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AUDIO TONG
Radical Poland III | 1988-2011 Krakov
Release date: 27.12.11
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History of Audio Tong

 

 

It was 2004 or 2005. Sound artist from Krakow, Lukasz Szalankiewicz (aka Zenial) and myself started meeting at concerts and other occassions and came up with an idea for an underground organization to promote music we were interested in. It was supposed to be a netlabel first which would turn into a CD label later on. Mainly though we wanted to promote concerts in Krakow which at the time had rather random music scene. Things were happening from time to time but there was no sense of long-term music-oriented activism. Krakow is a city of festivals (now even more than it used to be back then) and we wanted something more constant, something that would keep on happening regularly throughout a year.

During first 3 or 4 years of our activity we were organizing at least one concert a month showcasing experimental / noise / avantgarde musicians from Poland and – mostly – from abroad. That's how we managed to gain a rather significant audience here. Also, simultanously a pretty interesting scene of local musicians emmerged which I tried to follow as much as possible.

Still we have been researching unknown and forgotten territories – stylistically as much as geographically – having released compilations of noise music from Poland, experimental music from Eastern Europe (from Moldova to Uzbekhistan) and loads of music happening locally here in Krakow. We have also collaborated with and co-curated a number of festivals, presentations and publications.

In 2009 we decided to promote Polish experimental scene outside of the country and made two compilations of new Polish music for The Wire magazine (CD's were given away for subsribers in 2009 and 2010). This „Exploratory Music From Poland” project (www.emfp.pl) has been also continued in series of concerts in Europe (London, Brussels, Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris) as well as in Tokyo in November 2011.

Also we have started releasing music in physical format (CD's and CD-R's) with a wide range of various music not only from the region.

Although the label was rather successful, Zenial moved out from Krakow and our interests in music went into different areas. The AudioTong formula started to fade out and we need to come up with a new idea. ...which will be announced soon.

 

Concept of the label

 

That's a difficult one. AudioTong has always been focused on showcasing music that would never find an audience any different way than through us. Helping out interesting musicians from the region and promoting them elsewhere – in fact, via Internet, worldwide, presenting demanding music to Krakow-based audience, encouraging young artists from here in their experiments, etc.

Obviously it was a suicide from the business-oriented point of view. Most of the CD's we've released didn't sell in big enough amounts to cover our expenses, even though most of them had really good reviews and those who listened to them appreciated the music a lot. But it was never supposed to be our dayjob, kind of idealistic work rather.

Stylistically we didn't know much limitations. From noise to improv, from field recordings to so-called IDM, from psychodelic music to avant-garde composition and from blues to avant-pop - anything that was interesting for us, was suitable for a release. This variety did help a lot although our catalogue seems a bit random now.

Conceptually, AudioTong was supposed to be a place of meeting, a crossing point between different cultures, genres and expectations. I believe we've mixed loads of weird shit enough by now.

 

Background

Marcin Barski:

"I have studied journalism and literature, although I've been doing loads of various crap to make my living and to financially back up AudioTong – translations, teaching English to kids, had an episode at advertising bussines, etc. Music became a very important part of my life very early but cannot really describe why. This experimental scene seemed to be the most interesting, the most demanding and the most clever of all music I've heard. And the most underpreciated, I thought, so I decided to help :)))"

I don't consider myself a curator even though that would probably be the best description for what I'm doing now... But I'm rather a music promotor and a publisher."

 

Lukasz Szalankiewicz (aka Zenial):

Historian, sound designer and electronic music artist, member of the Polish Society for Electroacustic Music (PSeME). He currently lives and works in Poznan. He performed at many Polish festivals including Audio Art Festival and Unsound Festival in Krakow, Wro Festival in Wroclaw and Moving Closer Festival in Warsaw, as well as in major Polish art centers including Kordegarda Gallery and The Contemporary Art Centre Zamek Ujazdowski in Warsaw, Contemporary Art Gallery Arsenal in Bialystok, Contemporary Art Gallery in Wroclaw and Contemporary Art Center in Torun.... and in many international festivals, e.g.in Austria, Russia, Bulgaria, Germany, Holland, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, France, China, Hungary, Belarus, Romania, Lithuania , Israel , Kazachstan, Peru, Brasil, Argentina, Urugway, USA,Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador , Croatia and Luxemburg.

