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Lebowski Cinematic album cover
4.04 | 199 ratings | 13 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Trip To Doha (5:42)
2. 137 Sec. (7:12)
3. Cinematic (7:42)
4. Old British Spy Movie (5:11)
5. Iceland (7:12)
6. Encore (6:07)
7. Aperitif For Breakfast (O.M.R.J.) (6:07)
8. Spiritual Machine (6:56)
9. The Storyteller (Svensson) (6:38)
10. Human Error (7:58)

Total Time 66:49

Line-up / Musicians

- Marcin Grzegorczyk / guitar, sampler, producing & mixing
- Marcin Luczaj / keyboards, synth
- Marek Zak / bass
- Krzysztof Pakula / drums

- Katarzyna Dziubak / vocals & violin (2,4)

Voices taken from the following movies:
- Gangsterzy i filantropi
- Hydrozagadka
- Pamietnik znaleziony w Saragossie
- Le pacte des loups
- Bariera
- 2001: A Space Odyssey

Releases information

Artwork: Wiktor Franko

CD self-released - CD001 (2010, Poland)

Thanks to mosesfusion for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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LEBOWSKI Cinematic ratings distribution

(199 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

LEBOWSKI Cinematic reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by avestin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Going to the movies, in an album

Apparently, this album was made by film lovers. It is dedicated to 5 Polish cinematographers (whom I don't know, so I can't help you there). It's called Cinematic and is being presented as a soundtrack to a non-existent movie. I can easily hear it. In fact the movie that plays in my mind as I listen to it, is a drama. A drama set in a hustling bustling city, during a rainy winter day (perhaps this is due to the cover of the album). The movie focuses on several individuals as they go about their daily routine and plans. Each person has something on their mind, perhaps a problem or a load on their chest. Each song depicts how that person deals with his or her own private issue. But if you prefer, you can read the band's comments on each piece in the booklet (written in Polish and English) including notes on the album itself as a whole. In fact those are quite interesting and revealing of the band's mindset and approach to the making of the album.

The album is instrumental but the band added vocals from movies. Those are well made combinations and match the ambiance of the tracks in which they're placed in. they are mostly in Polish but there are also some in French and English.

The music is spacious, volumetric and contrasts softness and aggressiveness. The pace is for the most part, slow and ponderous. In fact there's little variation in that facet but that is not that much of an issue since other aspects such as volume and intensity, mellowness and fierceness, exhibit dynamics. Moreover, the drumming is quite engaging and creative and provides the music the necessary shifts between a pensive state and a more agitated mood. While the album is mostly unhurried, it doesn't wait to get to the point. The tunes are fleshed out clearly and mostly as soon as the track starts, with each tune having a plain melody but one that is amplified in its effect by the instrumentation and sampling, i.e. the layering of each piece. These are what give the music its aforementioned spacey and rich feel.

One track I liked in particular was Encore. Like the name suggests it has a French disposition, French speech, accordion and coolness to it that reminds me of lounge/down- tempo music but with much more gusto to it as the electric guitar is "allowed" to roam freely throughout. I also liked the "world-music" feel of the second piece, 137 Sec. with its use of a dulcimer. I was also taken by the warm synths in Human Error and their interplay with the lead guitar.

This is a heavy album. Not in the sense of heavy music, but in terms of the atmosphere. It is a dense album, one that is very rewarding if one is willing to dedicate the time to listen to it properly and not just as background music. It is over an hour long album and thus can be cumbersome and too much for one sitting. But that is evidence of its qualities and weight, not its weakness. In fact what I suggest is to use your right as a listener and listen to it in two parts. Create of it a soundtrack of your own, by editing it in any way you feel appropriate.

What I would love to hear from these talented guys is some variation in tempo, some faster and even angrier music; I think they could do wonders with more upbeat and energetic tunes to which they'll apply their current treatment. So in essence, I'd love to hear from them an action drama soundtrack.

In summary, this is an album I wasn't expecting to have that much of an impact on me, but it has succeeded in surprising and impressing me. While it may be a tad long, it contains lovely melodies, spacey vibe, a charming ambiance and a creative touch. I look forward to their next film soundtrack.

