Improvisational records depend, for their effect, on your personal enjoyment of sound as opposed to song. If the easy comfort of verse-chorus-verse laid over a backing rhythm is all you have patience for – then steer well clear. Adam Golebiewski’s Pool North (the Polish percussionist’s first album of solo compositions) is an opportunity to escape the tyranny of the beat and to encounter the drum-kit anew, as a sound source which – in the right hands – can create a palette as varied and expansive as the guitar or saxophone.
The sharp audio clarity of this release is of deep significance because it lends these acoustic improvisations a tactility, a tangibility, as if they were being performed in one’s room and one could observe their creation close-up. On ‘Half Blame’, Golebiewski tears a slow motion car-crash from his kit; a cataclysm of sheered metal is ripped apart and dragged squealing along a motorway hardtop. By contrast, ‘Manner and Timbre’ comes close to the sound of a string quartet with the rumble of a distant bike race approaching, sounds turning corners, tones riding in and receding. The mood flips entirely on ‘Glass of Seawater’ which conjures an entire underworld of fluted shivers in something approximating the theme music to a Seventies occult horror along the lines of Blood on Satan’s Claw or the tension of John Carpenter’s theme for Halloween.
Again and again the record achieves shocks, surprises, detours and reminds one never to mistake the familiarity of the drum kit for a dead space devoid of potential. These efforts rise even further above mere sound experiments because each piece communicates clear momentum. This isn’t just a circling of a single locale, each track takes a journey, draws an image to mind, then once a conclusion has been reached – the record moves on and the conjuring begins anew.