MYSTERY SEA 28 | Pawel Grabowski | [Arh]


click to enlarge front click to enlarge back


-“To begin at the beginning.
It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courters’-and-rabbits’ wood limping invisible down to the sloeback, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea. The houses are blind as moles…”

Dylan Thomas [Under Milky Wood]

"This is how it starts, a book that for me is a perfect companion in the times of trouble. And the music for ARH is based on such time in my life. A time when I lost almost everything, home, personal belongings…and ended up being dependant on other peoples good will. ARH was recorded some time later, but as a reaction to that time, during the process of contemplating what happened and getting over it, turning it into just another story. And everytime I listen to the album, it all comes back…like a story…so, to begin at the beginning…."

- Pawel Grabowski, September 2005


Pawel Grabowski is a polish expatriated composer & musician...
His first steps in music were as a doublebass player with faction MIASTONIESPALO (1998-2000), a prized chamber music trio using cello, accordion & double bass...
After playing his final note with the band, he went solo & started working with electroacoustic music combined with field recordings, releasing his debut on german LAUB label ("Diarakth" 7" EP) a pervasive droning mantra...
In 2002, relocated to Ireland, he refined his skills, creating along the way his own imprint SILENCE IS NOT EMPTY records...
His debut on it was "Glitch Letters", a much less drony, microtonal work,
a study of silence...
Combining the experiences from playing microtonal and improv, he elaborated further his own musical language, again based on slow textured sensitive drones studded with minimal sounds & concrete elements...
This return to drones first saw daylight on "Cirr's songs", a 7" recorded for DRONE in 2005. Since then, there has been an appearance on the portuguese CRONICA label and on a few other compilations, and much more is in the pipeline...
Pawel's MS contribution "Arh" is a quasi exorcizing movement in 4 parts,
the reflection of a personal troubled period...
"Arh" is a house of healing sounds
where water oozes from cracked walls
like sudden visible tears after a stupefied silence...
static drones make the rooms breathe
& swirling, circling patterns breed frozen moments of sheer contemplation,
condensed waves of emotional depth...
"Arh" pictures an inward wreck
a disappearance, & its engraved memories
echoes of our errant life...
"Arh" flows solemnly
dissipating all our fears
and in its spectral traces
lie the seeds of redevelopment...


01. > listen !
03. > listen !




VITAL WEEKLY 508|Frans De Waard
Little by little the name of Pawel Grabowski is getting around. He hails from Poland and played double bass in Miastoniepalo from 1998 to 2000. Since then he plays electro-acoustic music, moved to Ireland, released 7"s on Laub Records and Drone Records and a couple of CDRs. Here he appears on two new releases of which one is his first real CD release, and both releases will certainly bring his career further. On Mystery Sea, Grabowski offers four deep rumbles of sub-aquatic sounds, entirely conceived in the zeroes and ones of the computer, but capturing quite nicely the label's esthetic of deep ambient music that sounds like it is recorded below the sea-level. Unlike some of the other artists on Mystery Sea, Grabowski's pieces sound actually more like songs, with vague hints towards rhythm (such as in the first of 'Arh') and in every track a bit of melody. The water hits upon a shipwreck and the picture becomes clearer: the music is the search for an old boat, set to electro-acoustic music. Quite a beauty this one.
vital weekly

Should we be afraid of the day Pawel Grabowski turns into a completely happy man? Even though it is a sorry myth that great music inevitably derives from sadness and misery, his fascinating musical diary seems like an endless lament:”This album dealt with the experience of death”, he writes about the final album with his former band Miastoniespalo, an experimental chamber music outfit, and "Diarakth”, his first offering as a solo artist, “was recorded when he was very sick”. One of his following two works took shape “during a very lonely Christmas Evening” and the other was about drowning. So it should seem as though this album, a reminder of troubled times, only continues the theme. Admittedly, “Arh” is not the kind of music you would want to play on your child’s birthday party. The greyish cover alreadys sets the mood for a somnambule set of the loneliest tracks imaginable – musical material is scant, sparse and stripped down to a scary sceleton sleepwalking on a full moon night. Part I and III of this composition in four movements use a two-layered approach to create an intense effect : while bleakly shimmering drones breath and heave a sigh in perfect isolation, bizarre noises open up the gates to a strange land: Doors are creaking, bolts are locking, metallic parts are moaning, tiny drops of water are trickling down the cavern walls. The other two pieces are even more intimate, allowing plains of longing to swell and shift, passing by the mind’s eye in a surreally slow tempo.It is in these impressively deep and infinite tracks that the transformation takes place, which allows “Arh” to stand apart from the usual Dark Ambient works. For they succeed to somehow take the listener closer to a truth within himself instead of pulling him down a bottomless hole. A ritual of healing, therefore, a place of refuge. Even its stupendous power hasn’t as yet saved our hero, though – Grabowski’s current album is still called “Notes from the house of dead”. Which is maybe not the saddest thing. While we sincerely wish Pawel Grabowksi all the best in the world, we wouldn’t mind if he doesn’t turn into a completely happy man right away.
mouvement nouveau

CHAIN D.L.K.|Eugenio Maggi
Rated : 4 stars out of 5
Polish artist Pawel Grabowski may still be defined a newcomer in the drone niche if we judge him by the number and dates of his releases, but he's surely one of the best in terms of quality. This limited-to-100-copies cdr on Mystery Sea, featuring four untitled movements, is much in the same mood of his excellent vinyl on Drone Records; I haven't been able to check it out, but possibly there are some recurring sounds as well. As usual, Grabowski weaves some solemn, at times sombre soundscapes; though we surely couldn't call this dark ambient, I'm positive there are some restless nights behind his works. "Arh" is an excellent realease from start to end, with incredibly pure and mesmerizing drones, at times punctuated by field recordings, as the creaking door in track 3. Nothing new in terms of components, but just listen and you'll see how Grabowski stands out from the rest.


>>> back to the Reviews index