Michał Jacaszek, Polish composer and musician first crossed his paths with my music library with his third full-length Treny released on Norwegian label Miasmah. That dark affair, half-classical, half-dark ambient amazed me with its indefiniteness and unapproachability. As with every Miasmah signee, Jacaszek explored his own vision of artistic darkness: bit nostalgic, partly foggy and slightly brutal.
In comparison to Treny, his latest album Glimmer released in the end of 2011 begins somehow lighter, almost shinier. Yes, there’s the droning bass in ‘Goldengrove’ which creates the shadows embracing the music all around, but the main theme of a charmingly singing harpsichord accompanied by playful banjo and fragile glockenspiel. The high-pitched sound of harpsichord – sharp in its sound and majestic in delivery – as if suggested that the glimmering nature of this album dwells in a veneer-like shallowness. Luckily, the following ‘Dare-Gale’ (streamed above; check out its video too) wins over such presumptions. Jacaszek is patient in uncovering its many layers and evolving its beauty towards a magnificence. First, there’s a humble, subdued combination of basic harmonies which are present for the entire six minutes.
‘Dare-Gale’ cracks, breaks down and rises up again reminding of never-dying Phoenix who will burn and than revive even stronger and more beautiful. Jacaszek demonstrates here his talent for building up a tension and releasing it in an ecstatic, noisy climax. However, it’s not just a demonstration of know-how, but also and foremost an emotional peak with heart bumping and mind blowing.
After its first and probably the most glorious highlight, Jacaszek focuses more on structure and instrumental diversity. Whether it’s a deployment of bassoon and clarinet in moody ‘Pod-Swiatlo’ which sounds like a walk across a mysterious woods just a second before a twilight or it’s a scary omen of a over-processed hellish noise in ‘Evening Strains To Be Time’s Vast’ having a dialogue with folklore-tinged clarinet, Jacaszek goes further, but remains true to the concept of Glimmer. Melancholy of baroque inspired ‘As Each Tucked String Tells’ and definitiveness of closing ‘Windhover’ than not only confirm his love for classical music and his processing into a complex of moods, impressions and, of course, glimmers.
Those two faces of Glimmer – serene impressions of classical instruments having a party in a droning limbo – are its most fascinating asset. Jacaszek composed nine versions of such event and every one of them is different, yet very similar. The selection of a harpsichord is even more striking and moves the overall atmosphere into more gothic, but somehow luminous areas as if visiting an old palace with all its ghosts and shadows waiting to be released. And trust me, you’ll love them.
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