Yass – The Jazz, the Filth and the Fury – Poland's musical rebels
May 16, 2016 9:52 PM   Subscribe

"Polish jazz, which was celebrating its triumphs in the 1950s and 60s, gradually became bogged down under the power of omnipresent and omnipotent institutions" ... "The 1990s saw the birth of a musical trend that wanted nothing less than to turn the established order of things to ash by the most drastic of means. This new trend was called yass." Though the headiest and most experimental days are behind them, "yass" is still used to indicate Polish jazz that's more than traditional jazz, and has been used to describe Skalpel, Jazzpospolita, and Pink Freud, who have performed Autechre live for Boiler Room and RBMA.
posted by filthy light thief (7 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
A note on the links: the first is a nice "dummy's guide" to the history of Polish Jazz from All About Jazz, though it's all text, so you'll have to seek out audio samples yourself. The second link, however, is a great article from Culture.pl, who have uploaded tracks to Soundcloud and embedded them in the article, along with YouTube clips, to augment the descriptions with in-line samples.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:04 PM on May 16, 2016

I'm well into Skalpel, especially the extended mix of 1958 they did and Theme from Behind the Curtain.

Unsurprisingly some of the Autechre covers aren't even legible as the source material for me. I think the more melodic stuff definitely works better; Chicli, for sure.
posted by juv3nal at 11:19 PM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thanks. The bits of 60s and 70s Polish jazz and fusion that I've heard have all been pretty great (!!!), but have never done much serious digging. This should get me started.
posted by p3t3 at 5:10 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Had to listen in on Pink Freud. I think Madame Madeira might help my tinnitus. Actually it is large, airy, coming from far away, soaring and thoughtful music. It is like whatever makes a large flight of starlings rise from a tree, soar through a few fine tuned patterns, then settle right back down.
posted by Oyéah at 7:55 AM on May 17, 2016

The Autechre Live bit thing is great – reminds me a little of Dawn of MIDI.
posted by koeselitz at 8:37 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Great post! I'm just starting to investigate the later links (I love this quote from the second one: "[In the late 1980s] the jazz scene was like the swimming pool in an old people's home: everybody was bathing in it, and shitting and pissing in it"), but I devoured the first eagerly. I thought I knew something about (what I guess now has to be called) classic Polish jazz, but it turns out I knew hardly anything (I didn't realize, for instance, that Willis Conover had as great an influence on Polish jazz as on Russian). I can't listen to the audio clips in the later links for now, because the first one made me put on my CD of Krzysztof Komeda's Astigmatic, with Tomasz Stańko (trumpet) and Zbigniew Namysłowski (alto sax), and I'm reveling in it. If you haven't heard it, check it out; just those first rising piano chords send a chill up my spine every time. And go listen to everything Stańko ever recorded—he's terrific, and I'm glad I was lucky enough to hear him live while I was living in New York.
posted by languagehat at 9:11 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I just read "In a Brooklyn Basement, Jazz With a Russian Accent," a NY Times piece by Corey Kilgannon that makes a nice companion to this post; note this bit:
Some members recalled tuning in to the Voice of America on shortwave radio — despite government efforts to jam the signal — for the famous jazz broadcasts of Willis Conover, who introduced the music to Eastern bloc countries during the Cold War.
posted by languagehat at 11:56 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

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