Man Of Iron


Solo percussion noise by Polish experimenter Adam Gołębiewski on his Pool North (LATARNIA RECORDS #LA005) album…Adam is dedicated to the exploration of free music, free jazz, improvisation and (evidently) abstract noise as well, and has played with some excellent musicians in his time including the wild man of the tenor sax, Mats Gustafsson. Also available elsewhere is an obscure document of his Polish tour with Zenial, Michael Esposito, and Phantom Air Waves from 2015.

Pool North is such an extreme-sounding record you might be surprised to learn it’s all acoustic, played on a straight-forward jazz drum kit set-up and recorded with conventional microphone placement. The originality all comes from Adam Gołębiewski’s very direct and innovative playing skills. He stresses his “non-classical” and “far from traditional” instrumental practices, and appears to have developed his own very unusual approaches to sound generation and manipulation. As such, there’s a lot of scraping and rubbing techniques that produce astonishing groaning sounds, forcibly extracting half-alien murmurs and shrieks from metal, wood, and drumskin.

I like this just fine; in fact I prefer it to the few instances where he rattles and bangs and paradiddles in a manner slightly more akin to free jazz. In short, the noisier he gets, the happier I am. It’s one thing to attack the drum kit strewn with multiple foreign objects, as Chris Cutler has done; it’s another thing to bow the cymbals, like Eddie Prévost, and still another to brush gongs to produce lush avant-gamelan drones, like Mark Wastell. Adam Gołębiewski seems determined to push things further down these pathways, and does so in a very physical fashion. Among current avant drummers, I’d say that only Will Guthrie is his match in terms of sheer stamina and extended technique. The cover art, depicting fire irons, is one step away from endorsing medieval torture; it comes close to expressing the near-painful and very physical nature of Gołębiewski’s work, as though he’s pulling teeth or stretching the sinews of a cadaver. From 21 October 2015.

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