Kazik is a Polish underground icon who sang for Kult for years before branching off as a solo artist. His latest record Czterdziesty Pierwszy (translates to 41) is as grand an epic as The Ex ever attempted, though (for the most part) it is not as radical as The Ex.
Both discs in this two CD set are packed with studio recordings - there is no filler, remix, or outtakes to be found. It is Poland's answer to London Calling.
Disc 1 starts off with a 12+ minute track named Stalingrad (Adam und Klara). There is sax ,violin, mandolin, and brass along with doubled speaking voices, with sparse bass and drum as overcast as Bauhaus on Hollow Hills. The tracks makes you feel like you are sinking into chaos - it is made to be disorienting. There are spoons tapping on glasses, plus many voices and sounds woven in and out.
Bomba, the second song, is the most immediate song on the record. The bass and drum set a solid rock beat which gets layered upon by French horn, bongos, chunky guitar, and Kazik's vocals. This song perfectly illustrates why I like this record so much. The use of French horn reminds me of an earlier Polish band that was also on SP Records. Armia had a viking sound, and their Triodante record is an early 90s classic of Polish underground music.
Idol tells a story with the cadence that a leprecaun might use in a production of finian's Rainbow. The story is undercut by lazy vocals in a chorus that sounds like a scene from the Prancing Pony Inn, where Strider first meets Frodo and friends in The Fellowship of the Rings.
Down in Another Hole is an instrumental which sounds like The Ex due to the dissonant guitar with no effects. the track also has sax that recalls Mark Sandman in Morphine. The guitar plays a riff from a classical song - the same song that PIL borrowed a riff from during Death Disco.
Pani Katarzyna starts with clean dissonant guitar that reminds me of The Ex. The guitar drops out and Kazik talks (raps?) over a drum beat with bass. A trumpet and accordion play a portion of Jingle Bells before getting cut off by a seagull, which heralds the return of the guitar.
Sfizohremja has The Ex guitar again. I LOVE that dry clean dissonant sound. Polvo also used this sound. Aside from the strange guitar (there is a second guitar that is not strange at all riffing solid chords in a Nirvana way underneath) this a straight pop song.
One of the many things I like about Kazik's music is that is defies ordinary categorization. There is gypsy violin throughout, a lot of odd percussion, brass (again, in a gypsy way), and guitar bass and drum. On a few moments the music has guitar that veers towards metal or has vocals with the cadence of rap, but it is not either of those genres by any means. Kazik plays outsider pop.
The vocals are all in Polish, and I believe a lot of them are political. The sound of the vocals in intriguing - even without any knowledge of Polish you will enjoy many of these songs. I'm afraid you will have a hard time finding this disc, because although Kazik is huge in Poland, no one seems to have heard of him anywhere else. If you find any of his other records, or those of Kult, snap them up. Kult had a sound that reminded me of the Boston band Morphine.
- Disc 1:
- Disc 2: