PRZEMYSLAW RUDZ: Back to the Labyrinth (2014)
Updated: Nov 6
“Creative, intense and puzzling, Back to the Labyrinth is a strong album that will turn your ears upside down”
1 Grand Parade of Narcissistic Wiseacres 5:38
2 Family Row at Mr. & Mrs. Quark's House 11:17
3 Curiosity Seeker 7:56
4 Back to the Labyrinth 22:34
5 It Was a Wrong Pill, Honey! 1:49
6 Asymptotic Approach to Full Understanding 9:36
(DDL 58:54) (V.F.)
Who doesn't remember the brass bands of our childhoods? The rollings of the drums were impressive. The effect sounded like an immense thunder which rolled constantly and which transported the allegorical harmonies of clarions. This is how opens the last offering of Przemyslaw Rudz. BACK TO THE LABYRINTH fits to the continuity of the works of the Polish synthesist who unites marvellously the bridges between progressive rock and an EM of an intergalactic kind strongly inspired by Jean-Michel Jarre. And if we dig a little the story of Przemyslaw we notice that he was part of a band named Labyrinth in the 90's whose music was widely inspired by groups of progressive music so diversified as that of Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd and King Crimson. It's with this group that Przemyslaw Rudz has teething prog music and began the art of composing. Buried well in his souvenirs the compositions of Labyrinth’s music resurface on this album in particular by means of tracks 1 and 4. Przemyslaw Rudz rearranges them with current tastes in a clearly more electronic approach. And it's this sensation which submerges our ears when the very apocalyptic synths of Grand Parade of Narcissistic Wiseacres fall down and doesn't erase at all this sensation to hear ELP during their incursion in the big symphonic rock of Works. The brass band is striking and the harmonies are finely polished up with a passive rhythm which is also very lively. The symbolic march ends in a bouquet of cacophony where the chirping of synths, the effects of sonic sea waves and the cosmic singings betray the influences of Jarre on the music of Rudz.
The first 20 seconds of Family Row at Mr. & Mrs. Quark's House offer astral waves and intergalactic chirpings. Very early, heavy layers eroded by reverberations from big devilish organ are covering this eclectic sonic duet which sinks into a strong electronic rock tinged by a kind of funky approach. The bass line is superb. It quivers and bites our ears while the cybernetic cawings are dancing with solos which take more and more place. The rhythm is pleasantly lively. A little as a lascivious dance which changes finely its approaches. The percussions are just rather presents, and rather attractive moreover, to support this amazing play of bass. Przemyslaw Rudz sprinkles cosmic synth pads which float and intertwine in a background which is of use as sonic decoration to a heavy cosmic rock of which the tangents vary, adopting rather futuristic cosmic phases, just like the splendid solos which replace with a beautiful acumen the singings, the harmonies and the solos of guitar. It's a very strong track which makes a little shade to Curiosity Seeker which is a little built in the same mold. Although funkier, more dancer and more electronic, this piece of music possesses ingredients which get closer to Tangerine Dream music. And the solos … Humm! As much beautiful and skillful as delicious for ears. The title-track leads us in the meanders of the good evolutionary structures that we find on great progressive rock. Its intro is deafening; a little as a messenger of the apocalypse who lands on earth with brass band and trumpets. The percussions are titanic and the synth stammers jerky harmonies, so much they seem shy. After a brief cosmic respite, wooden percussions quiver as an uncontrollable typist. Others are added, weighing down a rhythm which kicks as a wild animal. Discreet orchestrations hatch finely these colorful atmospheres while the percussions terrorize the evanescent harmonies. Our ears have difficulty to seize all this symphony which drops some of its heterogeneous sounds outside our headphones. But it is beautiful. This delicious cacophony hides fragments of cosmic harmonies which go and come by holding onto the heat of the synth solos whereas Back to the Labyrinth shows now a beautiful and fluid musicality before being delighting in a soft moment of cosmic serenity. And bang! The powerful titanic arrangements come back at the point of 6 minutes. Taking marvellously advantage of its 23 minutes, Back to the Labyrinth changes its skin to evolve through patterns of progressive rock strongly nuanced by a bass line with funky fragrances and by percussions which restructure the rhythm towards a more hopping kind of rock. The cosmic envelopes remain present and represent splendidly the antipodes of rock and symphonic electronic sagas with superb solos as piercing as those of a guitar. These solos are enchanting. They sing twisted harmonies. It's like Yes without Steve Howe and with Jean-Michel Jarre. Back to the Labyrinth still changes skin at around the 15th minute. This time, it sounds Bill Bruford who hammers a structure become totally off the chain and of which the spheroidal swiftness is either chewed on by a torrid bass or perfumed of splendid and rather aggressive synth solos. This is a sonic frenzy that we can link to Yes' Gates of Delirium so much it is wild, mad and that we hear so many different perfumes of influences which inspired Przemyslaw Rudz. After the short and jazzy It Was a Wrong Pill, Honey! and its piano running over lively percussions, Asymptotic Approach to Full Understanding concludes the album with the best of both worlds; be an electronic intro which slumbers under a swarming bed of indomitable sequences and an explosive finale where solos fall as sound torrents on a structure heavily hammered by wild percussions and violently pecked by a good line of throbbing bass.
Creative, intense and puzzling, BACK TO THE LABYRINTH is a strong album which will turn your ears upside down. Never Przemyslaw Rudz will have been so wild. Flanked of Dominik Chmurski on electric violin and of Jarek Figura on guitar, he personifies a tentacular being who feeds constantly his structures with an impressive sound pallet of which the depth shows a competent dominance over his art, his writing, his equipments and his charms. To have because there are a few of those works of this quality out there.
Sylvain Lupari (November 5th, 2014) *****
Available on Generator PL