The work of Polish composer Jacaszek has always seemed cinematic, so it’s no surprise he’s turned his talents to film. As these films have not yet found their global audience, the appearance of this collection is a gift. This being said, one can see why his attention was drawn to these projects, in particular Rainer Sarnet’s dark Estonian fantasy November. The trailer portrays a world Jacaszek already seems to inhabit: dark woods, sinister secrets, growing dread. The cinematography alone is enough to put it in the category of The Lighthouse.
The track sequencing is meant to preserve a sense of flow, so the November tracks are scattered about; one also encounters pieces from He Dreams of Giants and Golgota wrocławska. This was a wise decision, as the set flows as one. “The Iron Bridge” introduces shuffling tones and a low-pitched, worldly voice, and ends in glissandos; already we’re hooked. Will the goat appear in our path? Will we be able to escape?
One would think the tracks from He Dreams of Giants would break the tonal mold. After all, this is a documentary adaptation of Don Quixote from Terry Gilliam. But The Guardian describes the score as “eerie,” which fits the artist perfectly, while the lesser-known 2008 TV movie Golgota wrocławska is suitably suspenseful. As the liner notes indicate, it’s impossible to glean that one track was beamed from a prior century. Jacaszek’s music has always contained a touch of nostalgia, which allows his music to nudge into the timeless. Consider “Christ Blood Theme,” which incorporates an ancient church choir.
At 68 bpm, “Dance” is a slow-burning composition that conjures images of circling rivals. The conflict never erupts, but one can picture the closed fist, the clenched knife. “Encounter Me in The Orchard” is another highlight, marked by its use of static and bass. The track builds to a light crescendo, which is noteworthy as few such moments appear on the album, another reason to include it in the later tracks. The final minute of “November Late” pushes the volume to new heights, while closer “The Zone” ends the album on an uncertain note. Dark fantasy tends to withhold tidy resolution, a facet that Jacaszek honors here; the story is incomplete, but the ending sure seems dark. (Richard Allen)