Review by Andy Webb
4 stars Spiritual machine, sublime journey

Lebowski is a young project, born in 2005 in Poland. The band created an interesting blend of music, fusing cinematic atmospheres (most likely the namesake of the debut album), psychedelic ambience, and a steady rocking beat to master a fantastic feel and a superb, ponderous atmosphere of complacent textures and voluminous soundscapes. The album, Cinematic, transitions between sections of cool passiveness and heavy aggressiveness with amazing ease and incredible sensation. The album is entirely instrumental, except the movie SoundBits taken from Polish, French, and occasionally English films. The instrumentalists are able to effortlessly craft atmospheres of amazing bliss and conform them to a superb cinematic feel, fusing psychedelic mastery with the knowledge of the symbolism of music to create an extremely engaging and inviting experience.

One of my favorite features of this album is the fantastically dense nature of the music present in all of the tracks. Full of thought out synth and guitar atmospheres and heavy ambiences mixed throughout, the album presents itself as a superb effort by this young band. As a debut, it is incredible, with extremely professional production to heighten this experience even more so. The melodies backing these atmospheres are equally infectious, with sweeping post-rock esque grandeur fused with cinematic melodic structure to create a truly incredible musical experience. The guitar is especially essential to this supreme sound, creating sweeping melodies and atmospheres as well as contrasting crushing leads and heavy riffs at times. The great dynamics really add to this album, creating an incredible psychedelic journey.

The steady pace of this album is another obvious feature to compliment the music of this album. With a very steady rocking feel, the band is able to weave in and out of jam-like sessions, with mellow soloing from piano, synth, guitar, and even bass. The rhythmic nature of the music is very melancholy and precise, using some very standard rock and psychedelic beats and rhythms to the music's advantage. Even in those few moments of metallic crushing, the actual pace of the music stays relatively the same, with only the physical dynamic of the music changing to conform to the feeling of the atmosphere. One obvious example of this style of theirs is on the opener, Trip to Doha, which has an almost blast beat section gracing the still steady pulsing atmosphere of the track's music. The soundtrack-like feeling enhances the pulsing nature of the music even further, creating a truly infectious soundscape for the listener's pleasure. This album truly is like going to the movies on an album.

In summary, although the album may run a bit long with its very few tempo changes and constant pulsing atmosphere, the album is full of fantastic melodies and diverse ambient soundscapes crafted beautifully by this band. At some points the music may get a little repetitive, but this album is truly a master craft from this quartet of genius movie-loving Poles. The music is a real treat for both any music lover and for any movie lover; it crafts a sublime atmosphere suited both for pleasurable listening and the moviegoer's soundtrack special. In the end, this album is certainly an excellent addition to any progressive collection; the 10 tracks sponsor a host of progressive tidbits and themes, and are truly fantastic. 4 stars.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I have a soft spot for dreamy cinematographic instrumental prog as I find myself often explaining prog to the uninitiated as 'soundtrack music for a movie in your mind' , which often causes people to look at me like if I was Ziggy from Mars! Oh well! I had my beloved Odyssice resting comfortably as my top instrumental band and I happened to read some Lebowski reviews (thanks avestin and Andyman 1125!) that ignite a furious desire to get my hands on this jewel. Perhaps now that I have Lebowski in my rotation, I can propose a self- explanatory CD to my misguided friends. Damn, is this good stuff, the recording you crave for everytime you take a plunge into unknown proggy waters! As the title suggests, the music on Cinematic is an assemblage of film snippets, mostly from the legendary Polish school of cinema, adorned with shimmering musical props supplied by a cast of brilliant instrumentalists who hone their precious sonic craft with seeming ease and utter respect. The various moods here are indescribably stellar, propelled by muscular bass and drum montages that clear the stage for some sensitive keyboard flourishes and biting lead guitar work. From the galleries, blasts of illuminating subtlety infuse the medley of sound to chilling effect (dulcimer, violin, female vocals etc'). Lastly, the spoken words add even more drama to the whole production. But contrary to many movie soundtracks, the music here is extremely dynamic and exalting, constantly creative and from the gut, mostly in due part to the bold drumming from Krzysztof Pakula and the expert Marek Zak bass lines holding down the melodies, encouraging simple melodic forays generally led by the exquisite piano and then passed onto the rambunctious lead guitar of Marcin Grzegorczyk. Keyboard master Marcin Luczaj has a wide palette to play with and he does not hesitate to display his extensive talents. As with any great movie, there are no individual scenes that grab one's attention, but rather a cinematic wholeness that needs no editing or improvement. That being said, I found myself mesmerized by '137 sec' and its trance-like vocals, the cool dryness of 'Iceland', the foggy suspense of 'Old British Spy Movie', the sand swept mystery of ' Trip to Doha' and the French worded 'Encore' with the rippling fret effects (and solo that will make one cringe) . 'Aperitif for Breakfast' is adorned with a guitar blast that will knock you sideways, a massive jolt of utter beauty you swear you have heard somewhere before (but you haven't!), the sensual piano intervening with poignancy and despair. 'Spiritual Machine' is densely shot from a discreet angle, a modernistic dirge spliced with incredible editing, evolving into a different scene with its exploding guitar rampage. 'The Storyteller' is more ambient and veers nearly into Lunatic Soul territory (from fellow Pole Mariusz Duda) but morphs into a spirited spooky blowout. Amazing! 'Human Error' is the final coup de grace, a climax scene where the synths swerve then twirl and English cinema snippets embellish a wild lead guitar foray that then invites a main theme that soars and shines ever so brightly. A rolling bass solo does me in. Truly mesmerizing!

