NE214: Jacaszek Explores the Fine Line Between Electronic and Classical Music

April 14, 2017 Needle Exchange

“I’m always surprised when my albums are classified as ‘ambient’,” says Polish composer/producer Michal Jacaszek. “They may have ambient elements—like deep reverbs and delayed textures—but I prefer an ‘electroacoustic’ label if quick classification is needed.”

Goddamn gorgeous would also work, frankly, whether you’re talking about Jacaszek’s breakthrough album Treny or his new Ghostly International LP Kwiaty. Both blur the line between organic and electronic music beautifully, and the latter also brings the iridescent choral lines of Hania Malarowska, Joasia Sobowiec-Jamiol, and Natalia Grzebala to the table.

“My natural tendency is creating acoustic sound,” he explains, “even though I work within a digital environment. Because Kwiaty is actually a vocal album, electronic background effects seemed to be a good opposition. The final result sounds warm and natural—the musical language I just can’t run away from.”

To put Jacaszek’s past, present, and future in perspective, we asked him to cut an exclusive mixtape that explores all of the above from an outside perspective. Here’s what he had to say about it, followed by streaming versions of some older records:

This mix combines classical music with modern electronics. My intention was—and has always been—to convince people that no such strict division actually exists.

The first track by Szymanski sounds like processed samples when it’s played live. Bryars and Jeck’s performance is also a perfect blend of ‘artificial’ and ‘acoustic’ sound; you simply can’t recognize where the two cross paths. This fusion is something I’ve been always interested in. It’s my ultimate goal when I create.

TRACKLISTING:
1. Pawel Szymanski – Lux Aeterna
2. Stevan Kovacs Tickmayer – Eight Hymns in Memoriam Andrei Tarkovsky
3. György Ligeti – Lux Aeterna
4. Biosphere – Shenzhou
5. Johann Jakob Froberger “The Strasbourg Manuscript
6. Pawel Szymanski – Compartment 7 Car 2
7. Stefan Schneider + Paul Wirkus – Forest Full of Drums
8. Gavin Bryars + Philip Jeck – The Sinking of the Titanic
9. Fennesz + Sakamoto – Mono

FURTHER LISTENING