Martyna Poznanska: field recordings

Given that Poznanska reports about this piece of work as an investigation of fairly alienating impressions linked to the conditions of post-Cold War Eastern Europe, it’s strange to find ourselves calling Listening East an album that transmits considerable quantities of understated human warmth. This besides a constitutional musicalness distinguishing it from the throng of releases that fish from the environmental circumstances of a definite place without an equally sharp logic.

The thirteen tracks range from fugitive snippets to longer portions, actually this writer’s favorites (particularly the magnificently titled “Behrens Did Not Own A Sea”, an obvious tip of the hat to fellow documentarist and namesake Marc). It is in those lengthier stretches – which, nevertheless, are often made of briefer scenes succeeding inside bewitching acoustic fabrics – that we can take account of the composer’s responsive ear and discerning use of sonic coloring. I am not aware of the exercising of electronics and/or effects, but there seems to have been a clever job of processing behind the enthralling reverberance and hypnotically involving milieus presented in episodes such as “Cesar” or the self-explanatory “Sound Visibility”. In selected instances, one is literally lulled into intellectual obliviousness by the sheer psychological consequence of a stratification: the best example being “Better Run”, its finest attribute a terrific counterpoint of alarm signals.

But it’s not hard to be kind to more “average” noises and echoes of everyday’s life – creaking mechanisms, marine washes, howling winds, men at work, a loquacious lady accompanying herself with an accordion on a street somewhere – because of the feeling of truthfulness emerging throughout. Poznanska’s combinative cognitions do the rest, the whole summarizable in a sincere invitation to deepen the knowledge of her activities. In times yet to come, perhaps you will recall who was the first to tell you that this young Polish soundscaper “has it”.

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