Czaszka Recs



Januszewski and Szlazak - "Split"

(Czaszka Records)

This release is an unusual split because the artists are not restricted to respective sides of the tape. Thus the music plays out like an elaborate call and response between the two artists, making this more of a collaboration than a split. 

Januszewski and Szlazak (credited as Nick Edwards & Stuart Chalmers) create an electronic world full of vibrant life, death, and spiritual existences. Each zone shift brings the listener to a new part of the story. For me, the story took the form of an android working in a factory. At first happy with its work, it slowly becomes full of despair and looks longingly out the window at the world outside, wanting to experience life more fully. Suddenly, a malfunction in the equipment causes a horrific accident that damages the android beyond repair. As its life blinks out of being, the android awakens in an altered state, drifting on the spectral plane. Now free to experience the universe, the android spirit wanders through infinity, taking in all that it sees.

There is a great deal of skillful electronically manipulated music here, with segments of electro-rhythmic pulses, and periods of noise-heavy grinding. Always there is a push/pull between techniques and moods, creating a highly textured listening experience. There are no titles or notes to guide the listener, so you will have to create your own words for the story Januszewski and Szlazak are telling through song.

Gray Lee

MELFI - "Four Concerns"


Melfi - "Four Concerns"

(Czaszka Records)

Built from two sidelong tracks, Four Concerns is an artistic assemblage of field recordings and artfully crafted synth-sound pieces that ebb and flow from one aural zone into another, creating an audio experience that gains familiarity on repeat listens, but always retains some mystery.

There are a lot of crevices and shadowed areas in this densely packed sculpture of sound that will take some time for your ears to navigate around. From synthesized planes of existence to noise-driven crescendos, all backed with field-recorded ambience and methodical placement of elements, puncuated with improvisational flourishes of astonishing power, Melfi defines a convoluted boundary, then immediately pushes past it. All of this comes together to form a complex piece that challenges the mind while providing an evocative sensory experience.

Gray Lee

ZAUMNE - "Emo Dub"


Zaumne - "Emo Dub"

(Czaszka Records)

Zaumne adds this selection to the latest Czaszka Records batch with this oddly satisfying, yet inexplicably unsettling release, Emo Dub

The music itself is chill and downtempo, and would normally be very relaxing, but there is a disturbing undercurrent in this piece that comes from the sampled voices that accompany the music. Floating atop cool synth vibes and pleasing structures are voices that are almost like intimate whispers in the listener's ear. The repeated spoken phrases, (Such as the sample from the track, "Special," which is handwritten as the cover art of this release,) are cut up and pitch/speed shifted at various intervals that are not quite human. The juxtaposition of intimate human feeling with robotic repetition and affectation begins to take a life of its own. 

As we progress through the release, the music turns ever-so-slightly to a darker vibe as the voices continue to ebb, flow and change form. The transitions from zone to zone are powerfully smooth, and each vocal sample seems to have been painstakingly chosen to represent different feelings, while adhering to the strict aesthetic of the project. Though each track has a slightly different resonance, all are produced with a laser precision, creating an overall effect for the listener of intense emotions being projected on a moving surface. It is as if Emo Dub is a collection of stray feelings from passing strangers that become trapped within the context of this 44 minute piece and then move along on the surface of it, reflecting back into the world.

Gray Lee