| Sound

Crystal Dwarf (KOMORA A)

Mysterious, focussed, disciplined. Komora A put some backbone into ambient.

[dropcap style=”font-size:100px; color:#992211;”]L[/dropcap]urking behind the name Komora A are three Polish electronic musicians, Dominik Kowalczyk, Karol Koszniec and Jakub Mikołajczk.

Their intricate and mysterious work is improvised, but strongly focussed and disciplined. They deploy computers, electronics, samplers and modular synths to produce work that’s quietly compelling. Darkness and even ‘industrial themes’ are allowed to infiltrate their particular mode of ambient. It stays almost completely focussed and in place of gratuitous gestures there are subtle twists and turns and a skillful use of electronic textures.

‘Waking Up’ is a suitably subtle and gradual introduction to the Komora soundworld. It’s instantly atmospheric and edgily serene with sharp cuts to quiet passages. A periscope-like pulse and clinical hums place it in roughly similar terrain to Mika Vainio’s work but a different and distinctive spirit animates it.

This relatively serene atmosphere is soon disrupted by ‘Drone of Reality’, which presents an appropriately broken down and uneasy atmosphere. The quality of the equipment used doesn’t forestall but intensifies the machinic sputterings that accompany the cycling drone. Chaos and dysfunction are allowed to affect but never to dominate the track.Komora a

The reference to rhythm in the title of ‘Beats & Memories’ seems to signal the track’s more conventional and even guardedly optimistic nature. It’s softer, faster and more melodic with a soft beat and subtle, if still fairly autumnal, chords. ‘Inscape Module’ is a return to more ominous atmospheres. While some serene chords remain in the background it’s scoured by harsh textures and assorted but unidentifiable details that create an awkward machinic-organic effect.

Proceeding at a more glacial pace, ‘Drone of Unreality’ is the most intensely atmospheric track. While its volume may be low, the central drone creates an effect that’s initially sedate but increasingly agitated as micro-textures and serrated details scurry across the mix. The metallic elements invite comparison with veteran industrial percussionist Z’ev, even if this music is far more digital than physical.

After this drawn-out voyage, ‘Escape’ does offer some light relief. It’s an extended ethereal fade with a hint of kosmische musik that changes the mood of this curious and idiosyncratic album once more as it takes a pastoral ambient turn. Komora being Komora though, things aren’t allowed to close on a totally serene note and a slight dischord subtly twists the mood as the piece ends, providing an interestingly unresolved quality to its final moments.

KOMORA ACrystal DwarfCD/DL Monotype Records mono088


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