one listening round to really appreciate it. It's worth it, believe me.
Can't Cook (Who cares?)[mp3 Preview]
2006 saw another release of Kasia Nowicka's long play debut.
Tricks of life gathers 11 tracks. Each one of them was produced by someone different. Envee, Smolik, Tomasz Zietek, Mariusz Szypura among others gave their contribution to these eleven tricks. As the cd starts rolling, delicate pop rain drops start falling. The minimal beats combined with Novika's sweet vocals and the dreamy tunes dropping out of the harp make this Depend on you
a track to dream with, one of those we close ours eyes and fly away, and away.Tricks
bursts right next. Envee produces here, together with Mikawa Miya
, one of the most interesting tracks to come out of this album. Soul, breakbeats, house and funk with a touch of a bass clarinet and Sqbass' powerful and warm voice..... All shaken not stirred....
More on this release right here
And here is our Polish number One for 2006. The elected is Smolik's 3.
Soul, pop and chill out. Electronic breezes, scents of jazz and those dreams..... those melodic dreams. Smooth and warm vocals, a chest full of burning soul chorus and a sax defining the beat. Ambient sounds hand in hand with dreamy and delicate whispers, subtle orchestral arrangements conducted by spoken word lullabies.
After two highly acclaimed albums, this producer is back with one of the best albums of the year. This time he has left most of the electronic memorabilia at home and returned with his most organic record so far. More acoustic than ever, more soul than ever, more beautiful than ever.
A superbly produced album, with such guests as Novika, Artur Rojek (of Myslovitz), Marsija (of Loco Star), Mika, the Brit Victor Davies (a fantastic soul contribution to this record) or the German Maya Singh, Kasia Kurzawska, among many others, this is an album where pop music is the king.
S. Dreams[mp3 Preview]