Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

GERDA “DEVIL”: The devil is in the details

I have the impression that despite the undoubtedly rich artistic portfolio, a musical career Wojtek Bąkowski she slowed down a bit. At least from a publicity perspective. These are no longer the times when songs like this “Nice Young Man” Niwei – his project with Dawid Szczęsny (where’s the new Normal Echo?!) earned PLN 400,000 each. views.

One could have the impression that it was a fictionalized biographical film “Heart of Love”, in which Jacek Poniedziałek played the role of a musician, and which talked about his relationship with Zuzanna Bartoszek, was in a way the culmination of his work. A dot over the “i”. Not at all! WuEsBe is still active, since Niwei he has released several solo albums, a GERDA recorded from Jan Piasecki is the best example that its development is worth watching.

Because I admit, I often had trouble with the musical aspect of Wojciech’s work. There were numerous moments in which he teetered on the edge of pretentiousness, with performative concepts popping out of the speaker in a way that was all too jarring. GERDA, on the other hand, seems to me to be Bąkowski’s most accessible project as a musician. As fascinating as it is, above all, self-sufficient in its musical form. Also for listeners who are not familiar with who Wojciech actually is.

My big problem with Niwea was the fact that Bąkowski regularly played the role of “someone”, which sometimes made the whole thing unnecessary comic. “No” has become downright meme – perhaps that was the author’s intention, but considering his current work, it must have been too much at some point.

For me, GERDA is, above all, Bąkowski’s most impressive poetic performance so far, steadily throwing out his very specific, sparse in words, but full of meaning lines. It is difficult to avoid comparisons to Miron Białoszewski, whose inspiration the artist himself has never hidden and has even cooperated with the Foundation in the past. Miron Białoszewski. Returning to the album, there are plenty of quotes here. “My worries turn into neon,” he says “Stars”. “My costume for tomorrow is hanging on the door,” he recites dreamily “Sinbad”. Sometimes you come across something completely chilling, like the ominous tone that “the mother was killed by a salmon Daewoo Lanos” in “Kitty” or “I have a thick skin that protects the world from me”, which begins the song “Heart”.

We cannot forget about the musical layer, for which Bąkowski and the above-mentioned Jan Piasecki are responsible. Of course, don’t expect easy and pleasant melodies here. Species instability is the norm here. The album opens with a number that sounds like it was taken from some Amiga RPG based on “Dungeons & Dragons”, you will find stormy ambient sounds in “Horse” Whether “Yetim”the dreamy “Sinbad” with an incredibly winding flute part. “Monster” and “Clock” however, they seem to be some kind of travesty of Death Grips, if only there was a bit more noise and Bąkowski was a more expressive vocalist. What all foundations have in common is a mass of anxiety rubbing into the skin. Even if there is a spark of hope, it is extinguished as quickly as possible.

But because of the way music serves the narrative here, I cannot imagine the words being separated from the instrumental layer. Because of course, it is largely the background, but it is the background that gives color to the whole. Would you say this is a detail? The devil is in them.

GERDA, “DIABEŁ”, Dyspensa Records