It all started with a book, as these things often do: an English anthology of metaphysical poetry from the 17th century, to be exact. Which may not sound like the sexiest option on the shelves, but hear us out. The gentleman plowing through those weathered pages happened to be Michał Jacaszek, the Polish composer who's spun dramatic shades of darkness and light into gold for more than a decade now. An absolute master of melancholy, from the trickle-down electronics of Treny to the vapor-trailed verses of its looming spiritual cousin KWIATY.
"The poems were simple, pure and beautiful," Jacaszek says of the book's poignant Robert Herrick passages. "They spoke about death, pain, longing and loneliness, but somehow these pieces were bringing hope, solace, and peace."
They also sounded a hell of a lot like songs when read out loud. Structurally at least. Herrick's rhyme schemes and rhythms still needed the right musical accompaniment, and Jacaszek had just the ticket: a backlog of previously unreleased recordings—warm-blooded samples, lonesome synth lines, pared-down guitar parts—begging for proper arrangements and dynamic mixdowns. Not to mention the most vocal-driven material Jacaszek's ever written, melding his stormy melodies with a breakout performance by Hania Malarowska and the robust supporting roles of Joasia Sobowiec-Jamioł and Natalia Grzebała.
"I tend to always create organic, acoustic sounds, even though I work within a digital environment," explains Jacaszek. "Because KWIATY is actually a vocal album, the electronic sounds in the background seemed to be a perfect opposition. It's all unintentional, really; this is just my music language and I can't run away from it."