A man crouches in a cell, surrounded by blinking mechanisms. He knows not why he remains trapped within the confines, nor why seemingly endless time passes without a dryness on his tongue or a growl in his stomach. It’s frigid in the container, but the temperature tends to fluctuate haphazardly. He doesn’t know why he feels compelled to operate the mechanisms, and dance sometimes, when it starts getting warmer. The chill begins to slowly dissipate . . .
Warmth is an element that’s frequently sought out in music, but what of its frigid opposite? Piercing the listener’s mind with sounds both cold and compelling is not an easy task, but when it’s done right, it can bestow the longest of lasting impressions (and in this rare case, some of the tastiest, most danceable grooves). The Provider is the newest full-length from Warsaw-native Tobiasz Biliński, under the name Coldair.
The environments that these compositions inhabit are icy and occasionally foreboding, filled with frosty synths, militaristic percussion rhythms, and earth-shaking 808 booms. Biliński completes the formula by layering his gentle voice into glowing harmonies that soar over the instrumentation. The sonic concoctions resemble facets of industrial techno, post-punk, folk, and they always evolve with fascinating experimentation.
Warsaw is historically known for birthing the dour. It inspired the late David Bowie’s “Warzawa”, and it served as band name to a certain post-punk group well-versed in the art of capturing gloom. Biliński’s third record (and first to reach the U.S.) is a new highlight not because it follows in the footsteps of these greats, but because it traverses its own original path. If you’re seeking icy, industrial-tinged folk, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)