This is one hell of a masterpiece that deserves attention and heady applause My kind of prog, I could listen to this for days on end. Not a weak second anywhere on this disc, a perfect balance of soft and hard, gentle and painful, delivered in perfect Panavision! Screw the rip-off popcorn and the gallon-sized paper pop, give me the re-run please.

5 utterly polished lenses

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Since the moment where I received the album and found a paper boat (just like the boat in the cover art) I knew this album would be magical, and when I listened to it for the first time, I knew my feelings were right, and loved it since the very first moment. I dare say this is the album I've listened to the most in the last month. The reasons, I could create my own inexistent film in my head, thanks to these ten compositions.

So be prepared, because here you will have 66 minutes of excellent, well-composed, wonderfully arranged music. It starts with "Trip to Doha", a colorful composition with a soft start but with a wonderful progression. I love the guitars and the prominent synthesizer that really knows how to create the most accurate atmospheres. Worth (and necessary) mentioning that this is an instrumental track, but with some vocals which are actually taken from different films. This is a great introductory track that gives an idea of how a single track can create hundreds of images.

"137 sec." has in moments a dark atmosphere that creates a sensation of tension, even drama. You can close your eyes and let the music and the female vocals take you to their realm, and become an actor of their film. It is up to you. "Cinematic", the track, has a wonderful development and a brilliant structure. I really like how they are adding different elements while the seconds pass, they don't limit themselves and surprises us with new chords, atmospheres, figures and rhythm, creating a challenging track that may describe everyone's day; just use your imagination and you will pass through several and quite different passages.

Probably my favorite combo comes next, first with "Old British Spy Movie" and later with "Iceland". The first one really suggests what the title says, however, one can modify it and use it for another kind of film, for instance, at first with the piano I imagine a lonely person lying in a bed and thinking, and when guitars and the other elements appear, that same person is having some flashbacks or flashforwards, imagining the life before and after. An additional element here is the violin, which adds pure beauty to the music, changing the mood and putting an atmosphere of hope and charm. What a wonderful track! The second one starts with guitar and synth, along with some vocals in a language I ignore; then the track little by little progresses, with a structure which may not be that complex, but that is once again full of elements such as colors, nuances and textures. Here the combination between music and words is amazing, no matter you don't understand the language, you can create your own images and stories thanks to the emotional tone.

"Encore" has an obvious French connection due to the accordion-like that softly sounds after a minute, and of course due to the vocals. The music is a carrousel that shares diverse emotions, from uncertainty or drama, to beauty and tranquility. It is incredible how Lebowsky manages to gather so many emotions and sounds in a few minutes, which demonstrates their skills as composers and performers. "Aperitif for Breakfast (O.M.R.J.) starts with a piano that reminds me of some old horror films, but it only lasts for some seconds until the song changes. And then its structure is being built, with a great use of guitars, rhythm and solo; soft drums and the always accurate and elegant keyboard and synth player.

"Spiritual Machine" may be one of those tracks hard to forget, evidently because of the machine speaking, but also because of the music itself. Holy [&*!#], I really love how it is catching you little by little, involving you until you are completely trapped under its charm, hypnotized by its powers. Another positive point is that the song (actually all the songs) is not repetitive, it is always morphing and adding elements over and over, like real life; so this may be our soundtrack after all.

"The Storyteller (Svensson)" starts with soft piano and a dreamy atmosphere that later will be joined by vocals (film), bass and the other instruments. This may be the softest track of the album at least for the first four minutes, because later keyboards and drums appear and give it a stronger feeling which is complemented by the mighty electric guitar; this passage is not that long, it last for a minute until a kind of alarm sounds and the music just fades out. The album finishes with "Human Error" , which is another cool track that softly starts but becomes more intense seconds later. Here the guitar plays an important role, while drums constantly sound and piano leaves its mark here and there. After three minutes the band surprises us once again with a short section with percussion, creating a totally different sound, then it returns to form and completes the track.

