Piętnastka is back. The duo project of Piotr Kurek and Hubert Zemler returns with a fantastical album titled Kambium, released almost precisely a decade after the debut Dalia. Seamlessly fusing eerie organs, haunting reverbs, clanging percussion and a handful of other instruments, the album's seven tracks radiate something oddly mythical yet futuristic. Just like the artwork, the music here is winding, colourful and twists in unpredictable ways.
There's a shape-shifting quality to these pieces; on the title track, rhythms intertwine with meandering synth work to disorienting effect, while “Bez tytułu” moves at simultaneously blistering and sluggish paces, depending on how you look at it. The abstract moments are revelatory and imaginative too, for instance “Chabry maki”, a slow-moving, image-conjuring piece that feels like a dreamy walk through an alien swamp. Overall, Kambium is a viscous mesh, a soundtrack to long-forgotten futures and imagined pasts: world-building music in the most abstract, quixotic sense. At times, the world of Piętnastka evokes the mysticism of Le Guin & Barton’s Music and Poetry of the Kesh, while at others it embodies the absurd majesty of the Loch Ness.
Piętnastka started as a solo project of Piotr Kurek, and the debut record Dalia was released on Lutto Lento's trailblazing Sangoplasmo label. It developed into a duo with Hubert Zemler during subsequent live performances which spanned Europe and the US. In addition to his well-received 2020 album A Sacrifice Shall Be Made / All The Wicked Scenes on Mondoj, Kurek has released several other albums of idiosyncratic, shape-shifting music during the last decade. Zemler is extremely prolific, both as a drummer and a composer. His work spans collaborations with orchestras, jazz and improvisation, as well as experimental and world music. He has collaborated with musicians such as John Tilbury, Ben Frost, Jon Gibson or RP Boo.