[Reviewed by: stark]
Antenna Non Grata is an increasingly dynamic label on the Polish avant-garde scene. Their releases are never easy or trivial, each one requires more than a minimum effort, commitment and obviously listener’s susceptibility to difficult sounds, but most of them can be very satisfying if you just open up to it.
“Reanimation” is probably the best thing I have heard from them so far. Although the first minutes have pushed me away as they were comprised of ill-treated cello in the way that brings it close to musique concrete. Yet after those minutes a great space opens up before you, and it’s impossible not to get absorbed by it.
Chore IA is a project of Jacek Wanat, a philosopher, bassist and avant-garde rock enthusiast, as the label portrays him. The musician somewhat perversely describes the album as too long and sad to listen in solitude. That you cannot dance or clap with it. Dear Jacek, do you really have so little faith in the Polish (let’s say in general) postindustrial-avantgarde listener? After all, you don’t aim for the charts I suppose so the album isn’t intended to be targeted by random audiences anyway. Right, you probably won’t earn money from “Reanimacja”, but the respect of the few dozen people who would listen to it is the matter that shouldn’t be ignored… Okay, I banter here a bit, because there’s no chance that “Reanimation” would win publicity whatsoever, but such trivialization of the message isn’t something that suits me. And death or dying itself is not some unique concept in the history of music, be it mainstream or more from the periphery of the music realm. But, I understand it’s a joke slightly underlined by a little bit of coquetry, so we’re fine.
I also have a bit of a problem with the technical side of “Reanimacja”, specifically with the CD version, which – despite the fact that there are five tracks on the cover – is buta one massive track, forcing you to listen to the CD in its entirety. It’s appropriate of course, because “Reanimation” is one closed entity, but sometimes I’m a lazy listener, I have my favorite fragments here and getting to them is a bit tedious.
Is it a cliche white light and flashbacks reminiscent of specific life events, or maybe a watching a person lying in bed, in a dark room, slowly saying goodbye to the world, or maybe a extended last breath before moving to the next level of existence? I don’t know, but this “dying” which is the subject of the album can be interpreted in any way and basically each approach can be appropriate, the musician doesn’t point anything with his finger, leaving a free space for interpretation, marked by these few signposts, the track titles. You can use them or not, your choice. Musically, it can also be quite diverse, although at the first glance it may actually seem otherwise. Jacek Wanat provides spatial drones here, sometimes acrid feedbacks and dissonances, but also a few moments bringing a tiny bit of light, like that fragment between 16th and 18th minute which is like a serene “seeya” to the cruel, but beautiful world.
So these ambient layers are meandering slowly, intertwining with the sound experiments in a way that’s very conducive to the detachment of the soul from the body (this time metaphorically speaking) and somehow forcing me to press the play button again and again. Maybe dying isn’t all that unpleasant after all?