What a wonderful album, I highly recommend it, so please give it a chance, get it, open your mind and create your own images. It is worth it, believe me. Five stars,

Enjoy it!

Review by lucas
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Lebowski", "cinematic", two words that are linked to movies. The band Lebowski indeed intended to perform a soundtrack to a non-existent movie, like Mike Patton did with his project Fantomas. The music proposed is strongly rooted in space rock (echoes of Pink Floyd and fellow countrymen of Riverside can be heard), but in order to fit a non-existent movie, the band broadened their canvas by incorporating elements of ambient music, prog metal, "ethnic" music and extracts of voices from movies (mainly polish, but also french and english).

As it is difficult to give an overall picture of the music recorded, I will go through each track separately to give an overview of the influences and the diversity shared across the tracks.

- First track starts in an ethnic ambient mood with duduk, it is strongly reminiscent of the band Deleyaman and would be perfect for a record on Prikosnovénie or Equilibrium label. Then we are in known territories, with a space rock à la Riverside. - The second track features zither and vocalises that remind of ethnic ambient stuff of Dead Can Dance or her frontwoman, Lisa Gerrard, very soothing music. Bendir follows and gives an oriental feel to the music, it accompanies zither and vibraphone. Afterwards, the track alternates between intimate atmospheric oriental-sounding music and more daring instrumental prog metal with guitars and keys. A passage with electric piano and "heavenly" guitars (does anyone remember Cocteau Twins ?) follows. The end of the track blends vocalises, "heavenly" guitars and electric piano. - Third track opens with music that is in the "heavenly" genre, and could come straight from the 4AD label. A flute gives it the symphonic feel of a Happy The Man track (the symphonic prog rock band led by flautist/keyboardist extraordinaire Kit Watkins). A choir followed by "heavenly" guitars and repeted piano notes transport us to an "ambient" land. Drums then roll and guitars rage for a cross to the spacey prog metal land of Riverside. Drums then roll again, but this time like a bolero, and flute and choir put an end to the track. - The fourth track starts with a melancholic piano, resonant of fellow countryman Zbigniew Preisner. We are then transported to a more cinematic world, close to Pat Metheny's moving "last train home". Some echo-effects with harp and violin follow. Discrete trumpet can be heard in the background then a short passage with chaotic guitars. Peace and quietness are back with harp layers. Harp alternates with trumpet, and some hypnotic heavenly guitars emerge. - Fifth track shows a further move for heavenly music à la Cocteau Twins, opening with "heavenly" guitars. The whole track remains in a heavenly mood, presenting with some nice post-romantic piano layers here and there and discrete trombone. - On the sixth track, the aim was to pay a tribute to french music and movies, hence the presence of an accordion. The track opens once again in a "heavenly" mode, or we can even dare saying "gothic" (not surprising given the movie chosen for the voice extract, "le pacte des loups"). Some glockenspiel can be heard within the "heavenly" passage. Then, in order to give the track a french flavor, accordion enters and later on a short passage with harmonica can be heard. Faithful to their eclectism, the band integrated a keyboard solo after the french connection, before giving back to the accordion its place. A slightly prog metal passage follows and the accordion closes the track with the word "merci" from a voice sample. - The seventh track opens with a lullaby-sounding piano (Luigi Rubino of the band Ashram, signed on prikosnovénie, comes to mind). It quickly shifts to instrumental prog metal with a piano/guitar duel. Soft pan flute follows, then electric piano substitutes to the acoustic piano and duels with guitar. - We move to the eigth track, which has interesting reverbering keyboard effects, interspersed with echoing guitar soli. Lamenting guitars follow and some processed vocals are transitioned with nice hypnotic piano/guitar work. Guitars become then most daring, transporting us once again to the know territories of Riverside. - The two thirds of the ninth track are in the "ambient" mood, gentle piano/keyboard being joined by fretless bass and discrete percussion. The last third is in a sixties psychedelic rock mood, fast-tempo drums being accompanied with vintage Hammond organ. - The closing track features a voice sample of 2001 space odyssey and is a guitar-lead track, with some welcome Steve Vai-like effects. Piano, guitar and Hammond organ answer to each other. Piano and fretless bass then quieten the mood. Some echoes of fellow countrymen of symphonic prog rock band Satellite can be witnessed in the keyboard layers that follow the bass solo. The atmosphere then turns to jazzy ambient (à la Jan Garbarek) with a thoughtful saxophone-piano duet. The track ends with the sound of the projector stopping after the end of a movie.

