The title of Grzegorz Bojanek‘s latest effort implies sorting, attrition, deterioration. At one time, more sounds – perhaps all sounds – existed. Now, only these remain. In the process of composing, Bojanek distilled a batch of possibilities, settling on these distinctive sources. By eliminating the banal, the artist creates an aural allure. Take for example the opening (title) track, which incorporates bass, static and electronic samples, mixing them with something that sounds like a NASA transmission. No guitar, no piano, no drum – and yet a keen and discernible structure. The final minutes are filled with chains and soft traffic. Part Two (two tracks later) is noticeably busier. The static field has become a cloud, and a bell tolls through the unearthly gloom. As the mood darkens, the perspective changes; the opening part now seems but a prelude.
These pieces are separated by a woodwind piece; a bass clarinet stands between the halves like a referee at a football match. A wandering pulse develops as the piece progresses, establishing a sonic bulkhead. But in Track Four, breath becomes the primary instrument: drifting, echoing, looping, and finally diving into a pool of scattered, stuttered woodwind notes. This variety continues throughout the album, which invites the organic and the processed to the same reception, but never forces them to make small talk. Instead, they flirt around the edges of polite conversation, dropping hints that perhaps they should slip outside for a more private tete-a-tete.
If all music sounded like all other music (as it often seems on popular radio), we wouldn’t want to write about it. We need this sort of experimentation – brave, yet accessible – to retain our interest. It’s difficult to be different without losing a shot at mass appeal, but Bojanek walks this tightrope well. Remaining Sounds is never in danger of alienating. Instead, the album makes one wonder why a wide variety of sounds is often difficult to find. Bojanek may choose the sounds left behind when all others have been taken, but this “second tier” of instruments comes across as more hungry and earnest as the first, and the album more distinctive than the majority of its peers. (Richard Allen)