Monday 18 May 2020

'Erozje' by Błoto

Under the guise of Błoto, the spin-off project of EABS release their debut album 'Erozje' on eclectic jazz label Astigmatic Records.

New projects from Polish jazz sextet, EABS, are genuinely fascinating - namely because you never know what they'll bring to the table each time.  Their Astigmatic Records debut in 2017 saw the collective pay tribute to Polish film music composer and pianist Krzysztof Komeda, known for his film scores for select Roman Polanski releases.  Their 2019 sophomore release, 'Slavic Spirits', saw them reinvent their sound this time seeking inspiration from the 1970s jazz-rock-electronic fusion period of Czeslaw Niemen's music and then merging that with themes of Slavic Melancholia, mythology and Polish demonology.  We actually concluded a review of 'Slavic Spirits' with the words "we look forward to what EABS set their sights on next".

And in 2020 we have Błoto - a quartet comprised of EABS members themselves under new guises including Latarnik (piano/synthesizers), Wuja HZG (bass), Cancer G (drums) and Książę Saxonii (sax).  Born of an improvisation session in August 2018, its players must have felt like they had struck gold while creating the music that would go on to become 'Erozje'.  With 90's hip-hop serving as the chief inspiration for this project, 'Erozje' seems to continue in that vein of dynamic and genre-pushing contemporary jazz projects from Astigmatic who last year alone had wonderful releases from EABS, the spiritual jazz offering from the Levitation Orchestra 'Inexpressible Infinity' and the spaced out sonic soundscapes of Cykada's debut self-titled album.

Hip-hop has always served as a great inspiration towards shaping EAB's music.  Looking as far back as the group's live compilation, 'Puzzle Mixtape', which featured a collection of live performances recorded between 2012-2014 and showcased, not only EABS's level of improvisation and creativity amidst a live setting, but also their passion for hip-hop through collaborations with M.E.D. and Jeru the Damaja, as well as an awesome interpretation of a classic Jay Dee production, 'Reminisce', featuring vocals by Paulina Przybysz.

The compositions on 'Erozje' serve as a wonderful tribute to those years that saw names like Pete Rock, DJ Premier and Jay Dee at their creative peaks.  Even the way many of the songs merge into each other plays out like a vintage hip-hop mixtape - the piano loops on 'Czarne ziemie' sound like a classic RZA-infused production sample from early Wu-Tang Clan offerings while other songs veer from the sublime ('Kałuże') to an almost hypnotic and otherworldly level of complexity ('Glina').

'Erozje' is another fantastic album that carries the flag for Astigmatic's vision of contemporary jazz and in time honoured tradition, when considering the work of EABS and Błoto, we eagerly look forward to what they set their sights on next.

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