Hey everyone! I’m excited (and a bit nervous?) to share that “Gaze Into The Sun” - my first release in almost ten years - is finally out on a wonderful label: Fluid Audio.
Gaze Into The Sun is a divided record, split between the past and the present. Old and new samples, old and new techniques.
For this release, Szymon Kaliski went through a selection of older sketches, loops, and recordings, and reviewed a lot of his past material, picking out things that resonated in the here and now. Recording and mixing took up much of last year, and even then, he almost threw the entire project away. Thankfully, he stuck with it, as its ambient music contains slivers of something ethereal, something more.
Gaze Into The Sun’s samples originated from a cassette tape, and the hazy, bleary-eyed textures of tape sink into this record. Custom loopers and delay effects made up his DIY software and hardware approach (the absence of a computer screen or any other digital method was an intentional choice), and samples were then processed and fed into Ableton Live.
Kaliski’s main philosophy is music of intentional imperfection. There’s no room for perfect, clean and polished sounds - life doesn’t work like that, and Kaliski understands that it is frequently chaotic and messy. Dissolving hisses and other musical bruises make up the topography of the record, scarring its relatively calm surface with anxious thoughts.
It lives within its own space, finding comfort in a pause separating note from note, containing many echoes of the past.
One can hear Icelandic wind and rain, recorded on a phone while on a trip. Piano samples, so old the date has been forgotten. A broken acoustic guitar, played with the bow of a violin. And his wife, singing in an empty underground pool somewhere in Mexico, recorded on a cheap, run-of-the-mill Dictaphone. All of these sounds add infinite amounts of texture to the music.
2020 brought a bit of headspace for Kaliski, after years of solid work and an eventual burnout. But the music was always there, waiting to emerge…
So it was that Gaze Into The Sun found life, the first, shaky breaths of an embryo - a concoction of the old and the new, covered in strangely-nostalgic, neither-here-nor-there sounds which float in the ether, never entirely sure where they’re going, and mirroring the current state of life, with all of its daily anxieties and stresses.
‘Trying to be hopeful, but also not sure of what’s next…trying to build up something resembling normalcy for all to crumble again. And I was also trying to work through what I was doing with my life and why…’
The music evolved from Kaliski’s experimentation, a focus on a particular feeling, which inevitably drips into the music, colouring it. Kaliski describes this as ‘the rare moment when everything feels ok’, and everything is ok when the music is playing. Music has the capacity to remove oneself from the troubles of reality. The music is dreamy enough to create its own sphere of peace, where nothing can interfere or evoke trouble. For Kaliski, as with millions of others, music is a gateway and a drug, a sedative to fight against cruelty and emotional pain, restoring and healing the inner self.
Kaliski extends an invitation to us all: in this sanctuary, one can linger in the music, reflect on the music, and belong to the music.
Mastering: Ian Hawgood
Print layout: Craig Tattersall
Packaging design: Daniel Crossley