Review: Jack Foley
SKALPEL duo, Marcin Cichy and Igor Pudlo, have DJ Vadim to thank
for this debut long-player - and so do we.
For fans of leftfield beats and jazz-like grooves will no doubt
lap up this long-player, which arrives with all the kitsch-value
you might expect from two Ninja-signed music afficionados from
Vadim discovered them while on his Eastern European tour, and
straight away took to their keen ear for the native jazz of their
homeland, as well as the atmospheric music that Ninja has become
And so, too, might we. Recent single, 1958, is a strong
indication of what to expect, an offbeat, chirpy, dancefloor filler,
that boasts a terrifically breezy set of female vocals to offset
the swinging spirit of Polish jazz, from the 60s and 70s, in all
its dusty, smoky glory.
It marks the album at its liveliest and most ambitious, with
tracks such as Quiz, a garage-based jazz number which features
some terrific piano moments, and opening track, High, with
its conga playing and flute stabs, following in typically rousing
Elsewhere, however, the album drifts into more sombre territory,
and more pensive.
Tracks such as Sculpture evoke memories of recent Blockhead
material, which is deeply brooding and almost surreally beautiful,
while the occasional vocal interludes, from a mystery announcer,
provoke comparisons with the likes of Lemon
Jelly and The Avalanches.
Indeed, on several tracks, that same quirkiness is obviously
apparent, lending it a more western influence than its Polish
That's not to say that Skalpel is all about imitating,
rather it knows how to keep things hip without becoming too eccentric,
so that in more experimental, or thoughtful, places it remains
just as listenable.
Skalpel's trick is to hook you with familiarity, and then blow
you away with some retro-styled jazz grooves of a bygone era,
and it's this mix of the classic and the contemporary which makes
it so appealing.
It won't be to all tastes, but for anyone who likes the idea
of having the sound of, say, Miles Davies and Lalo Schiffrin combined
with the David Holmes of Ocean's
Eleven, this could provide a suitably stylish go-between.
Related review: Konfusion
2. Not Too Bad
5. So Far
6. Break In
9. Theme From Behind The Curtain
11. 1958 (video)
12. Break In (video)
13. Sculpture (video)