Maciek Szymczuk ‎– Music For Cassandra


[Reviewed by stark]

Let’s see what this Maciek guy has to offer this time. I always find it interesting how someone who seems like quite a joyful fellow is able to produce such emotional, introspective pieces of music. Is it but a play between musician and listener, or is a sincere exposition of the artist’s inner self, stripping his soul layer by layer not by words, but by music? We liked Maciek Szymczuk’s previous album, “Clouds”, also released by Zoharum. He’s also one half of the Aabzu venture and when I write these words the very fresh album by his first project, Another One, should be out and ready to rock.

According to the label “Music For Cassandra” is based on the character of Cassandra from Greek mythology, but obviously you can invent your own concept as this kind of sound is always ready and willing for other interpretations (remember, your own is always right). Basically, the musician continues the journey he began on “Clouds”. He’s still trying to make things harder in terms of describing the atmosphere in one word. So for people who like labels this might need a little bit of effort. That doesn’t mean that the album is difficult to absorb, not at all. It’s rather easy to listen and doesn’t really require much attention. You can meet Cassandra during the cleaning of your windows or making dinner and it won’t interfere with your peace of mind at all. Yet if you dare to look closer to “Music For Cassandra”, you’ll realize that it’s not sad, but it’s not happy music either. It’s not dark nor light. The atmosphere seems vague and indefinite, even though the music itself is clear and well-sounding. Like when you wake up and forget what your dream was about. One that may seem like a nightmare, but you realize that it was actually pretty cool. Or a beautiful dream the sharp edges of which are immediately lost in the fog of daylight.

The album contains a lot of good melodies, sometimes reminiscent of something you already heard on a different album by a different artist, but in a final conclusion it has a Szymczuk touch, so to speak. Can’t say a bad word about the production either. It’s ambient, but one based on melodies, delicate rhythms and harmonies rather than drones. Made mostly with the use of digital synths and effects, yet enriched here and there with the samples of strings and wind instruments. The warm production and the overall class of the musical structures make me forget about the artificial provenance of the majority of the tracks. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with electronic coldness, I like this kind of music, I just want to underline the feeling that on “Music For Cassandra” there’s a human being behind them.

Favourite tracks? “Spoil Of War” with its opening, very intense guitar-like drone that gradually vanishes and gives a place to atmospheres reminding me of Echoes Of Yul, which as far as I know Maciek appreciates as well. And the following composition, “Infinite Sadness Of Being Right”, soothing and nostalgic. Maciek doesn’t discover America, he doesn’t discover himself again either. He does what he likes best and – at least on this stage of his career, if we can speak of something like a ‘career’ in the ambient world – he’s not interested in changing directions. Anyway, he has other projects for other explorations. Good for him. Good for us.

Maciek Szymczuk ‎– Music For Cassandra
Zoharum, ZOHAR 103-2
CD/Digital 2015


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