In a nutshell, Lebowski is highly recommended for people who like their music eclectic and thoughtful.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I've been wondering why more prog artists haven't moved more toward cinematic soundscapes like this. Seems a natural fit for creative/artistic mood-affecting instrumental music. I know a lot of prog artists have ventured successfully into the film soundtrack business. While this is a wonderful collection of familiarly cinematic songs with superb recording production and an amazing array of interesting, melodic sound/instrument (& voice) uses, my one reservation is the fairly constant "lounge" pacing/rhythms. Music to chill out to. Very pleasant and interesting background music. When one does give it one's full attention, one is greatly rewarded by the details, subtleties, and variations within the aural scapes. I just can't get past this slight 'disappointment' that I'm listening to 'sophisticated' urban lounge music. Still, I cannot resist rating this anything less than

4.5 stars--it is masterful, fascinating, seductive . . . but is it an essential piece of every prog lover's music collection? I have to vote no.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In a strange time when economical crisis news come as daily reports from battle fields,when Greeks attack their banks and ministries as enemies' bastions,when crazy guy somewhere on the North killing people around just to attract attention he's not happy with the world he lives in... this album is about beauty. I spent first week of new year listening to full discog of Albert Ayler - talented guy who started playing sax as if he would like to destroy the world,continued with marching orchestra and later was found dead in New York City's East River being just 34, a presumed suicide.Ok, it happened four decades ago but do you really think the world became better?

Lebowski self released debut is about beauty! I was born in great place but in bad time - world around was mostly grey with lot of red during annual May Day demonstrations.Almost everything different then grey was banned. The one among few things helped to survive was music from Polish radio I could listen without big problems - Polish border wasn't too far. Polish radio was like a window to the world - the music there was different I could hear around me - soulful,tasteful and... free. And - beautiful! I grew up listening Komeda and Tomasz Stanko, then - polish pop-jazz vocalists,later - Lady Punk. Czesalw Niemen turned my world around, SBB were my rock teachers.

A lot of time has gone but Polish music is still same - soulful,slightly melancholic and ... beautiful. From very first "Cinematic" chords I just returned back to my teens. Same feeling I have when driving hour after hour by night crossing Poland and listening "Trojka" night radio...

This album is not for your head but for your heart. Soundtrack for non-existent movie - this music is strong enough to become the basis for video line. Liquid density full of melancholy and Slavic soulful roots. Unfortunately my knowledge of Polish movies is too limited to give me the possibility to recognize where from comes one or another dialogue. I just see the ghost of Komeda under that late night sound, hear some world tunes and feel melancholy of French movies from 60s. And it's more than enough - as I already said this music is for your heart,not head...

Review by lazland
4 stars Lebowski is a project from Poland, originally conceived in 2005, but this debut was finally released in 2010. It is an instrumental work, albeit with voices and chants, and, as with many such works, the key to success is keeping the listener interested and challenged. This it succeeds in doing. It is described as the "soundtrack to a non-existent movie", and includes along the way all types of homage to the great and lasting art form.

Opener, Trip To Doha, opens up in a nice jazzy groove, before developing into a more "traditional" symphonic prog track. There are some nice guitar licks with a gentle synth background. The duduk is introduced as a very nice accompaniment giving a Mid Eastern feel, quite in keeping with the subject matter, and my only real gripe is that the track could have benefited a little more from this. Steve Hackett was, I feel, a little more successful in his last outing at creating such a mood.

137 sec. is next, and I love the Hammond Dulcimer played, which provides again a very welcome Asian/World feel to proceedings, together with a marvellous vocal performance by Kasia Dziubak providing a far more ethereal and mysterious feel to proceedings. Elsewhere, the moog is somewhat "by the numbers", but the bass and guitar riffs are nicely funky. When this track is adventurous and daring, it is very good indeed.

Cinematic is the title track, and a real highlight. It is vibrant and warm, with the keys, especially, moving out of a comfort zone and providing a challenging, but rewarding, listen. Think of a jazzy symphonic movement (the drums are especially good), and you are somewhere near the mark, and the sax and choral vocals simply add to the mellow and enjoyable feel of a very good piece of music, which never once loses the listener's attention, having more than enough signature changes to keep one interested.

Old British Spy Movie is a must for those of us who love the old "noir" films of the classic period. It captures the mood perfectly. The piano lead, especially, is full of mystery, and when Kasia Dziubak enters the fray with a magical and mournful violin, it just gets better. Add in some brass samples, a strong bass riff, and what you have here is a marvellous track which, again, pushes all of the right "mood buttons", with artful changes in tempo to keep you alert.

