Review of Let’s Make Better Mistakes Tomorrow [12k1055]

Tokafi (.COM)

In a wondrous coincidence, there is also a Polish photographer with the name of Tomasz Bednarczyk. Could they be the same person? The work of Tomasz Bednarczyk, the musician, after all, has always had a distinct visual quality to it. His ears sometimes seem like little cameras, taking snapshots of people, places and moods. A gentle confusion of the senses is a constant in his oeuvre – it is certainly no accident that a track on his debut full-length Summer Feelings was not called „I hear you“ but „I see you“. Other titles alluded to friends and loved ones, passing strangers and anonymous metropoles, moments of intimacy and short, seemingly irrelevant scenes caught at the sleepy edge of daily life. His music doesn’t provide any answers, but it doesn’t ask any questions either. Lost in a perpetual daydream instead, it occupies the realm of fantasy, happily loosing itself in loops of multicoloured shapes and tender memories of days at the beach.

On Let’s make better mistakes tomorrow, the connections between the worlds of image and sound are becoming even more obvious. Tourquoisely shimmering pictures of the seaside and seemingly endless solitary planes of sand and seagulls in the double foldout-cover digipack serve as an atmospheric introduction to the music. Field recordings, partly provided by 12k label colleague Sawako, act as metaphors for relaxed quotidian routine, nocturnal semblances of nature as well as mysteriously beguiling places. And on ten short drone-pieces, ranging between two and a half and six and a half minutes and seductively sprinkled with luminous Guitar harmonics („While“), romantic yet airy Piano cascades („The Sketch“), shimmering bells („Drawing“) and consoling crackle (the entire second half of the album), Bednarczyk is draping the intangible fabric of music on a threedimensional grid.

One could compare this technique to using dust for rendering a beam of light visible: Attached to fragments of material particles, tones are suddenly floating through a palpable space. It is telling in this respect that the field recordings used on Let’s make better Mistakes are rarely as concrete as the bycicle bells, voices and distant train puffs of „The Sketch“. Mostly, they are indistinct and open to interpretation instead, merging with clouds of sweet overtones and all but immobile atmospheres. Likewise, the physical properties of Bednarczyk’s soundscapes are becoming increasingly important: Tactile, shimmering drones in the opening half of the work are tenderly tickling the skin, deep, sonorously bulging bass-frequencies in the later stages gently massaging your belly. Their tone may get more moody towards the end, their timbres darker. But the record never looses its comforting and radiating warmth.

From a more rational perspective, not all that much is happening here. Variations, if at all, are occuring in elements usually perceived as texture. Movement, if that’s the word, is caused by the shifting overlaps of intrinsically constant cycles. Development, in the sense of transforming a set of materials, is notably absent or so subtle that it reinforces rather than ruptures the deep and intense calm of the flow. This, of course, is exaxctly what things are all about here. The stasis of these outwardly pristine and pure sequences suspends linear time and emphasises their non-musical aspects. Instead of following the unraveling of a narrative, listeners are invited to loose themselves entirely in the moment, just like the eye would wander the frozen instant of a photograph. Which is why, after an initial phase of feeling strangely unmoved by these radically unspectacular compositions, they are leaving indelible and phantasmagorically glowing imprints on the retina.

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