New From 12k

Salt og Vind (Salt and Wind) comes from Norway’s Pjusk, aka Jostein Dahl Gjelsvik. Arriving after an eight-year break, Salt og Vind is also Pjusk’s first solo outing. The record details the forces of nature and its contrasting mood swings, from the violent to the calm, the at-ease to the tempest, but the music also contains a very human struggle – maybe an abject failure – to latch onto the eternal and instead seek out temporary pleasures. The longer pieces counteract the lapsing attention spans of life in 2022, and the slower pace leaves behind a sense of lasting fulfilment. The difference is night and day.

Pjusk’s fourth album for 12k is stark and remains low in temperature. The rhythms are cold to the touch, emerging from the ice and splintering like a webbing of frost. Looking beyond nature, there’s a sense of the infinite and the finite, one presiding over the other, the immortal standing tall over the mortal, still in existence even as the other falls. Although elemental, the atmospheric ambient carries something of the spiritual and the philosophical.

Recurring harmonies are buried deep in the mix, rolling in the dense, clouded textures. It stings and whips up the breeze, and the notes present slightly clearer images among its fog-coated, autumnal surroundings. The electronic tones are like age-old lifeforms with deeply-embedded survival instincts, able to go through anything and come out on the other side.

Making another long-anticipated return to the 12k label is Poland’s Tomasz Bednarczyk. Windy Weather Always Makes Me Think Of You features a collection of sounds recorded via a smartphone Dictaphone and a Sony field recorder. Taken over the last ten years, Tomasz’s goal was to ‘transform all gathered recordings into new, multi-layered harmonies’. The field recordings were taken from all over the world, and in their original state, the melodies were laced with environmental and elemental sounds. From those brief sounds, new harmonies have been reworked and revealed.

With minimalism and subtle ambient variation at its heart, Windy Weather Always Makes Me Think Of You is slim in its emotional delivery and fragile in its chosen timbre, but its harmonies are towers of majesty and there is great power in its humility. Changes occur on a microscopic level; they’re indistinguishable from one day to the next, but they are there, slowly evolving and reshaping its notes and its identity. It is a slow-burning, expansive and powerful record, despite its fragmented origins (or perhaps because of them), rising up in spite of difficult beginnings and hardships, and the music is quietly moving.

Things have not been easy, even with the natural world sitting at the centre of its music. Its expansive sound is mostly down to its association with the natural environment, and Tomasz is able to further channel the outdoors through the undulating, serene notes and the pulsing deeper textures that seem to thrum with life.

Like the rest of 12k’s discography, there is a strong attention to detail. Every tone matters, from the skipping notes on ‘Underwater Kalimba’, the soft nocturnal dissolving of ‘Playing Stairs’, or the lilting, tropical ambient of ‘Somewhere In Hawaii’. If something is built on rocky foundations, it will fall, and Tomasz’s original recordings are strong enough to split themselves into new and original pieces.

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