Iceland, apparently the oldest written track on the album, is a tribute to Zdzislaw Maklakiewcz and Roman Klosowski, two Polish actors of some fame in their homeland. Not knowing enough about them, I cannot really comment on how the track brings them to life, but I can say it is a pleasant track with nice symphonic sensibilities without ever being especially stretching, and includes a lovely piano solo.

Encore is a "French" track, and is suitably dark and complex in homage to that great nation's cinematic works. I like this track a great deal. The accordion is great and evokes the feel of the nation more than adequately, whilst the guitar solo, set against a very brooding synth riff, is very accomplished, and, at times, quite beautiful, especially some four & a half minutes in when the hairs are raised with a passage redolent of some of the best Mark Knopfler moments. It doesn't last long, but it is wonderful when it is there.

Aperitif For Breakfast (O.M.R.J.) is dense and jazzy and, to my ears, at the start, very reminiscent of some of the more tuneful and accessible latter-day Crimson music. There is a special mention here for Marcin Luczey's piano work and the lovely guitar lead by Marcin Grzegorczyk. Later on, the track develops into a very much Marillion-esque feel when Marek Zak and Krzysztof Pakula take to the fore with an immense rhythm section. The denouement is the closest the band come to a huge wall of sound, and it is very good indeed.

Spiritual Machine is my favourite track on the album. A dark, guitar led piece that transports us all into a futuristic film led by intelligent robots/machines/computers. It is almost doom- laden in parts, but Grzegorczyk's work immerses us in that world perfectly, together with intelligent use of machine voice effects. Most welcome, though, are the softer passages, ambient, pastoral, and beautiful amongst the gloom which portray a world far more complex than at first glance.

The Story Teller is, apparently, the track which changed the most during the recording period, and sets off at a light, pleasant, but unremarkably ambient pace, although I do like the very well played bass lead. There are also some nice French Horns included, but I think this is the one track where, mid to 2/3rd through, the attention does clearly wander, before the gloom is relieved somewhat by a heavier denouement.

Human Error is the closer, and the longest track on the album at just short of eight minutes long. I'm not sure whether this was aimed at the Robert Young film of the same name, but, if so, it does musically very well paint the picture of a conflict between the leads and their scheming boss. It is very broody and also very good. The lovely jazzy licks, featuring a beautiful oboe, take me to the place of the excellent 2011 King Crimson ProjeKct, and is very welcome.

The film reel clicking at the end is a fitting conclusion to this tribute to the movies. Alright, Anderson & Vangelis have done it before, but so what?

There is an eclectic mix of moods here. At turns broody, melancholic, bright, and beautiful, it is very rarely anything less than wholly engaging, and this is an album which is highly recommended to those of you who not only enjoy instrumental progressive music, but also those prepared to take a little bit of time to appreciate it.

Sit back, put it on, and enjoy. Four stars for this. An excellent addition to any thoughtful prog collection. Let's hope for more in the not too distant future, because I feel there is something even more special to come. At their best, pushing the boat out, they are quite excellent.

My thanks to the band for making the CD available for me to review.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. The description of the music these guys make sounded right up my alley so I took the plunge and have been listening to this for over a week. What I found after several days was that I really enjoyed it at the beginning but tired of it towards the end. It is kind of samey and long at almost 67 minutes. What I like about it is the atmosphere and heaviness. It's cool to hear the spoken words that pop up out of nowhere throughout this record. The sound seems like it's layered in the studio to my ears. It has lots of depth to it. Love the first three tracks and then it starts to go downhill for me and i'm done well before it's over. This is a Polish band who have gained a lot of praise for this instrumental album that is supposed to be film music for movies.

"Trip To Doha" is almost orchestral sounding to start then a beat with guitar takes over. Spoken words after 3 minutes then the piano leads before the guitar takes that role once again. "137 Seconds" opens with atmosphere with drums and more. Female vocal expressions join in around a minute. It's heavier before 2 minutes when the vocals stop. She's back as it settles again as contrasts continue. "Cinematic" opens with keyboards as a full sound kicks in right away. Nice heavy guitar too. It stops as horns (sampled) come in with vocal melodies. Spoken words follow. Keyboards are back then that heaviness. Great track ! Three excellent songs to open. "Old British Spy Movie" opens with piano and we get some sampled sax and real violin throughout. "Iceland" opens with picked guitar as a beat, piano then spoken words follow. The words will come and go. Nice bass late.