Personal projects: DIZZY KINETICS : duo with Marek Choloniewski , Palsecam, Aabzu: audiovisual duo with Maciej Szymczuk, ZENDEE: with DJ Dee (Li Chin Sung)...
Other projects: Member of PRUIG project. Recycler & jingles/bed_sounds for Radio_Copernicus. Unsound festival (Krakow) / was co-operator (2005-2007). Audio Art festival /was co-operator. Moving Coser 2008 festival curator(Warsaw). OKOSANU (Vj Milosh & Zenial). CSW Laznia Gdansk - IN PROGRESS curator. Transformator event.Lviv. Ukraine curator. The Henge project....

ZENIAL: "... I'm one of the first people in Poland, who found the demo-scene on PC (the hermetic group of artists creating on computers a different kind of expression: programming [coding], graphic art, animation, music and text). Since 1994 under pseudonym ZENIAL I cooperated with multimedial groups like HYPNOTIZE and THE GRID . Author of articles for disc magazines (disseminated in digital form) I also wrote for official computer press about demo-scene (for example CD - ACTION).
I was the cooperator of the net magazine Eld Rich Palmer which specializes in experimental music and of NOMAD (http://nomad.kosmoplovci.net). Current specific areas of interest include an aesthetics of noise, particularly the Japanese form of radical sounds and every symptom of abstraction and grotesque in life and art." (Excerpts taken from an old biography - 2003)

 

Some recommendations for aspirant curators?
Which important mistakes do you consider that normally the new iniatives commit?

 

I'll answer these two questions together.

Being a curator is a risky business. First of all, what does that mean, to be a curator? I've met many socalled curators who believed that curating is a synonym for organizing concerts or festivals. It's not. Curating needs some expertize, knowledge and independent thinking not only about music itself but also about ideas and processes it communicates. Especially when the music does so not in a straight or conscious way.

Nowadays curators more and more often start taking artists positions, coming up with ideas and forcing them on the musicians/sound artists they work with. They invent themes and topics for their events and persuade artists to adjust. Most cases the result is shit. A situation when an artist is being treated like a craftsman is a situation where no-one has anything to say: the artist does what the curator expects and the curator most cases hides behind the performing artist. What you get is emptiness and usually overdesigned boring bullshit.

So, the conclusion would be that a curator needs to care a lot for what artist wants to say. Listens and tries to understand. Curator should communicate with an artist rather than a crowd.

A music curator should not read too much of the most popular, trendsetting media. If something is attractive to the masses does not necesarilly mean that its artistic value is at least half as big as the piece's accessibility. You have to be careful with the audience because audience can easily fuck you. Doing what you think people want is like performing a nice fat filthy blowjob on a group of people. A simple pleasure is not necesarilly what you should give to the people, they can get it in other ways.

A curator should be brave and open-minded. Easy to say, I know. There's no excuse for not doing things you want to do and for doing things you don't really feel like doing. I know that very well, made this mistake way too many times.

Finally, a curator should not follow trends or give too much attention to what people say. You know, it's really simple: some people will get it, some people won't. If you're 100 percent sure about the message or idea you want to explore, just do it. What have you got to loose? Except for public funding, of course?

Be independent, don't be polite. Do what you believe in, not what you're being told to believe. First think, than do. Discuss. Don't push yourself in front of the artist. Give up if you don't like it. That's just about it. All other things – technical, logistics, etc. – you can figure out within an hour or two by yourself.

 

At the end of this year (2011) Audiotong will close, but you will keep on running on different terms... do you want to tell us in advance something related?

 

Reinventing the idea still. Not really closing the label – but closing it in the way it functioned until now. There will be some music coming out in that way or another from us. Too early to say much about the future. It will be different – in what way, you will see.

