Andrzej Nowak – A View of Wilderness (Mondoj)
By Jeff Brown
Andrzej Nowak’s A View of Wilderness is the sixth release by Polish experimental electronic label Mondoj, following Nowak’s 2016 debut, Cocktail Paint. A View of Wilderness utilizes a specific conceptual technique in its compositional strategies, which the artist refers to as “geolocational abstraction.” This entails recording the same take in multiple separated areas. According to Nowak, “[t]he sounds are then compared, layered and compiled until reaching fluidity. The multitude of places, contexts, the diversity of cabins, the views from their windows, the smells, the circumstances and used fabrics greatly influence the perception of sounds and thinking about their possible combinations, opening up a new space for experiments not only towards music, but also its sublimation.”
‘80s Synclavier tones are present throughout the album. Notes shift out of left field, creating sounds difficult or impossible to replicate with acoustic instrumentation. Minimalist ambient lines, sometimes augmented with percussion and bass, serve what Nowak describes as “the presence of wilderness and beauty of sublime.”
From open to close, Civilization Phase 3 is brought to mind, reminiscent of the instrumentation and scales used by Frank Zappa. Other tracks feature swamp-like sequencer lines evoking The Residents circa 1976, reinforcing the nature theme. Crisp and clean like a machine accented with chrome, chimes and other percussion are used to propel tracks along for an upbeat experience that never dulls.
Overall, this is wonderful computer music. Succinct, clocking in around 25 minutes, A View of Wilderness is a full and refreshing recording that encourages repeated listens.
(You can grip A View of Wilderness on cassette and digital download at: https://mondoj.bandcamp.com/album/a-view-of-wilderness)