"Encore" has spoken words and a rich sound. Sampled accordion before 1 1/2 minutes. Female and male spoken words follow. The guitar becomes aggressive at one point. "Apertif For Breakfast" is mellow with a music box-like sound then a heavy rhythm takes over. The guitar solos over top then it's the piano's turn. It's heavy again after 4 1/2 minutes. Nice. "Spiritual Machine" has a good heavy sound to it until a calm arrives with samples after 2 minutes then it builds. "The Storyteller" features piano and atmosphere as spoken words join in. A change 4 1/2 minutes in with a plastic sounding beat and organ-like sounds. Then it kicks in. "Human Error" ends the album with spoken words after a minute and prominant guitar. Organ and percussion lead then the guitar returns.

There's so much here that I enjoy but not for over an hour. Take my rating with a grain of salt as i'm the only one to give this 3 stars so far, but this isn't a 4 star record in my world unless you cut it to my favourite 40 minutes.

Review by CCVP
4 stars Simple, effective, beautiful and emotional: the art of Polish progressive rock

Poland is quite a mystifying place when comes to progressive rock. Since back when the country was under the oppressive Soviet veil and had all that official State paraphernalia to spy and diminish liberties and free thought, music flourished in communist Poland to the point of exporting acts to neighboring Czechoslovakia, where producing and playing such kind of music would grant you a considerably long stay in one of the country's most lovely places for socially inadequate behavior.

Music from that period of said Western Slavic country (considering mostly the major progressive acts such as Niemen, SBB and Mark Grechuta) aren't as energetic as the Western European counterparts, both from Continental Europe and the British Isles, but carried some emotional depth and beauty few could equal in the free world. They also managed to keep their music somewhat simpler than the main acts from our side of the Iron Fence.

With the communist regime's dismantlement during the late 1980's and early 1990's and with the influx of new influences, Poland found itself as being a hot spot for a genre of progressive rock that is met nearly with contempt by some today for arguably being stationed in the same place for the past 30 years: neo prog. Yes, if you don't know yet, neo prog (as well as the bands behind its sound, such as Pink Floyd) is pretty big there, so much that most Polish bands listed here (that are from after the wall went down, of course) ARE neo prog bands and even those that are not are deeply influenced by neo prog (just to mention some of the most well know of them, Riverside started only because some headbangers that played in death metal bands found out they both liked Marillion and Osada Vida has some obvious neo vibe to it). Like it or not, neo's deep emotional feelings, lush beauty and simplicity is all over Polish progressive rock.

So, what does any of this has to do with this fantastic act that I've been so kindly asked to review? Well, being Lebowski from that same Slavic country I've been talking about, it couldn't fall very far from where it came; the band does not play the mentioned genre of progressive rock that emerged during the 1980's, but as said before, its influence is stretched all over Poland. Lebowski, however, manged to stray away from cliches and well-know places in progressive rock and went for the higher road, with something else added: simplicity; indeed, they managed to put together an album that not only emotional and beautiful, but also were able to make it easy to listen and relate to, even for people outside progressive rock circles. They've managed to fulfill Shakespeare's saying brevity is the soul of wit, creating an opus that is both able to reach for progressive rock fans with its intricate musical build-up and outsiders with their simple, but effective approach to it, much like Mariusz Duda managed to do in his side project Lunatic Soul.

Another favorable point for them is the fact that there are no vocals in their album, something that, in my opinion, just accents their music even more. I also believe that there would be some difficulty in finding the right kind of voice, someone with the appropriate vocal abilities to fill in and fit their style. Another upside to the lack of vocals (even though there are some minor vocal lines in 137 sec.) is that Lebowski's music fits very well with their premise, which is create a soundtrack for a non- existent film, as well as an homage to Polish film and world-wide cinema (hence the album's title, Cinematic); such intentions are accentuated with a series of movie quotations / cuts that appear throughout the album, being most of them Polish movies since the chief intention is take a bow for Polish cinema in general, and there's even camera roll by the end of the album.

As for the instrumentalists and compositions themselves, I must say that I do like what I hear, a lot. First, because nothing here is unnecessary. As I mentioned before, Lebowski keeps it simple and effective, making every melody line and every instrument fit just right with each other. Second, even though most of the time the guitar or keyboards stay at the forefront of the band's sound, neither the bass or the drums get behind, they all merge together in the music, complementing whoever has the spotlight; and I mean spotlight here in a very broad way, because there is no real shining piece or mind blowing solos, just one instrument that is leading the melody. Third, all music evolves as a whole, everything has a meaning and a purpose.

