Monday, August 28, 2017

EABS' Pianist & Emcee Marek Pędziwiatr Speaks On Polish Jazz & J Dilla-indebted Repetitions: Letters to Krzysztof Komeda with Foreword/Intro Penned By @soilpimp (The Witzard Interview II)

"I landed in London on my way to meet up with the Madlib Medicine [Show] Tour and had one goal in mind upon de-planing: FIND IF Music! I had read about the proprietor, Jean-Claude Thompson, in a Wax Poetics article and heard from multiple sources that for my tastes, this was THE shop to hit. Upon arriving, I was surprised to find the dapper owner hanging out on the street, seemingly there to welcome me, since the shop [was] on the second floor. After watching me devour the stacks, the dapper owner said, "do you listen to new music?" "Yes, I do," [I replied]. His first recommendation was a new Jazz record from some young musicians in Poland. And that was how I discovered EABS the old-fashioned way, by a recommendation from one of the most knowledgeable selectors on the planet.

A week later I opened Repetitions [Letters to Krzysztof Komeda] a beautiful double-album package with an in-depth insert and dropped Side 1 on the turntable. What I discovered was a journey that weaved back-and-forth from historical reference points that demonstrate that these young guys can play to modern elements that keep it contemporary and continually, interesting. You will find multiple styles on this record, which is risky, as it could come off as unfocused, yet it does not. The double-album keeps you excited for each new tune to see where they go next because they are all great. I was not surprised to hear the musicians are diggers and have influences as wide-ranging as Krzysztof Komeda to J Dilla. This fits in very well with the inspiring new Jazz coming out—BADBADNOTGOOD, Kamasi Washington, Moses Boyd, I could go on and on; however, it also stands on its own, as simply, a great record. I selfishly, would love to see a collaboration with Madlib."

"Soilpimp (@soilpimp) is a mysterious fellow, who travels in multiple worlds based in NYC, who works in finance and is a record and wine collector. He mostly collects original records in the African, Brazilian, Funk, Jazz, and Soul genres with the occasional Hip-Hop, Rock, or Psych record. He travels extensively in search of inspiring food, music, and wine and is equally comfortable walking one of the great vineyards of the world, hanging with his favorite chefs or musical legends [whom] he insists we need to appreciate more! A simple soul, who just wants great wine from a proper glass with deep food and music played on a proper system."

- Soilpimp (AKA Robert Dentice)

I. Would you mind delving a bit into Krzysztof Komeda's background a bit, as you know it, as well as his relationship with Polish, European, and American (most notably, Rosemary's Baby) film scores, for those who might not exactly be too familiar with his body of work?

Krzysztof Komeda was one of the greatest Polish composers. His works embrace Jazz tunes, soundtracks, theatre music, and background poem music. His music was innovative in terms of inter-sound space and message. Simple, dark melodies spiced up with specific Komeda licks give you feelings of thrill, reverie, and hope.

II. How did you go about choosing which Komeda compositions to cover and how to go about approaching them for Repetitions (Letters to Krzysztof Komeda)? Also, would you more so consider EABS' renditions covers, re-interpretations, remixes, etc?

There is such a thing as Komeda's standards. We are diggers. That is why we resisted to select songs, which [were] interpreted billions of times. We had to watch dozens of films and listen to the whole musical library of the composer, before we started to arrange. What we were looking for in Komeda's music was message, simplicity, melancholy, and (last but not least) vibe. The same thing happened in our previous works; if the source music is simple and has some space, we can easily fit in-between the cracks. So then, we [were] able to create a whole new substance, naturally.

III. What was your typical beat-making, writing, recording, etc. process like for Repetitions (Letters to Krzysztof Komeda)? It sounds to me like there are some samples littered throughout, but the album largely sounds improvised, correct?

Initially, I've spent time on making beats sampling selected compositions. I flipped some bass parts, re-invented harmonies, and so on. Then, I introduced my sketches to the band; we worked hard together on my vision, until we played it correctly. Then, I gave my people total freedom to let them flow into this music, so the magic came in. Those beautiful film samples were selected by our manager and visionary Sebastian Jozwiak [at Astigmatic Records]. Dialogues are played live by DJ Spisek Jednego.

IV. Aside from Komeda and his original pieces of work, what else would you likely consider some of your greatest sources of inspiration and influence on what ended up being the final mix of Repetitions (Letters to Krzysztof Komeda)?

