A CY of relief…
Koniec Pola’s remarkable debut album was released via Devoted Art Propaganda on March 28, 2018. Paul Castles does his best to put the pieces together as he tries to get to the root of these avante garde Polish extremists.
Koniec Pola’s debut album is one of the most challenging debut releases you’re likely to encounter this year. It features four avante garde tracks within which conventional song structures are about as easy to find as an abattoir owner at a vegetarian convention. You kind of know things are going to be difficult when you look at the song titles – l ll lll and Vl. Koniec Pola function within a kind of transcendental sonic sphere that has no start and no end. It’s a mildly unnerving, haunting arena, uneasy to penetrate and once you get there you’re not entirely certain if you want to hang about. The album is said to centre around the village of Zalesie, near the Kozienice Forest, where the quiet countryside lifestyles of the village folk sit within touching distance of postmodernity. Disorientation is standard fare with these Poles who are as happy to make and play their own instruments as just go along with the status quo.
‘l’ is the 12-minute opener which proves trickier to get your head around than a particularly challenging Suduku puzzle. The first few minutes consist of quiet chimes, a bit like those garden adornments that emit gentle sounds when caught on a summer’s breeze. The next phase of the song features some spoken words, in Polish, so I’m afraid I can’t shed too much light on what the message is. What can be detected through the language barrier is the change in tone during the last section of the song when the spoken words start to be spat out with more venom, a bit like a sergeant major issuing a volley of abuse at a sleepy private on parade. And around this a battering of loose segments of noise, and disjointed directionless bolts from the blue eventually fall into line to deliver a semblance of a rhythm. Blimey, and that’s just the first 10 minutes.
No doubt by now many would be reaching to yank the plug from the wall but it’s clear that within this twisted orchestral origami there is, an albeit slight, method to the madness. So who exactly are Koniec Pola, and no they don’t play in the Polish Second Division. In fact this ensemble, consisting of five musicians hail from disparate acts, although how many readers would have heard of the likes of Licho, S., Wędrowcy~Tułacze~Zbiegi and Strzępy is debatable.
The second song ‘ll’ is more inviting with a relaxed rhythm sustained through the first four minutes, interspersed with softly spoken words before the pixies arrive, the groove starts ebbing and flowing like a particularly choppy Channel crossing, and the vocals taunt and tease as though in some kind of mystical make-believe world. The first half of ‘III’ is just a drifting lilt of a groove but the second half is infinitely more challenging a bit like being dragged down a plughole.
At 16 minutes, ‘IV’ is the longest composition contained on CY and to general amazement opens up with rhythmic clapping that you might hear down at your local church on a Sunday morning…. Assuming we have any churchgoers among our readers. The tempo remains disarmingly low key throughout, just a modest rhythm only occasionally lifted above the somnambulant, spoken words peppering the rivers of melody like a pebble skimmed across the water. While CY is not an easy listen, far from it, it nevertheless has charming qualities. Koniec Pola are prepared to push boundaries so far that they practically drop off the edge and for that they should be respected if not necessarily enjoyed by all.