Various artists – Wieża Ciśnień II (CD Zoharum)
Translated as ‘water tower’ in English, the second Wieża Ciśnień compilation from Poland’s highly prolific Zoharum label gathers eleven artists from its native country who can all be loosely described as operating in those areas of music where oblique electronics, both improvised and composed, converge with field recordings, avant-jazz, atmospherics, broken melodies and, more generally, sensibilities found at home with those artists content to place themselves outside the obvious for the average listener. What’s most surprising is the grizzled modern jazz splurge of the contribution by Monopium., but almost each of the tracks here has much to offer if craving disquiet and discomfort, with standouts from the already reliable X-Navi:et, Zenial, Micromelancolie and Mirt, plus others at least giving them a good run for their money. This release is a few years old now, but all of these artists are still active, as far as I’m aware, and as someone who has equally resided in Poland for over 14 years now I’d contend this collection as a fine place to begin exploring what lays beyond the fringe here. Although I long ago recognised that most people in the native English speaking parts of the globe rarely venture to music outside of those, I’d still wager that compilations such as this perfectly underline what more demanding listeners are missing out on. As an overview to just some of what’s been going on in Poland during recent years, this is a great album. RJ.