Mostly, in the beginning of the arranging process, I am pretending that I don't know anything. It helps me to activate my true self. But at some point, I've realized that I got close to the spirit of David Axelrod or early works of Lalo Shiffrin. I love that sound. Formally, their music is simple, but it brings about lots of information—even with one note. For me, they’ve brought the essence of the 60’s soundtracks. What is more, their heritage deserves to exist and evolve in the present and future. I have a Hip-Hop background. So, it is natural that you can smell Wu-Tang, J Dilla, or Kool Keith's influence.

V. How has EABS (formerly Electro-Acoustic Beat Sessions?) evolved and grown as a Hip-Hop-leaning, Jazz-minded group since your debut full-length project, PUZZLE Mixtape for Astigmatic Records?

We are constantly evolving. The material is the same, but each concert is different. This music is not only "live," it is "alive." The love is getting stronger. What I've learned after Repetitions is that we play neither Hip-Hop nor Hip-Hop/Jazz Fusion. What we play is real Jazz and thanks to our Hip-Hop background, we are able to extract true roughness of that Jazz.

VI. How did you fellas go about recruiting Repetitions (Letters to Krzysztof Komeda)'s lone guest musician, Michal Urbaniak (on "Free Witch & No Bra Queen/Sult")? What ultimately, made you decide to utilize his electric violin talents on this particular track?

To be honest, the decision came when the album was already finished. When I played it to Urbaniak, after the first song, he began to cry. Before his solo career, he played in Komeda's ensemble, so it brought him beautiful memories. He asked me then, [if it was still] possible for him to play on this album. I was happy and confused. Everything was ready. Everything was played... I had to figure out the special place for Michal; space which could have squeezed out freshness and roughness of Michal's sound. "Free Witch & No Bra Queen/Sult" was the place to be.

VII. I remember for our first PUZZLE Mixtape-centric interview (Dec. 2016,) we briefly spoke about Donuts & MADVILLAINY mastering engineer Dave Cooley—who, at the time, had recently mastered "Waltzing Beyond." Did Dave have any further involvement with the final mixing and mastering of Repetitions (Letters to Krzysztof Komeda)?

No, we ultimately decided to give it to Marcin Cichy, the member of legendary group Skalpel (Ninja Tune). We were looking for the sound, spirit, and roughness of real Polish Jazz we used to listen from our parents' and uncles' vinyls. Sounds like Laboratorium, Tomasz Stańko, Spisek Szesciu, etc. Marcin knows this literature.

VIII. Within our last interview, you mentioned how EABS' PUZZLE Mixtape and Repetitions were "completely different;" PUZZLE being released on cassette and digitally with almost no return profit and Repetitions, "a conceptual studio album" to be released on double vinyl, CD, and digitally. How does it feel to have to achieved the goals you guys set for EABS and see Repetitions pressed up on glossy 140g double-vinyl!?

It is like a new beginning. Finally, we made something we totally deserved—after five years of existence. It is also cool that each release is totally different, so the listener consequently, confronts with something new.

IX. Do you currently have an immediate plans to release any type of music videos or filmed live recording to accompany Repetitions (Letters to Krzysztof Komeda)'s release? I remember when Lukasz from Astigmatic Records messaged me one day last month with a link and I was able to watch a live stream of Repetitions; live debut at a recent show in Poland—truly a gripping performance, fellas!

Thanks Matt, we are trying to record every gig either on film or mere audio recording. Soon, there will be our SoFar live performance released on YouTube. You can expect more such beauties in the near future!

X. Does EABS have any immediate plans to do a US tour (particularly, on the East Coast) behind Repetitions? I know, myself, personally, as well as many of my friends, fellow writers, and readers would really love to hear your latest album in a proper live setting!

This is our dream, but we are patient taking little steps. Now, our records selling well in London. We are really glad about it. If the US appreciates our music, we are ready to share ASAP! I come from a little town in Poland—Swinoujscie. My musical father, Dariusz Ryzczak, said: "Mark, today Swinoujscie, tomorrow New York." I wish...

XI. Have you tried to reach out to Krzysztof Komeda's family and associates with a copy of EABS' Repetitions yet? If so, how did they reach after hearing your tastefully progressive re-workings of his material?

Yes! We needed their permission to make this album happens. We've sent them a few copies of Repetitions, but after all that, we [still] didn't get any feedback. Maybe we will get a chance to meet with Tomasz Lach soon.

XII. Now, please correct me, if I'm wrong... but it seems as though Repetitions (Letters to Krzysztof Komeda) has been completed for quite a while now. So, what are you guys currently working on for the next EABS album and when might it see a release?

Currently, we are working on our original compositions. This material will be a journey to our true selves. We are going back to the times of Slavic myths, when ordinary people were living in harmony with The Moon and The Sun. Though, there is not too much evidence left, we are ready to feel it and play it because it's us.

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