The Record Store Day annual event celebrates independent record stores and their ability to hold, with a ninja-like grip, their autonomy over the music they champion. So, with that as our founding tenet, If Music head honchos Jean-Claude and Adrian Magrys curate a sterling six-track project of Eastern European sounds from 1970-1986; more specifically Polish music spanning genres like disco and jazz.
From the opening disco-enthused sounds of ‘Discopus’ by Wojciech Karolak, it’s clear that this will be an enjoyable aural journey. Further statements of that disco intent come in the shape of a big bass riff in Andrzej Korzyński’s ‘L’Arme Du Milicien – Patkarz’, punctuate the track with purpose, while that disco funk vibe takes you on a dreamy, slightly surreal ride where it’s okay to wear pants that are overly tight in the crotch area.
While the disco journeys are enjoyable, it is the jazz numbers which hold court majestically; they sound contemporary without losing their actual point of reference. Polski Jazz Ensemble’s, ‘Song for Ewa’ begins with the immortally sexy sounds of what seems to be an oboe, before the ensemble jump headlong into a near eight minute composition.
Track four, however, is the real standout. Maybe it’s the small, anecdotal interlude that precedes , detailing how he started this composition in 1969 only to eventually finish it in New York with a few life experiences behind him, that make it seem special. Slightly ominous sounding keys, bongos, a satisfying solo from the bass and riffs that fly off in uncontrollable directions threatening to go off key, but returning to ride within the melody. It’s the type of jazz you want and, at the end, you feel that you have truly travelled somewhere spectacular and want to return very soon.
Indeed that feeling of wanting to return to this ‘special’ place pervades this Record Day compilation that stands as a great testament to the team over at If Music.