LABEL: TROUBLE IN UTOPIA
RELEASE DATE: OCT 13TH 2017 FORMAT: DL/LP
Analog saturation, reflection, and letting go, On Pause presents an emotively biographical album.
Born in Poland but now based out of Calgary, Canada, Valiska creates gritty, overcast soundscapes inspired by the likes of Tim Hecker, Rafael Anton Irisarri, and Grouper. Although his hometown is often overshadowed by other Canadian cities such as Montreal, Valiska has been part of an insular but slowly expanding scene, exploring strands of experimental drone and ambient.
On Pause is Valiska’s most personal work to date, and consists of eight tracks that recount a series of life-changing events that occurred between 2016 and 2017. Charting this journey of loss and upheaval, the music is melancholic and at times painfully stark but does not dwell in dischord - with passages of optimism, hope, and even fleeting euphoria.
“Most experiences have different layers to them, things that used to be infuriating can become running jokes or fond memories - the album reflect this complexity and should connect to a listener's memories or experiences. To me, it’s also not a sombre or gloomy album for the most part, maybe introspective, but rarely in a sad way.”
This LP takes a sound palette used in previous works with the Moog Sub 37 synthesizer, which takes centre stage on the album, using tape looping techniques to build progression and variety in simple melodic ideas. The sound put through tape distorts and fractures as it disintegrates under its unpredictable materiality. Working with the confines presented by the medium, the album possesses both a structural and aesthetic clarity all brought together by the wash of analog hiss, crackles and warps.
Valiska has always produced everything himself, sourcing his own original recorded samples and sound recordings. Part of the album’s haunting aura comes from his vocal parts (such as in ‘Softness’). Inspired by the music of Philip Glass and Steve Reich, who typically created instrumental music without effects or processing, Valiska refrained from heavy post-processing, limiting adjustments to scant reverb and delays.
The word ‘valiska’ translates from Polish as “suitcase”, and refers to ‘journey’ – however one wants to interpret that. Narrative is central to the architecture of Valiska’s work, but it is the careful balance between the storytelling and the sonic aesthetics that brings coherence to the finished pieces. The result is an acutely engaging LP and an at times challenging but ultimately hugely rewarding listening experience.
1. Heavy Riser 2. Softness 3. Mornings 4. Fake Strings For False Memories 5. A Pause
6. Across A City, Across A Country pts 1, 2 & 3 7. Interlude 8. Forever
All tracks by Valiska (Calgary, CA)
Mastered by Rafael Anton Irisarri at Black Knoll Studio (New York, U.S)
Vinyl Cut By Simon Davey - The Exchange Vinyl (Devon, UK)
Profile Image / Cover Art
Profile Image: self portrait
Artwork / design by Francis Redman
Krzysztof Sujata has been making experimental music as Valiska since 2010. Drawing inspiration from the tension between the city and rural landscapes of his Calgary home, the project combines ambient and drone with elements of modern composition.
Trouble in Utopia is a new London based label founded by Francis Redman with an exploration of sound as a focus for the releases.
"I hope the label will be a home for musicians, and a voice which music fans can trust. As a DJ and a music fan, my life has been so enhanced by music and it feels like the right time to give something back”.
Redman has been a record lover and a DJ for over 20 years. He studied contemporary electronic composition and after various stints on community and pirate stations, he found a home as a presenter on NTS when it launched in 2011. His bi-weekly show focusses on electronic music traced to ancestral roots via soundsystem culture.
Through the show Redman has connected with many artists from across the world including composer Valiska, who he discovered in 2015 and has featured regularly since. Valiska’s new LP ‘On Pause’ is what Redman has chosen to launch his record label.
“Valiska has an ability to layer notes and shape sounds into incredibly communicative but simple forms, the LP feels representative of how I feel about sound at the moment, and I couldn’t think of a better piece to launch the label with”