Tag Archive for 'Mateusz Franczak'

Radio Kampus. 12th April 2017

Last week saw me returning from a very enjoyable trip to the beautiful city of Tallinn. I’ve now been twice and this year was the first opportunity I had to actually do any sight-seeing and I have to confess, last year I wasn’t impressed: This year I was bowled over. This week on the show we’re making a quick transition between music discovered at Tallinn Music Week, and music I’m looking forward to at Spring Break Festival coming soon…

On this week’s show, then, we start with something unrelated but satisfyingly brilliant, move on through some music from Tallinn and back to music from Poland in anticipation of the trip to Poznań coming soon. Enjoy.

1. Black Tundra – Blinded by the Northern Lights (Self-released)

2. Glintshake – My New Style (Self-released)

3. Sptnk – Solitude (Self-released)

4. Frankie Animal – Golden One (Self-released)

5. Bad Pop – Masculism (Self-released)

6. Seals – Golden Fork (Self-released)

7. Wacław Zimpel – LAM 3 (Part 4) (Instant Classic)

8. Moo Latte x Ane Monsrud – Far Away (Self-released)

9. Swiernalis – Ptak (Kayax)

10. Bastard Disco – Canvas (Antena Krzyku)

11. Koala Voice – Bullet in the Brain (Self-released)

12. Mateusz Franczak – Floating (Too Many Fireworks)

Mateusz Franczak – Lado na WSI #11

Mateusz FranczakIn running a small, independent record label, you spend a lot of time at live shows: Sometimes you follow the local scene, other times you go to hear a band you are interested in. Sometimes you are surprised and excited by a support band, and other times you simply go along to support one of your own artists. I have seen some of the best and some of the worst shows of my life while working for too many fireworks. Tonight though, was an absolute treat.

Unusually, Marta and I arrived late to the show, held outdoors, by Lado ABC, in the garden of one of the Finnish Houses on Jazdów. Performing this evening were Miron Grzegorkiewicz (of the band Jaaa!), and our own Mateusz Franczak. The two musicians have played together in the bands Daktari, and HOW HOW, and now collaborate on the project Giorgio Fazer, however this evening was a solo affair.

Sadly, we arrived towards the end of Miron’s set but his beautiful and subtle ambient electronica mixed with his strange, ethereal vocal – the wavering pitch reminiscent of the vocals of Sigur rós’ Jónsi – was captivating to the audience. Standing behind Miron as he played, it was easy to look out to the assembled listeners and see the fascination. Miron’s set, for us at least, was over all to quickly but I suspect there will be much more of his solo work to come.

Mateusz Franczak followed. I have heard Mateusz play several times now and each time it seems he becomes more confident, more daring, and much tighter in his performance. This evening’s show was close to a tear-jerker for me, and I’m sure many others in the audience. When Mateusz performs the opener to this year’s debut album, long story short – and my favourite of his songs, the beautiful “Lazing”, it stands the hairs on the back of my neck to attention. Throughout the set, his performance on guitar moves effortlessly from achingly delicate to angrily fierce, using loops and infinite delay-holds to devastating effect, and occasionally peppering these performances with soft, understated vocal efforts.

Panorama

As Mateusz’s set ended, I was reminded of the first time I saw Laeto after we had agreed to work together, and the immense pride I had that I would be releasing their album. That a musician and songwriter as talented as Mateusz Franczak is associated with too many fireworks gives me that same pride.

long story short by Mateusz Franczak was released in April on too many fireworks (2mf020) and you can buy it here.

Still to get the joke: the saxophone

h.sororI once said – rather honestly, I’d like to think – that saxophone was a prank that the devil had played on the human race, and we’ve yet to get the joke. From that day to this, it seems that the brass instrument has been trying to get its own back.

A close friend, and the artist responsible for the forthcoming Too Many Fireworks release, Jón Þór, released his debut album in, I think, 2012. A shining example of indie-pop/indie-rock, the album contained the storming “Uppvakningar” which, around the 2:20 mark, includes a sax solo that would not sound out of place among the hits of the Boss and the E-Street band; Clarence Clemons would be proud. Damn it, don’t make me like the sax.

In 2013, in the rather muted false start of the return of Too Many Fireworks, we released a great indie-pop record by the poorly named “Plug&Play”. Towards the end of track 4 of that e.p., the aforementioned brass instrument makes an appearance lending the record’s close a feel of a late 80s soho wine-bar; all neon, and chrome. Maybe the sax has my opprobrium, still.

A year later, I found the excellent TV series Bojack Horseman for the first time. The main theme was composed by Patrick Carney of the Black Keys, and his uncle Ralph Carney – a noted session musician known for his work with Tom Waits. Wondering what instrument Ralph plays? Oh yes. That said, the theme is astonishing and fits the show perfectly. Damn you, Adolphe!

It wasn’t long after that, that Mateusz Franczak approached me at a record fair with his beautiful album “long story short”, and would I like to release it on Too Many Fireworks? On hearing it, my first reaction was “yes sir, yes I would”. It was only later that I discovered Mateusz was particularly well known on the Polish scene for playing… well yes, if you guessed saxophone, you get to move to the top of the class. Gold star.

As you may imagine, by this time my distaste for the saxophone has softened to a great degree and last night, I wandered down to CH25 for a performance by the Ukranian band H.Soror. An astonishing drummer, a bass player with a mooger-fooger, and… a saxophonist. Oh come on!

The band were fantastic and I feel sympathy for anyone that considered coming down but didn’t. The music is hard to characterise but had subtle elements of math rock and new wave. Oddly enough, if the sax had been replaced by a guitar player, I would have left feeling I had enjoyed it but that I’d seen it numerous times before. The sax added something unexpected and unique to such a line-up – the drummer, though, was my personal highlight; I can’t have sax winning the day after all.

Check out H.Soror on their bandcamp.