Werner Urban ~ Dworzac Towarowy

coverDworzac Towarowy is a catchy record with an unusual construction: a set of field recordings rearranged into dance shapes.  For comparison’s sake, think Coldcut’s “Natural Rhythm”, but with dominant percussion.  The head starts to bob, the feet to tap as soon as the vinyl hits the groove, but as one can see in the video below, there’s much more to this music than clever beats.

While vacationing in Poland, Werner Urban and his photographer girlfriend Lilian van Rooij discovered an abandoned freight station known to locals as Dworzac Towarowy.  Most tourists would avoid such a place, but these two found themselves drawn to its sonorities.  Urban’s glee is apparent as he rolls tires, smashes glass, and kicks miscellaneous debris, then aims his recorder like a death ray.  Zap!  A quick trip to the studio, and the smashes, crashes, rolls and rain become the basis of a sampledelic set.  The artist captures the feeling of discovery we have as children when we encounter new materials out in the urban wild ~ pipes and wires, rocks and blocks.  “Listen to this!” we might say.  “Cool!” our companion might respond.  But Urban takes it a step further, preserving the crumbling environment within a framework of fun.

While listening, I recalled an incident from my childhood, as I smashed glass in the bathtub and recorded its sound.  (To this day, I have no idea how my mother allowed this.)  I had gotten the idea from C-Bank’s One More Shot.  The bass of this club track was deep, the vocals were pleasant, but the crash made it memorable.  Urban realizes the appeal of a proper crash, and fills his album with pleasant destruction; the final note, arriving full circle from the opening track, is that of a breaking wine bottle.  Other unintended enhancements underline the sense of place and time: local sirens, a sudden downpour, amused dialogue.  This is a shared journey, an original romantic date, a unique sonic souvenir.  Remember when we went through that hole and saw all that graffiti?  

To cap it all off, the record is offered in a limited edition wooden box with laser cut etching.  There’s a bit of irony in the fact that the end product is so sturdy, while the source material is so broken.  But this fact underlines the artist’s raison d’être:  to preserve broken sounds.  The album also invites listeners to explore their own environments, and to have fun wherever they are; with a little creativity, everything is percussive.  (Richard Allen)

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