 

 

Marcin Barski, 13 December 2011

 

 

Track List

 

01.Zbigniew Karkowski
Uexkull (excerpt) [tng1023]

"...re-edition of Zbigniew Karkowski's early piece, Uexkull. Not available on CD anymore... Uexkull is one of the first works published by Zbigniew Karkowski. It was composed between 1988-89 in Gothenburg, Sweden and Paris, France. Originally released on Anckarstrom label in Gothenburg in 1990, Uexkull was realized at Ateliers Upic in Paris, EAM studio at State College of Music in Gothenburg and Computer Music Studio at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg.
Instruments used are:double bass, UPIC (Unite Polyagogique Informatique du CEMAMu), Serge analogue modular synthesizer. Alto voice - Karin Westman"

02.Schmerz
Pigday I [tng1667], Radical Poland II

"Remember highly succesful Radical Poland compilation? On a significant date of 6.06.06 we have presented 6 works by 6 most noisy Polish artists - well, at least we've thought they were the most noisy. Meanwhile we found some new ones at least as good and as loud as the previous ones and prepared the second part of this radical compilation. Precisely 666 days after the release of the first part, on quite significant (even if for different reasons) date of April 2nd, 2008, here it is - Radical Poland 2!"

03.Vilgoc
09022007PRSH [tng1667], Radical Poland II

04.Hated Bruit Kollektiv
Version [tng1667], Radical Poland II

05.Mantichora
Tollerance Leads Astray (dub) [tng1667], Radical Poland II

06.Zenial
INRI [tng1667], Radical Poland II

07.Lukasz Ciszak
Singularity Theory [tng1667], Radical Poland II

08.Martin Archer
Stupidland / Dikmik / Coda from I travelled North (words by Keith Jafrate) [tng3008], Live in Krakow

"British composer and improviser Martin Archer performed live in Krakow's Solvay Arts Center on September 9th, 2006. During this almost 80-minutes long performance Archer presented a blend of deeply structured electronics and improvisations for sopranino saxophone. Described by The Wire as bright eyed and cleverer than a thousand other contemporary musicians, he proved his talent and was enthusiasticly applaused by the audience..."

09.Mo;Tec, Tom Taplikort, Jablunkox, Marian Gruszczyk
Czech-Polish border [tng3012], Live in Jazz Club Tesin.

"Noise Drone Electro-Acoustic performance. Live in Jazz Club Tesin, 27.12.05, 18.2.06. Artists: Mo/Tec aka Tomek Rylko (Moog synthesizer, radio), Tom Taplikort (laptop), Marian Gruszczyk (laptop), Jablunkox aka Rafal Rylko (sampler ESI 2000, Airsynth). The musicians involved in this project are Czech and Polish and the only two concerts they performed together took place in Tesin, a city located on the Czech-Polish border."

10.Emitter (Marcin Dymiter) | Arszyn (Krzysztof Topolski)
07.11.05 (II) [tng3006], Live in Prague

"Emiter is Marcin Dymiter, born in 1971, who started his career as a guitarist for the post-rock band Ewa Braun back in the 90's. He also collaborated with artists and projects such as Mapa (with Paul Wirkus), Mordy, Mikolaj Trzaska and many others.
Arszyn is Krzysztof Topolski (born 1973), a drummer and a sound artist working in the field of experimental electronica since the late 90's. He has worked with Ludzie and Kobiety projects, also collaborated with artists such as Mikolaj Trzaska, m.bunio.s, Gintas K. and others."

11.XV Parowek
Hungry Robot [tng1667], Radical Poland II

12.Rez Epo
Emptiness Acquired [tng1667], Radical Poland II

 

 

 

INTERNATIONAL DATABASE 2010-2015

[ar054] AUDIO TONG
RADICAL POLAND III | KRAKOV 1988-2011

ar054

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RELEASE CREDITS:

Promotional compilation curated by Julian Bonequi. Audio Tong [2005-2011] was curated by Lukasz Szalankiewicz aka Zenial and Marcin Barski.

Special thanks to Zbigniew Karkowski, Karin Westman, Schmerz, Vilgoc, Hated Bruit Kollektiv, Mantichora, Lukas Ciszak, Martin Archer, Mo/Tec (Tomek Rylko), Tom Taplikort, Jablunkox (Rafal Rylko), Marian Gruszczyk, Emitter (Marcin Dymiter), Arszyn (Krzysztof Topolski), XV Parowek, Rez Epo, Zenial & Marcin Barski.

Cover Image, Zbigniew Karkowski. Image shared by Audio Tong archives. Design by Aniana Heras. Each track in this document has the credit of the artists.

Contact:
audiotong.bandcamp.com