Polish Radio Experimental Studio
is the first official series of CD releases dedicated to the music produced in the legendary Studio. Established in 1957 by Józef Patkowski, it was among the first institutions of that kind in the world with only Paris, Cologne and Milano preceding the Warsaw one. Despite that, unlike their foreign colleagues who quickly became the most important figures of the XX century music, Polish composers working in the Studio are known only to a limited number of insiders. Yet, as Reinhold Friedl, leader of zeitkratzer points out, 'the pieces give the impression of an artistic approach which has never been as strict or ideologically restricted as German electronic music or French concrete music. It seems to me that none of the musicians connected with this studio have had the tendency to limit him/herself to 'electroacoustic music', rather they all have a natural and holistic approach to composing' [see: BR ES03
]. This is why the releases give us opportunity to revisit our historical ideas of XX century music with a fresh and inspiring insight.
The KEW stands for a group of three composers: K
lżbieta and W
ojciech, founded in 1973 when they were all students at the Fryderyk Chopin Higher State School of Music in Warsaw. They were a group of friends who enjoyed spending time in good (i.e. each other's) company and collectively coming up with new compositions. They weren't average students. Elżbieta Sikora had already been on probation (1968-1970) in Groupe de Recherches Musicales in Paris under the guidance of Pierre Schaeffer and François Bayle and had performed in France several times. Wojciech Michniewski (who had graduated with honours from the Department of Composition, Conducting and Theory of Music) was giving numerous performances and was supposed to shortly obtain 'Orfeusz', the main award for the best performance of a Polish composition at the Warsaw Autumn Festival of Contemporary Music. Krzysztof Knittel was already successful in the area of popular music and he did not cease searching: he took part in courses on the Fortran programming language and attended lectures on mathematical and humanistic logics and on theories of probability. He was also a listener of a cycle of professor Tatarkiewicz's philosophical lectures.
KEW became an equivalent to a team adventure, which many artists can only dream of. Within the frames of common intuitive creation - either composition or improvisation - the unspoken became a mutual way of experiencing and expressing the world, unexpected emanation of spirituality. In 1973 the artists launched a group of creative search, which unfortunately did not last long, but its short life became a beginning of an unbelievable eruption of cultural initiatives (not always of the best quality), which we currently observe in Polish improvised music. It is difficult to find direct followers of the Western experience of the 1960's and 1970's in the Polish academic environment, but it definitely gained talented and truly original continuers in the KEW.
In the pieces prepared by the group one can feel the spirit of students' creativity characteristic to that period: the cult of wandering, common experiencing of the books they read, looking far ahead and beyond everyday life and fascination with the exotic. At the same time young people did not shy away from the ordinary, the local or even a bit coarse. The registered activities and conversations occupied and amused them. By the very fact of 'picking them up from the ground', slightly transforming and inscribing them into the context of refined electroacoustics, the quotations of the reality were becoming art objects. The composers pictured everyday life by transmitting it far beyond the present and its temporariness, beyond its time.
The independent student initiative gave origin to a band, which up to these days marks out a certain aesthetic canon in the Polish music culture.