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Indo-Prog/Raga Rock • Poland

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Osjan / ex Ossian picture
Osjan / ex Ossian biography
The origins of OSJAN (the name derives from a fictional character from a poem by Bolesław Leśmian. The musicians slighly changed spelling to OSSIAN but when they later found out there was a Scottish band of the same name then they returned to the original spelling) date early 70s when two former members of ANAWA (a band mostly known from playing with Marek Grechuta), namely Jacek Ostaszewski and Marek Jackowski, met with Tomasz Holuj. At the beginning the band was highly influenced by indian music. You could also trace some avant-garde and folk touch. In 1975 Marek Jackowski abandoned the band in order to form a rock band Maanam with a percussionist Milo Kurtis who was later invited by the remaining members of OSSIAN to work for the band.

In 30 years time span the lineup and instrumentarium frequently changed. The band also collaborated with many guest musicians like prominent polish jazzmen Tomasz Stańko and Pawel Jastrzębski, Apostolis Anthimos from SBB, legendary trumpeter Don Cherry, a shaman from the Cheronee tribe and others.
OSJAN's music is combined of elements of musical cultures from many parts of the world such as aforementioned indian music, african, arabia, far east and south american indian folklore which meet with jazz and classical music influences.
But the factor that occupies the central place in OSJAN's music is rhythm - the most primordial and present in every musical culture element.

OSSIAN is regarded the pioneer of so called world music in Poland but in reality the music of OSJAN doesn't explore nor utilise any ethnicality. It simply stands beyond any ethnicality, stylistics or genre affinity because the goal of all OSJAN's searches were always the most basic and universal elements of music.

Current lineup (January, 2007): Jacek Ostaszewski (flutes, vocals), Wojciech Waglewski (guitar, vocals), Radosław Nowakowski (drums: conga, bata), Milo Kurtis - (drums, Jew's-harps, vocalisations).


LP 1973 Poljazz Z-SXL 0545a PL

OSSIAN: OSSIAN (Księga Deszczu Plus, live)
LP 1975 Polskie Nagrania - Muza SX 1279 PL
CD 1999 Pomaton EMI / Scena FM 5 24316
CD 2007 Milo Records MR111 / 5907513047254

OSSIAN: OSSIAN (with Tomasz Stańko)
LP 1978 Poljazz Z-SX-0689 PL
CD 2005 Milo Records MR109 / 5907513047223 (with a different cover)

LP 1979 Polskie Nag...
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OSJAN / EX OSSIAN discography

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OSJAN / EX OSSIAN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.85 | 11 ratings
Ossian and Tomasz Stańko: Ossian
3.91 | 11 ratings
Księga Chmur
3.75 | 16 ratings
3.00 | 3 ratings
Głową W Dół
3.25 | 4 ratings
Po Prostu

OSJAN / EX OSSIAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.88 | 13 ratings
Ossian (Księga Deszczu Plus)
5.00 | 1 ratings
3.75 | 4 ratings
Rytuał Dźwięku I Ciszy
4.00 | 6 ratings
Muzyka Fruwajacej Ryby
0.00 | 0 ratings
Księga Liści

OSJAN / EX OSSIAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

OSJAN / EX OSSIAN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

OSJAN / EX OSSIAN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Osjan and Deep Purple : Klub Płytowy Nr.1


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ossian (Księga Deszczu Plus) by OSJAN / EX OSSIAN album cover Live, 1975
3.88 | 13 ratings

Ossian (Księga Deszczu Plus)
Osjan / ex Ossian Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

4 stars Modern day Poland has produced some internationally successful musical artists in recent decades with bands like Riverside, Behemoth, Vader and Mgła finding worldwide success. The communist era of Polish music isn't quite so well known though. In prog circles SBB, Czesław Niemen and Anawa have gained some recognition but there were so many others that still lurk in the misty brume of obscurity. OSSIAN (also spelled OSJAN) is one such band that formed in Krakow in 1971 and still exists to this very day as a band unit.

Known more for their improvised live shows rather than their sporadic album releases, this band has played in unusual venues such as Swedish prisons as well as homeland venues in their native Poland. Unlike many of its prog contemporaries, OSSIAN offered a unique mix of elements that make it hard to classify. Existing somewhere in the hazy nebulous regions where avant-folk, psychedelia, avant-garde jazz and minimalism intersect, OSSIAN has been most known for crafting its own unique style of peaceful and meditative music that while not Indian raga in nature still exudes the same transcendental vibe.

OSSIAN released two self-titled albums back to back in the mid-70s with this one appearing first in 1975. Some claim this to be a live album and other sources cite it as the first studio album. Given there are few audience noises it's impossible to say however given the band's improvisational nature the album was probably recorded live in the studio and therefore allowing both statements to be true simultaneously. This album originally featured six tracks at the standard vinyl playing time but some CD reissues feature two extra bonus tracks adding an additional 18 minutes. There actually is some audience participation sounds on "Księga deszczu VI" but this could be the only track to have been lifted from a live performance.

