Label: Devoted Art Propaganda
Cy isn’t your typical release. The new album from Polish band Koniec Pola opens with the sound of bells, swirling winds, warped percussion, and, after several minutes, a burst of heavily twisted voices. It gets no easier from there. Stradling the lines between post-rock, post-black metal, traditional folk, and all wrapped up in a defiantly avant-garde mindset and psychedelic atmosphere, Cy is the kind of album that you might get if Negura Bunget and Einsturzende Neubauten decided to do a record together. Based around the concept of a place that is simultaneously real and imaginary, and making use of unique instruments crafted by the band themselves in addition to the traditional bass/guitar/drums set-up, Cy is a unique album, full of adventurous, experimental spirit.
Consisting of four fairly lengthy songs (the shortest is almost seven minutes long; the rest are all at least ten minutes in length), Cy is an album that aims to build up an atmosphere and hold the listener within it, keeping them captivated no matter what twists and turns the band explore. And there are plenty of them – shifting between sparse folk and field recordings, to extended psychedelic explorations, Cy is not an album that looks to take the easy road. Yet nor does it ever feel like an intentionally difficult listen – its atmospheres are remarkably easy to sink in to, especially when the band employ repetitive, ritualistic patterns such as during the first minutes of second track ‘II’. And much like Negura Bunget’s Om, there is the sense throughout that the band are tapping in to something primal, some deep-seated aspect of our psychology that cannot be expressed through words as we currently know them.
Lest this suggest something serious though, there’s also a sense of playfulness at times that borders on the absurd; the middle section of ‘II’ is a prime example, reveling in a sense of mania that’s reminiscent of the more out-there explorations of 60’s psychedelica and early prog rock. Yet all this moving between different styles and points of emphasis never feels difficult or jarring; there is a flow and sense of movement to Cy that makes it clear just how much work has gone in to the album.
It must be highlighted just how easy it is to slip in to the atmosphere of Cy; despite its fearlessly creative and boundary-testing nature, it is an album that is deeply listenable, that never feels difficult simply for the sake of it. To create a record that is so experimental, that defies all attempts at easy categorisation (save that of “avant-garde”), yet is also so (relatively) accessible is a remarkable achievement, and Koniec Pola deserve to be praised for what they have done. Cy is an album possessed of a singular spirit, that sits somewhere between madness and the common spirit that unites us all, and is one of the most unique, distinctive albums to have come my way this year.
Cy is due for release on 28 March 2018. For information on pre-orders, visit the Devoted Art Propaganda website.