Grzegorz Bojanek
Warm Winter Music






The various titles of wintery Ambient releases are usually straightforward, mentioning signal terms such as ice, snow, cold, arctic areas or, well, winter itself. It turns out that many of these albums are not as adamantly glacial as one presumed from the get-go. In an attempt to fulfill the criteria of utmost transparency and truthfulness, Polish multi-instrumentalist and ETALABEL runner Grzegorz Bojanek hands in two winter-related long-form pieces to Twin Springs Tapes head honcho Matthew Barlow. The densely layered arrangements are greeted with enthusiasm and released as Warm Winter Music in April 2014. The tapes have long sold out, but the digital release is still available at Bandcamp as usual. Melodica, piano, guitar, double bass, field recordings and incidental synth cloudlets make up Bojanek’s dense arrangements. The tape’s title is reflected every second, resulting in warm streams and cold cataracts. The dichotomy of warmth and coldness is not exactly the most inventive formula when it comes to Ambient music, but the realization thereof, the aesthetic equanimity and contrapuntal serration makes every new take a luring opportunity if the listener retains a childlike enthusiasm. Says Grzegorz Bojanek: “The winter of 2013/2014 was very strange. The USA had terrible frost and huge snowfall, whereas the winter in Europe where I live was extraordinarily warm.” This synthesis is further discussed – or rather discovered – in the following paragraphs.


Side A is reserved for the viscoelastic sparkler Sometimes It’s Sunny In Winter. Clocking in at over 19+ minutes, Grzegorz Bojanek’s long-form piece multiplexes mucous nuances and enshrines its alluvial soils within an eclectic array of retrojected clicks and ligneous crackles. It is the latter ingredients that launch the fragile peritoneum, adding depth to the boiling stoves and gaseous entities. However, a true parallax peritoneum is gently enforced once the rotatory melodica vesicles become enmeshed with bucolic guitar licks. The punch and attack of the slapped strings is ablaze with energy, yet bucolic enough to mistake their melodic entities for particles of an estival bonfire ballad. Rural and rustic at the same time, this prolonged sequence neglects – and almost annihilates – the hibernal theme that is attached to the tape. It is only when the fluttering cicada-like sparks and similarly flittering thermal gusts are appended that side A turns into a majestic, though laid-back profusion of fibrillar mellifluousness. The oscillating melodica, the mellow fusillade of wafting guitar echoes altogether make this a lofty, quasi-ceremonious piece. And once this state is reached, it is elasticized and extended, merging the aureate rays of luminescence with the crystalline coruscation of whitewashed haze. Sometimes It’s Sunny In Winter ends as it began: wooden knocks, crushed snow and bubbly low frequency rivulets are the endpoint to a diaphanous panorama.


Why Is It So Warm? takes up the space of side B, running for 20 minutes. While side A showcases a caproic cannelure, the flip side is quite a bit darker, more mysterious, clandestine even. Vibraphone glaciers are embedded in close proximity to an omnipresent crackling and helicoidal claves. The recondite acidity of the slapped strings meets heavily reverberated afterglows. Car horns and rubicund synth choirs evoke the synthesis of a summer night, faraway birds sing joyfully despite the post-apocalyptic atmosphere. Mephitic and chlorotic, one can almost smell the absconded Summer vibe in this wintery piece. Of note is the constant susurration of the field recording. There is always something interesting going on, even if it is just due to the Glitch-like globs or squeaking hinges. Five and a half minutes into the song, Grzegorz Bojanek unfurls stupefyingly warped guitar chords. Diluted and ethereal, their cyber-esque flavor of the wasteland emits the smell of burned asphalt, of dry deserts and Arizona nights. One doesn’t need to be a synthesist or aromatherapist to assimilate the auroral scent. The result is magically mellow, the photometry awash with orange colors. The aforementioned post-apocalyptic portent is not threatening per se, it is an abstract danger a long way off, and so the Polish artist develops the old adage of the calm before the storm, transforming it into music. As the song progresses, the frequency range becomes more raucous, fuzzy and pristine at the same time, as the layering technique is hollowed out. The ever-increasing echoes augment the feeling of loneliness. The last thing one hears is a little glacial glockenspiel and the staccato fusillade of warm guitars: both antagonists enmeshed in unison.


It comes down to this: almost all serious Ambient albums – excluding posh lounge cascades and other artifacts – are much colder than Grzegorz Bojanek’s Warm Winter Music, but there’s anyone to blame, especially not the multi-instrumentalist himself. After all, the listener gets what label, artist and title promise, a winterly landscape hued in warmth. The front artwork is a bit deceptive in this regard, though not a ploy at the end of the day. However, the two long-form pieces are too lightweight and positive, even the darker piece. One can detect fir and fire, one can hear the life-affirming dawn chorus and impatient car drivers… but: one is also able to catch the crackling snow, fingertips knocking on wood, a certain lachrymose-cherubic melancholy. The coherent and harmonious simultaneity of heterodox constituents is the great achievement of Grzegorz Bojanek. Clearly electro-acoustic but wondrously ameliorated with the aid of synth-based interstices and frequency-bending post-processing, Warm Winter Music is an alluring tape that promises languor and sunlight aplenty in times where the climate has more than a mere surprise per season in store, no matter where you are. These grim thoughts are, so I presume, weighty parts in the second piece, whereas side A is astonishingly contemplative and bathing in beautiful cohesion. Everything fits, the mood is embracing the listener, the mélange is highly soothing. This is winter music alright… with a thoughtful addendum of coziness.


Further listening and reading:

  • You can stream and fetch the digital edition of Warm Winter Music at Bandcamp
  • Grzegorz Bojanek’s and Matthew Barlow’s labels are on Twitter respectively: @etalabel & @TwinSpringsTps.


Ambient Review 397: Grzegorz Bojanek – Warm Winter Music (2014). Originally published on Dec. 10, 2014 at