POLAND MONOTYPE RECORDS MONO062 CD (2013)
First exposure to the sleeve photos and text and it seems clear that Hati come on like some kind of three-man Z’EV 1. What looks like a collection of at least one example of every kind of struck metal percussion fills the dank chambers of “Fort I”, wherever that is. On the cover is a photograph of the multifarious percussion objects set up inside the fort, windows open, in daylight. Inside, the mood is sombre with a shot from the same position with Slawek Ciesielski, Rafal Iwanski and Rafal Kolacki poised mid-strike over same instruments, shadows threatening to subsume everything. The sounds issuing forth from the disc contribute in no small part to the feeling of unease and foreboding. Relentless hammering, skilled and unskilled, contradicting rhythms, splashes of cymbals and gongs, tam-tam, bells chime ominously – this urgent and dangerous music (or something close to it) could have been performed centuries ago. Martial drums, spindly rattling – this is the sound of collapse, mental and physical. What have we done to deserve this treatment? Like the sound of invading Vikings in the moments before they stepped on our shores for the very first time.
The third piece, “Wild Temple”, is a more sedate affair although this quasi-Imperialist Western idea of co-opting the spirituality and perceived aura of peace and restfulness of temples (from ANY religion) is slightly misleading. How different would this music be if it was performed in a Methodist church in Merthyr? Or even the Burgess Hill Tesco’s aisle 10? Not very, I suspect.
By track six, “The Last Breath Of Ra”, it has become an out of control machine; an industrial lathe or machine vice. Not until the final track, “Limbus”, does the onslaught stop. “Limbus” is closer to what you’d expect from a Nonesuch Explorer lp of gamelan music. Its steady minimal melodic clusters – although to describe it as melodic may be pushing it slightly – bring the listener down and back up to earth. Whatever, this sure is 51 minutes of essential listening. Immerse yourself in a world devoid of file formats, processing speeds, hard disc options and the like; this is timeless pure analogue music, simultaneously advanced and primitive; only the sound of wood hitting metal sounds this evocative.