If there’s anyone left who never heard of Zbigniew Karkowski – born into eternity on December 12, 2013 – here is a heartfelt tribute reminding why we should keep the flame of his art alive. Richard Whitelaw’s article quotes important names; two decades ago I could have thought of such comparisons as overstatements.
Not anymore, as over the following years – and, make no mistake, well before he waved us goodbye – I came to the conclusion that this Polish extremist truly created something huge with his expertise on immoderate dynamics and intelligent response to their conduct.
One of the primary features of Karkowski’s macrocosm is the nearness of harsh grime and heavenly scent (although he would not appreciate the exercising of an ineffable commonplace to suggest what he did). In The Last Man In Europe – amazingly taped live only six weeks prior to the demise – his adherence to the flexible rules of impulsive electronics warrants several moments of bona fide goose bumps. And, on occasion, brief clinics on the causes of tinnitus.
The concatenation of events and the mutation of psychological conditions generated by the acoustic tensions are simply flawless, from perturbed quietness to epic discharge of evil energy. With the same naturalness we should be prepared to accept whatever comes our way.
Renowned for having shattered a venue’s toilet bowl through the use of ultra-intense frequencies one night, Karkowski was acutely interested in the conjunction of capsules of (un)adulterated vibration with the explosive consequences of a radical treatment of the same. He was totally into the Sound, definitely conscious of what those experiments meant in terms of sheer evolution. In this set we encounter a large selection of apparently hostile, but in reality therapeutic juxtapositions.
Detailing 110 minutes of them would be as ineffectual as describing the lava and the gases coming from a volcano. Or – in keeping with contemporary trends – hypothesizing a correlativity between some sort of scientific advancement and a mystifying unseeable entity for naive minds to believe in.
Ah, the brain-numbing inscrutability of pure nullity.
On the other hand, ZK used to abuse his physical self quite a lot. That was probably what caused his terrene parable to end too soon, which seems to be the standard case for visionaries too curious to know what lies beyond the existence’s terminal point.
However, if there is one thing we can be certain of is that he had readied himself to transcend to an extra-corporeal dimension. As Whitelaw synthesizes, “he didn’t give a shit”. Indeed he was the quintessential one-liner, his remarks often characterized by scathing irony.
But boy, did he handle those quaking substances with mastery.
All in all, a compelling recording to absorb deep within. In the era of aristocratic connections and omniscient cliques, in the places where it is essential to maintain cordial relationships with the purveyors of opportunities for a career’s improvement, evidently there was no room for someone directed straight to the nucleus of significance.
He went there in person a little early. Sometimes, one just can’t wait. Life’s inhabitants are so dull when the music is over and the gibberish starts again.