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Stark Polish MP3 EP

EP: There are three tracks on Pawel Grabowski‘s Notes from the House of Dead: one that interpolates a little female chant and shifts it into a spectral presence, and two others stark enough that they’ll make you wish you had a little human accompaniment for comfort, corporeal or not. According to the brief online liner note that accompanies the EP, Grabowski sketched Notes as an attempt to keep things short while maintaining a sense of tension. On those measures, he more than succeeds. “The Dead,” the longest of the three at five and a half minutes, immediately immerses you into a cavernous underworld of disorienting echoes and foreboding murmurings. “The Box,” at about half the length of “The Dead,” is more arid and spacious, trading claustrophobia for agoraphobia; occasional snippets of a throaty scratch suggest the point of view of a marooned astronaut on some desert moon.

And then there’s “Break,” with its theremin-ish female voice, echoing and repeating like gothic dub amid horror-flick scrapings. The full set it available from a relatively new netlabel, Silence Is Not Empty, at silence-is-not-empty.com. Special thanks to Nathan Larson, who heads up the netlabel Dark Winter (darkwinter.com). Larson had mentioned to me not only the small but impressive catalog at Silence Is Not Empty, but the ingenious manner in which the label provides readymade album sleeves as full-color PDFs. Just bring your own ruler and sharp blade. More info on Grabowski, who was born in Poland in 1977, at pawelgrabowski.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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