We’ve been greatly enjoying the output of the Infinite Greyscale label, whose 10″ vinyl releases are always coupled with creative artwork and screen-printed vinyl. This is the fifth release for the label, and the fifth we’ve reviewed, which may not seem fair to all the other labels, but Infinite Greyscale releases only one record a season and gets it right every time.
This one arrives with an engaging backstory, as Stara Rzeka is the name of the Polish village where Kuba Ziołek spends his summers. In 2012, Ziołek encountered the aftermath of a tornado: a seemingly safe place marred by unexpected devastation. Yet the artist, choosing to adopt the name of the village for both composition and moniker, refuses to allow the damage to define his consideration. Instead, he underlines the enduring power of the region.
The first half of the ten-minute track is a troubadour’s love song, based in part on T.E. Hulme’s timely poem, Autumn (II):
Dead memory of summer’s passion past.
Tears dropped, fluttering slowly to the earth …
As the poem proceeds to wait for spring, Stara Rzeka (the village) waits (and works) for rejuvenation, Stara Rzeka (the artist) composes an ode to life, and “Stara Rzeka” (the track) blossoms and blooms, its latter half developing into a dense thicket of new growth. The storm has passed, seared into the memories of all who experienced it. But the storm is no longer their lead story; it’s just something that happened once upon a time, before the seeds, before the sprouts, before the children and the construction. One day, it will simply be a story in a tree ring. And a record is like a tree ring as well, especially a green record portraying a healthy tree. The circle is now complete. (Richard Allen)