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CzesŁaw Niemen - Niemen Vol. 1 [Aka: Marionetki] CD (album) cover


CzesŁaw Niemen


Eclectic Prog

4.14 | 102 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars The second half of Marionetki?Niemen Vol. 1?is more overtly jazzy and experimental than Vol. 2. The 17-minute "Requiem dla Van Gogha" ("Requiem for Van Gogh") opens the disc. A sinister growl of a bowed bass and gently muttered vocals start this song on an ominous note. Much of this track is improvised and borders on free jazz. The focus here is on mood and atmosphere, rather than structure. A move like that is often risky, but the musicians' chemistry is good enough to keep this track tense and engaging. Some of the wailing string instruments and cacophonous keyboard parts remind me of some of the more abstract contemporary post-rock acts. This song might be a bit longer than is necessary, but it remains surprisingly focused.

The brief "Sariusz" has more structure and momentum than the previous track. The song opens on a weirdly peppy, bouncing piano line, complemented by fuzzy guitar and Niemen's oddball vocals. At only a little over three minutes long, it works as a great interlude between this disc's longer pieces.

Vol. 1 ends with the 13-minute "Inicjały" ("Initials"). Much like the opening track, this song is largely improvised, though vocals play a more prominent role here. The song starts off with some noodling before eventually settling into a groove. The drumming does a great job of keeping things moving as bass and trumpet trade licks in the spotlight. The drummer eventually gets his turn in the spotlight with a fun little solo as well, which is just the right length.

Review originally posted here:

TheEliteExtremophile | 4/5 |


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