Jakub Knera profiles four of the female Polish composers leading the charge for the country’s new experimental music scene, three of whom are set to perform at Warsaw’s Ephemera Festival next week.
“Everything makes a sound,” says Martyna Basta, as she taps a glass during our Zoom conversation. “The most exciting sounds hide where we don’t expect them. When I take the simplest recording, I start to transform it. We don’t need instruments, because we can create abstract sound spaces not associated with the source.”
Field recordings are the core of her latest album, Slowly Forgetting, Barely Remembering, although it’s not easy to recognise them as such. The music sounds electronic, even though she used no synthesisers during its production. The starting point is acoustic. Take ‘Speechless Lately’, for example, based on recordings of an ice cube, foil blowing in the wind, rustling leaves captured by a contact microphone, a wine glass that’s transformed into a drone. She adds the sounds of zither and electric guitar, introducing scratches of melody to a story suspended in time. She plays with silence, meticulously building with small details. “Sounds recorded in space and thrown into the electronic world have much more potential,” she says. “There’s potential for the things hidden in the details, it’s much more colourful and deeper than a dull MIDI sound.”