Polish ‘oberki’ folk dances are souped up with drum machines and electronic effects to highly poetic effect.
Hubert Zemler and Piotr Bukowski have been associated with Warsaw’s experimental music scene for two decades. The former plays solo (I wrote about his DRUT album in tQ) and collaborated with Evan Ziporyn, Gyan Riley, John Tilbury, and Agusti Fernandez, among others. He also creates electronic music as Melatony or in CEL with Felix Kubin. More than a decade ago, the other formed the band Stwory, then Xenony, and most recently, the Afropunk and psychedelic Javva; his solo recordings remind Eric Chenaux and John Kolodij.
They established Opla due to an interest in Polish folk music, which was treated as something unleavened rather than creative and inspiring for many decades – projects such as Muzyka Zakorzeniona (‘rooted music’ in English), among others, have changed that. On their 2019 album Obertasy, released by Instant Classic sublabel Ersatz Recordings, Opla translated the traditional Polish folk-dance music ‘oberki’ to rock instruments.
On GTI, released by Pointless Geometry, they’re coming back with similar ideas but switching drums to electronic pads and adding a bunch of effects to the guitar.