Posted on Dec 14th 2011 01:22 am
Ghostly International 2011
09 Tracks. 41mins24secs
With each new release, Polish musician Michal Jacaszek seems to be getting closer to creating the classical work he has been nurturing for the best part of the last decade, but his approach seems to ensure that, if he ever does, it will be on his own terms. Mixing acoustic instrumentation and electronic treatment, Jacaszek’s music is particularly cinematic and emotional, served by beautifully crafted melodies and warm instrumentation (clarinet, harpsichord, acoustic guitars) which, placed against, decaying textures and found sounds, appear even richer and more exquisite. Jacaszek has until now been published on Gustaff and Miasmah, but following his recent signing to Ghostly and his subsequent appearance on the label’s SMM: Context compilation earlier this year, he is now unveiling his latest and most ambitious solo effort.
With Glimmer, Jacaszek returns once again to the themes that have defined much of his previous releases, but the wider scope of this record is quite clear from the start. Right from the opening sequence of Goldengrove, he slowly builds up a gentle guitar melody, upon which he later adds layers of harpsichord, placed in contrast to a fluctuating bed of looped crackles and discreet found sounds. This juxtaposition of the wonderfully sharp and melodic and the somewhat murky and textured defines the entire album as Jacaszek carves a series of evocative melancholic pieces which, while all sounding extremely consistent sonically speaking, shift between slightly sombre constructions, as demonstrated on the introspective triptych formed by Dare-gale, Pod Światło and Evening Strains To Be Time’s Vast for instance, the latter eventually growing into a cluster of distortions towards the end, or on the melancholic What Wind-Walks Up Above! or Windhover, made more poignant with delicate clarinet motifs, and more radiant shimmering arrangements, form the delicate opening piece to the swelling guitar and harpsichord sequences on As Each Tucked StringTells.
All throughout, Jacaszek regulates the emotional flow of his compositions to sustain his narrative by applying delicate touches or regularly shifting the focus from instruments to soundscapes and back, without overburdening it with sorrow. This is in itself quite a difficult balance to achieve, but Jacaszek has never been interested in the overly dramatic, and Glimmer is undoubtedly his most restrained and finely crafted record to date.