[Reviewed by: Damiano Lanzi]
Kapital is a duo formed by synth/electronics player Rafał Iwański (aka X-NAVI:ET) and guitarist Kuba Ziołek (aka Stara Rzeka). The union of these two worlds results in a spatiality and concreteness that is difficult to detect in electronic music today. The skills of the two musicians are undeniable. I already appreciated Iwański’s mastery of analog instrumentation in his 2013 album “Dead City Voice” and on the other hand Ziołek is an amazing guitarist, not only for the impeccable use of effects and loops but also for his improvisations, as you can hear in the moving wha-wha solo of “Zona Depressa”. Another remarkable aspect of his playing is that regardless of the tons of processors, the guitar sounds somewhat vintage (just listen to the twang arpeggios of “In Vivo”).
Even if, despite its title, there is really little of the digital in “No New Age”, when I play it I have the impression of listening to the music of the future. That’s because Kapital often transcends musicality, being highly psychedelic at some points, but never crossing the thin red line that separates music and noise. There is a constant tension towards noise; the sounds are manipulated, saturated, stained with effects and loops, but maintain a richness and musical sense that in the end is extremely agreeable to the ear.
In my opinion this is a groundbreaking approach to music-making, that is somewhat reminiscent of Flying Lotus. There is always an element that you can recognize as music, preserved through the layers of processing. Even though this element is constantly on the verge of falling apart, the listener clings to it in a state of apprehension. This album could be the soundtrack for a nuclear aftermath where a handful of people have survived, and this small society struggles not to fall back into chaos. Maybe this is the sense of the duality between the first track “Live On!” and its anagram/twin track “No Evil”. While the first one is maybe the most canonic and humane composition in the album, with organ-like harmonized guitar and metallic percussions, the second contains almost the same ingredients, but reversed, pitched and made hostile and abstract. Over it all, the lines of the saw-synth communicate a powerful sense of desolation, appropriate for an 80s post-apocalyptic movie score. Again, there seems to be a contradiction within the title, but maybe there is “No Evil” because there is no more humanity at all?