November 24,2021

Episode 14

From blurry drone pop music out of Switzerland to an inspirational guitar folk tune from Niger

Foto by Pawel Zanio
Foto by Marta Witkowska
Foto by Marta Witkowska

In Episode 14 of TSIR – an adventurous and inspiring global journey for music lovers, we discover the term drone pop music in Switzerland and are mesmerised by a mythical vocal anthem from South America. We also dive deep into highly energetic free Middle Eastern sounds, discover a mix of historical 1930´s recordings with contemporary sounds from Brasil and enjoy a dramatic dance on the mud floor in Poland.

Featured Artist: Resina

Warsaw-based cellist/composer Resina (Karolina Rec) returns with "Speechless", her first standalone album in three years, taking a big step forward on a bold and brilliantly expansive record that explores ideas about language, the voice and the unpredictability of nature.

She describes the finished album as “a dance on the mud floor, a search for vitality and an admiration of the unpredictability of nature, which we still have a chance to watch for a while before it decides to get rid of us.”

Resina - Foto by Pawel Zanio

Can you tell us a little about your musical history, upbringing, education, basically how you started and developed into the artist „Resina", which you are now?

I’m a composer, cellist and vocalist – performing under the Resina moniker since 2016. I was born in a small city in Poland so learning how to play the cello was not an obvious choice for a kid and it involved a lot of help from my parents (who are not musicians). I graduated from the Music University in Gdańsk, however quite quickly I knew I wasn’t going to be a classical music performer. I was too insecure to study at a male-dominated composition faculty but at the same time, I met my friends from my first band (Kings of Caramel) who very much encouraged me to work on my own music and introduced me to independent music scene in Poland. One of them also recorded and produced my first solo album which I sent as a demo to Fat Cat. And that was my very first release under my name Resina.

You have a new album called „Speechless“ which was just released. Can you share with us some information about this new album? What can we expect from it? The two songs I have heard from the album so far seem to be different, maybe more complex than your past releases. What can you tell us about this development in your compositional approach? Seems that the cello isn’t that clear a source anymore, at least on what I´ve heard so far?

You’re right - in the piece which opens the album, there’s no cello at all! Pandemic times let me focus more on my composing skills as I wasn’t able to be on tour so much. Playing live is amazing but the writing/composing process/creating new stuff can be also absolutely thrilling. As I finally had a lot of time to focus on new music I realized that’s the perfect moment to fulfill my long-time dream: to write music that involves a choir. It was something that came to me in a very natural way, what I wanted to do for many years as singing in choirs, different vocal ensembles were also an important part of my life. So the basic point, the start of many pieces were vocal or choral parts, or…field recording in case of one piece from the album (Darwin’s Finches). There are also cello-centred or drums-centred pieces (Manic, A Crooked God, Hajstra) but my main approach was to focus on sounds that come directly from our body and work / improvise around them. 

Resina with 441Hz Choir - Foto by Pawel Zanio

Also, it would be interesting to understand your creative process - way of working a little bit better?

I usually mix a wide range of sound sources: from experiments with the cello/strings, vocals (including a choir) to electronics and drums, field recordings, thus blurring the boundaries between seemingly diverse musical genres. I think my composing process is not very much connected to the classical way of writing pieces. When I work on my own pieces I usually improvise a lot at the very beginning and try to pick up moments that sounds unexpectedly and resonate with me. In a way, I recognize myself as a sonorist. At the same time, I try to create a whole environment built from films, books etc. around me which feeds the creative process from a different side. 

Resina - Foto by Pawel Zanio

What is the story, idea, concept behind the song „Failed Myth Simulation“ that will be featured in the podcast?

I had a chance to stay creative during most of the pandemic time but didn’t cut out myself from reality. Living in Poland 2020/2021 made me feel hopeless and frustrated for much of the time and I wasn’t able to work on music that would just cover up all these dark things happening around me. I did and I do treat work on this particular album rather like a cathartic process and I hope listeners can use it for themselves in a similar way. As I just couldn’t write comforting songs, I decided to channel anger and change it into real power through the music. Speechless can have several meanings if you put it in that context: not hiding behind words, being naked and intuitive, but also doing instead of speaking, especially when marginalized voices can’t be heard. "Failed Myth Simulation" from my personal perspective somehow refers to the urgent need for change and reconfiguration. However, it happens not because we choose it, but simply because some old decorations are falling apart in front of us and it obviously can lead to a temporary feeling of emptiness and suspension. 

Resina with 441Hz Choir - Foto by Pawel Zanio

Is there an electronic music scene existing in Poland that you are part of and if so what does it look like, or do you act more like a solo act without any scene involved?

There is a huge, colourful electronic music scene in Poland, which represents a variety of electronic music. I love many artists from this musical environment and I’ve worked with several of them (f.e. check piece "Closer” by Zamilska), but in terms of my playing live I usually play solo or in a duo with a drummer. Yes, it means I coordinate/perform all the electronic sounds coming from the stage, but as it all is based mainly on cello this is the most efficient way. 

What can we expect from you touring this new album? Do you cooperate with visual artists and is the music played „live“?

I’ve always cooperated with visual artists while working on a new live show - it was easy and natural for me, as the main help and creator was Mateusz Jarmulski, director and author of many animated films, privately my husband. In case of the new album, I’ve decided to work on it in a bit different way. When there’s a full choir on stage (and by that I mean 24 people) I don’t feel any type of classic visual stuff is needed - the main value is these amazing people! So this time we've decided to work only with lightning instead of classic videos/visuals. We’ve already played two shows with the full band and it was an amazingly fulfilling experience. Right now we’re working also on a version that involves a smaller configuration of people as obviously not everywhere such a big ensemble is possible to perform. In this case some type of visuals we still consider. Most of the pieces we’ll be able to play in a duo with the drummer Mateusz Rychlicki.  

Resina - 'Leftover', live session, Dalmor, Gdynia

Can you share with us three artists / albums that you listen to or that have inspired you lately?

Antonina Nowicka - Lamunan

Aho Ssan - Simulacrum

All the music written by Lingua Ignota