Review Summary: an alluring melancholia
In 2012, an unknown Polish jazz ensemble by the name of Niechec created and dropped a bomb onto the jazz community before quietly excusing themselves to the background of the scene. Now, four years to the day, Niechec return with their eponymous sophomore release, a virtually perfect representation of a subtle and nuanced musical evolution. It wouldn’t be difficult (or that frowned upon really) for Niechec’s sound to spiral out of control and devolve into a muddy cacophony of spastic horns and drums, but instead with Niechec
, the group takes their highly improvisational style and molds it into a more cohesive offering. The music is as expertly composed as ever, showcasing the band’s trademark brand of dizzying melancholy through a highly improvisational, but also highly palatable, style of dark jazz fit for film noir.
While Śmierć w miękkim futerku
, foundation was built on a post-bop, almost cabaret style of jazz, Niechec
leans more towards a more free-flowing, nu-jazz approach which greatly lends itself towards the cohesive approach heard throughout. The omnipresent saxophone is the driving force behind Niechec
and can be heard lightly floating over the music as heard throughout “Echotone”, as well as violently crashing in a flurry of howls. No song uses this dynamic as well as “Krew”, which uses a juxtaposition of a light piano melody and shrill saxophone climaxes to absolute soul crushing effect. This penchant towards conjuring up dark, bleak imagery in such creative ways gives Niechec
remarkable staying power as new listens consistently reveal new layers of depth within its dense wall of sound.
offers more than dark, abstract jazz arrangements. Much like in Śmierć w miękkim futerku
, the group utilizes some subtle and not-so-subtle electronic elements and keys to produce a variety of moody moments that can be beautiful as well as somber, but always tasteful. “Widnezie” accentuates the band’s familiar flurry with a poignant blend of piano and watery electronics which, in tandem with a stellar drum performance and another chilling display of saxophone play create a downright beautiful song, if in an unorthodox way. Electronics are never the forefront of any one song, but their placement within the songs is what makes their effect so potent.
Quite simply, Niechec have created another masterpiece in dark improvisational jazz. The band shows remarkable maturity in reigning back their obvious talent in playing their instruments and displays their songwriting prowess by creating a record with flow rather than another loosely connected collection of songs. Niechec
has a definite mood it’s presenting but with another diverse array of genre-prodding, from psychedelia to ambient to progressive rock, the depth and subtleties of that mood are at the discretion of the listener and that is the most impressive thing about this record and this group.