Agent Lee

Bionulor is the versatile Pole Sebastian Banaszczyk, whose releases often place the sampling technique to the fore. How fitting that his recent release Stary Pisarz (ONIRON ON.004) is a tribute to one of the progenitors of the literary cut-up method, William Burroughs. The title translates as ‘The Old Writer’ and the music draws on episodes in the colourful life of that cranky old American, with specific references to locales such as Tangier embedded in titles and music. He also refers to particular books of Burroughs. Bionulor did it in 2014 at a multi-media event called the Word Deconstruction Festival, where his music was accompanied by appropriate visuals; there was even a special film made by a Polish collective, wherein the part of Burroughs was played by Leszek Szelag.

Very often, “tributes” to Burroughs can misfire, and the listener is left facing a clumsy attempt by the artist to convey the randomness of cut-ups through a wild audio jumble of nonsensical sounds. Conversely, the success of Biounlor’s music on this occasion lies in its simplicity and discipline, often juxtaposing only two or three sounds together in a highly mysterious and taut fashion, resulting in compellingly dark fragments held together with strange internal rhythms. Instead of suggesting an aural analogue to reading texts, it’s more as though Stary Pisarz is letting us somehow feel the dreams and imaginative reveries of Burroughs himself, with the Moroccan musical quotes drifting in and out like faded memories. Bionulor has thus succeeded in evoking the mental processes of the writer, rather than simply aping the surface effects of the cut-up. A minor triumph. From 9th March 2016.

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