Without researching Stara Rzeka, I would’ve never known it’s a one man band – Jakub Ziołek. This album is so layered and dense I would’ve thought this had to have been a group project. The name comes from a small town in Poland, and the album title roughly translates to “Shadow cloud over hidden field”. That’s probably not precisely what he meant but it’s strangely a good description of the sound. This album is a blend of genres, covering Folk, Death Metal, Noise, Ambient, and Post-Rock.
Przebudzenie boga wschodu starts the album off with a beautiful acoustic guitar that’s slowly faded out as other instruments and loops are added in. Over the 12 minute run time, Jakub slowly builds up the noise more and more, screaming in a desperate attempt to be heard. As much as I love the acoustic intro, my favorite part is the Shoegazing guitar that drown out the noise to end the song. Tej nocy/Broń nas od złego is a raging thunderstorm of Death Metal noise that eventually clears up for another acoustic interlude. Here though is when he sings, quite beautifully too. I wouldn’t imagine it from his screaming, but he’s got a sweet and soft voice, that’s mixed perfectly to accentuate that. The title track Cień chmury nad ukrytym polem is breathtaking, and I wish I understood the Polish that was being spoken at the start of the song. The wall of noise is just gorgeous, taking up every inch of space possible. Organ pipes carry you off into the distance but just when you think that’s the end of the song, this guitar comes out of nowhere and it all just fits so well.
Nächtlich Spaziergang durch Klinger starts off with the powerful soundscapes that have been on the previous songs, but it suddenly changes gears to this electronic dance groove. It doesn’t stray too far into EDM, and soon enough it too falls to the noise and ambient drone. After an incredible journey we arrive to My Only Child, a song that isn’t a cover of Nico’s song, but just throws the complete song in there (slowed down slightly) with some ambient in the background. It’s certainly unusual to just paste an entire song into another, and I can’t decide on how I feel about it, but it sounds lovely. Again I’m astounded that this is a one man project, it’s just so deep and complex. This was just a random bandcamp I stumbled upon but I’m so glad I found it. Thankfully he’s made much more music, and so I’ve got something to look forward to.