Review: Hubert Karmiński – baŚNIE na nowo (wielu, Sep 27)

Listening to baŚNIE na nowo for the first time was like the climax of those videos you’d watch as a child in which some kid would be scared to go to the dentist or some shit and imagine all of these horrible monsters lurking around corners waiting to eat them—and then the vibe totally shifts when they realize that there’s nothing to worry about because it’s just a regular old dentist’s office (and hey, the dentist herself is actually really nice! Who would’ve thought??). I suppose if one were familiar with Karmiński’s approach to abstract electronica, there wouldn’t be as much of an element of surprise, but since this seems to be the only release of his that can be found anywhere, I doubt anyone would be in such a position. Reading this review before you listen to the album isn’t spoiling anything, either, because even after the true bright, joyful essence of the album is revealed in the second track the listener still hears the brooding minor key arpeggios and unsettling throbs as portents of impending chaos—chaos that never actually arrives. Instead, our expectations of abrasion and dissonance only make the fleeting moments of saccharine beauty even more special. baŚNIE na nowo occasionally echoes the adventurous electronic music that dominated experimental CD culture in the late ’90s and early ’00s yet never leaved behind its modernity—the singular but accessible style of this album makes one wonder if Karmiński has somehow synthesized every subgenre into a deceptively fluid amalgam—or its refreshing brevity.

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