With their inextinguishable thirst for unlikely melanges and rarity, crate diggers often make for excellent DJs. Brewing different sound flavors with cohesiveness and momentum, showcasing their ability at juggling with diverse track speeds during the same set, all this constitutes an argument of choice in the race for quality DJ work.
For those who produce music themselves, sampling is obviously more than just a second nature, it’s a straight extension of their whole being. However, few producers of this kind realize their sample-based potential through full-length formats and when they do so, the approach is more thematic – take Madlib and his Beat Konducta series for instance – or accumulates loops and short sampled cuts in mixtape form, but only a few exceptions offer the scope and format developed by albums like Ptaki’s debut LP Przelot.
Bartosz Kruczynski – known as The Phantom – and Jaromir Kaminski – aka Funkoff – definitely belong to this rare family of equally skillful DJs and producers and reveal an impressive talent at creating a coherent body of work out of a myriad of borrowed bits. From track one to the fourteenth, Przelot oozes Ptaki’s soulfulness and blooms into a marvel of sound-traveling, proposing a tasteful and delicate excursion through reinvented pop-culture outlooks. Slipping from the lush balearic accents of Czula Jest Noc, Warsaw and Jelitkowo and their sun-soaked melodies rippling along lazed-out guitar riffs, straight up to the Babylonian vibes of stoned ballad Nie Zabijaj, the album offers a high-flying succession of crystalline arrangements and smoothly executed style-shifts.
Ptaki turn mass culture into a riveting mass of cultures, all tied up by a common sense of liaison and unity. The duo blend popular Polish songs from the ’70-80s together with contemporary rhythms like the trappy hats and hipopisms of Za Daleki Sen and the result is equal in functional bizarreness to the unlikelihood of the encounter.
Sloneczny Pyl delves even deeper into the pop re-examination with Ptaki focusing on over-repetitive, sugary female vocals that occupy most of the track’s space – perhaps a bit much to completely overcome the simple loopy effect. Ostatni Kurs is for its part one of the album’s highlights and a delight of funky bass curves. With its synthesized spires uncoiling over an echoing suite of piano chords and torn-out strings, the track stands out as much as it opens up the path for tunes like Stacja Zagluszania and Gdy Nadchodzi Pora Ksiczycowa and their synced cosmic energy.
The cloudy atmosphere and mind-intrusive mix of guitar fiddling and amplifying bass work of Deszczem on one hand and the infinite delicacy of a stripped-back scenery that leaves full space to a sensually whispered woman’s voice and stunning guitar solo on Juz Tyle make for two favorites here. The two tracks give vent to the pair’s masterful sampling knowledge through well-rounded peaks and throughs.
Last but not least, the CD-exclusive curtain call of Girlandy delivers a bouncy swing, a line of zenifying panpipes adding some softly exotic touch to the spellbinding melody while truncated vocals keep looping in rhythm along playful claps. The journey draws to a close but with every listen will open a new cycle where Ptaki’s groove seems to prosper even more convincingly. Przelot is a gripping and timeless effort, and nothing short of an absolute gem.
Przelot is released on 29th June 2015, order a vinyl copy from Juno.
A1. Czuła Jest Noc
A2. Nie Zabijaj
A3. Ostani Kurs
A4. Słoneczny Pył
B2. Gdy Nadchodzi Księżycowa Pora
B3. Już Tyle