This is indeed a unique sounding album that only features the three musicians Jacek Ostaszewski on flute and dholak, Marek Jackowski on guitars and drum and Tomasz Hołuj playing tabla, gongs and other percussive instruments. For being improvised music, the tracks seem to have preordained structures that once introduced are allowed to take off into the improvosphere and in many ways brings the improvisational nature of jazz into the world of progressive world of avant-folk.

While melodies are common throughout the album especially with the flute, there are also many droning elements such as the repetitive acoustic guitar riffing and the tribal percussive outbursts of the tabla. At moments the album really does sound like it was inspired by the Indo-ragas of the Indian subcontinent and at other moments reminding a bit more of the Chilean progressive folk band Los Jaivas with especially with some of the flute scales. What's clearly absent from OSSIAN's approach is any trace of Polish or any other Slavic folk influences. The music offers a very escapist approach and unlike prog contemporaries like SBB and Anawa (which featured some members here) doesn't rely on classical music as its parent source of influence.

OSSIAN's members were masters at taking repetitive cyclical rhythmic riffs, grooves and percussion ensembles and ratcheting up the intensity much like much of modern day post-rock slowly works its way up to thundering crescendoes. While an album like this may sound a bit boring on paper, the actual performances are very captivating. This almost sounds like an impromptu drum circle by first rate musicians who happened to bring along a few more instruments where it turned into a bonafide jamming session. While the minimalist approach in composition seems limiting, the interplay has somehow figured out how to alchemize the soul and take you to a higher level of awareness into a cosmic cosnsidcuness expansion.

This is a very interesting album actually. While minimalism can be quite uninspiring and boring, somehow OSSIAN uses the subtle changes in tones, timbres and rhythmic variations to weave a larger than life mediative practice that insinuates the world of Indian ragas but exists in a parallel universe. This is truly a unique style that i've never heard and to think this has been around for almost 50 years and i've never heard it! Of course the Indian instruments do bring the world of Indian raga to mind when they dominate the soundscapes but OSSIAN transcended into a much more esoteric style of mixing everything so beautifully. What an interesting band that has been under my radar for so long despite having heard the name for quite some time now.

 Ossian and Tomasz Stańko: Ossian by OSJAN / EX OSSIAN album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.85 | 11 ratings

Ossian and Tomasz Stańko: Ossian
Osjan / ex Ossian Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

Review by twseel

4 stars 'Ossian (with Tomasz Stanko)' is the second album by the polish group Ossian. This album, like most of Ossian's albums, is an improvisation, spread over two or three songs(the two parts of 'Epilog' could be considered separate songs). The Polish Ossian is not to be confused with the Scottish folk group Ossian and the Hungarian metal band Ossian.

'Wstep Do "Ksiegi Chmur"(Introduction to the Book of Clouds)' is the first song. It covers the entire first side of the LP with a flute-oriented, Kraurtock-like improvisation. Behind the ongoing flute, there is a lot of percussion and some sound effects, which create a very natural feeling. Despite all the percussion, there is hardly any sense of rhythm throughout the piece, as sounds just come and go. This music might appeal to fans of Faust.

The second half of the album is 'Epilog "Muzyki fruwającej ryby"(Flying Fish Music)'. The first part, 'Ten sam wiatr porusza dwa drzewa(The same wind moves the two trees)', starts of with the kayagum of Jacek Ostaszewski, who also played the flute in the first part. After a while, the trumpet of Tomasz Stanko comes in with some lines and screeches. About halfway, tabla and other percussion come in and create a dark rhythm, while the trumpet gets continuously more aggressive. From there the trumpet and trombita improvise over the percussion up to the start of the second part, 'Dziurawe ucho (prawe)(Ear holes(right))'. The name of this part is based in the second half of the first piece, which was named 'Dziurawe ucho (lewe)', or 'Ear holes(left)'. This part starts off slowly until percussion takes over and the flute returns to the music. The trumpet of Tomasz Stanko is again prominent. Later the music turns again very minimal and arrhythmic with occasional trumpet and percussion interacting. This is kept up until a long trumpet note marks the ending of the album.

Overall Ossian provides very unique music, as a mix of Krautrock and ethnic music, with a lot of rare instruments as well. The music might, however, be difficult to enjoy, with not much rhythm and little variety. That makes that this not a perfect record.

Recommended to fans of experimental music, a bit risky for fans of melodic music, but still a very original mix of influences, overall 4,5 stars, rounded down to 4.

Thanks to Bartłomiej Ślązak (Tuzvihar) for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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