Rating and Final Thoughts

Lebowski is, for me, one of those bands I would never be able to meet if it wasn't for the prog community and aggressively searching for new things to listen to. Their album, in spite of being excellent and being easily to relate to, unfortunately has no place in today's music business, as it happens with the majority of progressive rock bands. The fact that they sound original, thus can't be quite compared to anybody for that, don't help either. Even so, they fight on, creating great music.

Nonetheless, however great their debut opus might be, I feel that it doesn't quite reach the high level that I regard for masterful albums. That's no derogatory thing, though, Cinematic is impressive regardless of that. Indeed, I think it would appeal to all progressive rock fans I know as it has appealed to myself for their touching art rock. For that, I believe that this album's rating is four stars.

As a final note, I would like to thank Radek Ratomski for allowing me to know more about this impressive band and letting me have the privilege of reviewing their work. I am truly thankful for this.

Review by aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Undeniably your prog movie soundtrack

A lot of kind words, and not unjustifiably, have been written for Lebowski's first imaginary movie soundtrack. A journey through (mainly) European cinematography is this ~65 minute-instrumental album, and pays tribute to sounds of the past and present with some beautiful landscapes. The music here is relatively simple, however, incorporating progressive rock music in a lot of aspects, mainly the atmosphere and secondly the selective time signature breaks here and there.

The music can be better described as a filtration of a cinematic aesthetic through the undeniable influence of emotion from other Polish bands, e.g. Riverside, but also Hogarth-era Marillion. Warm, deep melodies, set at a low pace, dominate the entirety of this soundtrack. An interesting and rather intriguing characteristic of this record is that of visualisation; the listener is left to picture the imaginary landscapes created via the different instruments and sounds.

Flow-wise, the album starts off very strong with powerful melodies in the first three-four tracks but then flattens out to more expected tempos, before ending again on a high note. The music does not get any complex at any time, so this is not recommended to those looking out for an orgasm of odd-time signatures. I did enjoy the different themes of the album, from Doha to Paris, and the variation of instruments used to create it. On the cons side, I find it a bit longer than it could have been, but also a tad too simple e.g. a bit more variation in tempos would have helped it in terms of variety and engagement of the listener.

All considered, this is a beautiful album to listen through, made with real emotion and passion. My rating is 3.5 stars, expecting an even better follow up.

Many thanks to Radek, the band's manager, for making this available for review.

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars LEBOWSKI is a Polish group founded in 2002, playing a wide spectrum of Progressive Music with sound landscapes.

So far they have released only one album called Cinematic (2010) and the band consider it to be 'music for a non-existent film'. Quite accurate, cause it is just like a film soundtrack.

Lebowski is formed by Marcin Grzegorczyk (guitars), Marcin Łuczaj (keyboards), Marek Żak (bass) and Krzysztof Pakuła (drums). And delivers pretty much rich and vast musical canvas where you have to focus and put your mind to picture the non-existent film. The album was recorded partially in one of the band member's apartment and for that reason I can say that the sound of Cinematic (2010) is quite good if you analyze the band limitations at that time.

The album is a good mix of Progressive Rock and atmospheric music where you can close your eyes and get involved in their music. To help create this environment, several voices of actual movies were used. Movies like '2001: A Space Odyssey', 'Gangsterzy I Filantropi', 'Hydrozagdka', 'Pamiętnik Znaleziony W Saragossie', 'Le Pacte Des Loups' and 'Bariera'. Aside that the album is completely instrumental with keyboards and guitars taking over the main roles most of the time. The only exceptions are the tracks '137 Sec.' and 'Old British Spy Movie' where Katarzyna Dziubak appears to do some ethereal vocals and to play a very nice violin.

The opening track 'Trip To Doha' has an initial drum beat that is pure 'Bullet The Blue Sky' from U2, but it's just a first moment. 'Cinematic' brings voices to our ears and it's quite emotional and pretty. Another good track from Cinematic (2010) is 'Iceland' (they have a video for it on Youtube).

The album is carried with lots of samples too, which helps to increase the ambience of their music.

The digipack is something that must be mentioned. The beautiful package comes with great pictures and the artwork is astonishing. The band that is worthy to be checked for sure!

Latest members reviews

4 stars I heard that this album comes with the origami boat on the cover . That's the thing that made me listen to this album. This is my first spin but the album's strenght definitely deserves a review. These are 6-7 minutes of instrumental tracks, which have different characteristics and different ... (read more)

Report this review (#597478) | Posted by talha | Wednesday, December 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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