Monday, 23 May 2011

Music: Grabek @ Teatralna, Gdynia (16.05.2011)

Last Tuesdsy we went to see Wojtek Grabek play live in Gdynia.

I must admit I was never able to judge performances of electronic music artists. I loved their music at home, but never got the idea of a live show, never understood what they were doing with all this machinery, to what extent they were fooling us with playing pre-recorded material. The only thing I could definitely enjoy was that I could listen to the music much louder than it was possible at home and hear and feel every beat and bass. This was not the case with Grabek. The music was not loud and he definitely played 2 instruments live and sang (in the traditional meaning of the word).

Grabek is an excellent violinist who creates lovely musical landscapes which reveal countless influences, to those who are much into the scene of electronic music of late '90s early 2000s the sounds are very familiar. However, he adds the violin, which gives the inhuman, robotic electronic music a human aspect (this is such a sexy instrument everyone likes ) and vocals sang in a clear, undistorted way (he would do fine in a rock band). This broadens the concoction of influences bringing to my mind associations as distant as the late Johnn Balance's manner of singing and the music of Coil from  "Music to Play in the Dark" period.

Unfortunately I must say that the compositions sound much better in their studio versions. They were emotionally loaded but they lacked climax, excuse my comparison, it's a bit like satisfying sex without orgasm . In the most tense moments, when I expected something to happen, the music withdrew, faded. In a live act I would much appreciate some wilder arrangements, dirty, distorted, unpleasant sounds that would  make me shut my ears and pant with exhaustion when it's over. I simply couldn't get involved.

Grabek is definitely not a showman, but breaks every barrier between himself and the audience, it's been more like playing for some of more distant friends, he's adorably clumsily honest, displays natural sense of humour, therefore attracts more attention to the music than to himself.

All in all, this was a nice evening. Nice place, nice music, nice people. I wanted to say that artists like Grabek are so rare in this country that we should appreciate all their attempts. But then I thought this would be like awarding a blind singer just because he's disabled. What we imagine to be avant-garde in our country entered the British mainstream years ago. So Wojtek, keep up the good work, I hope one day you will make one of our best export products!

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