Record label: Pomaton 9590737
he T.LOVE album has been released in special times. When it comes to its literary layer, it is sometimes journalistic and sometimes lyrical, but always honest. Some people perceive it as “too journalistic”. This is pure nonsense, but the album reflects the spirit of our times well, the atmosphere of (hopefully!) virtual lynch that each of us may be faced with. It is no longer possible to talk about the world in a reasonable way, as nobody listens to such things anymore. The only thing that matters are extreme opinions that polarize the society that is already divided. For all these people, songs such as Marsz (March), Biała (The White One) or Ostatni gasi światło (The Last One Switches off the Light) are an ideal stick to beat their opponents with. It does not matter which side of the political stage the strike comes from – the ones who use the stick will say it is “their own”.
However, it is an album that is typical for T.Love and for Muniek Staszczyk, the author of the lyrics – strong, immersed in everyday reality, sometimes touching and sometimes shocking. This time something must have “clicked”, as everything sounds stronger and deeper. I believe that it is largely due to really modern production and great sound that, in a way, is a continuation of the course set by the previous album Love is Gold (2012).
Two crews were responsible for the sound of the album – first, there was the Custom34 studio where all the tracks were recorded using an analogue multitrack tape recorder and then given a digital form. In this form, the material was given to Jacek Gawłowski who mixed and mastered the album in his studio – JG Master Lab (more HERE). Jacek also became an official co-producer of the album. Everything was in charge of Maciek “Majcher” Majchrzak, the band’s guitarist, who made final decisions regarding the album’s sound with Muniek and Jacek.
I have listened to this album in almost every possible way. I listened to it from hi-res source files in Jacek Gawłowski’s mix and mastering studio, where he told me about the album with Muniek and Maciek, I also listened to a few songs from the CD and LP during the Audio Video Show 2016 exhibition from a system that costs 2,000,000 PLN. I attended the band’s concert in Forty Kleparz music club in Cracow and listened to the album at home in a few systems, also through headphones (worth over 30,000 PLN with an amplifier and cables). I think I already know something about it.
First of all, we are talking about excellent production here. I am starting with this aspect of the album as it makes it different from most Polish albums today and in the past. While listening to these songs during a concert, I instantly knew that one of them was starting. They are exceptionally but also, as I would put it, consciously modern. When it comes to music, we are talking about classic blues-rock sound that Jacek Gawłowski enhanced with perfect mix and mastering.
However, everything started with the recording. It is a multitrack analogue recording, which is reflected in noise that is higher than in other contemporary albums. We should be able to hear it during pauses and silent parts of the recording in our systems. Its presence adds authenticity to the recording and enhances the sound of low dense guitars. It is these guitars that build the structure which gives us a kick stronger than almost any other rock album – rock music is not normally recorded so well!
The bass is really low and present not only in the sound of the bass guitar but also in drums, in the case of which Jacek suggested additionally recording sub-kicks that would make their sound more complete. Additionally, the treble is dark, energetic and natural. No frying, chopping or chirping. So, Muniek’s vocal comes across as really convincing – it is large and clear. As it is known, it is not easy to reproduce and here it neither seems artificial – I know what it sounds like live – nor “raw”, as it is a creation. The excellent space and an enormous “backstage”, together with dynamics and the filling of the foreground are an incredible mixture. The bigger our loudspeakers are, the bigger the sound and the more we hear – it usually gets worse and worse.
It is a beautiful and important album that does not only sound well on the radio, but also in high-end audiophile systems. It is best when it is listened to from a CD, so I am looking forward to the 24/88.2 hi-res files album version that is going to be made available :)
Sound quality: 10/10
Post Scriptum: concert
The concert that I have mentioned took place on December 4th at the Forty Kleparz music club (ul. Kamienna 2-4, 30-001 Cracow). It is a small and really atmospheric place that, apparently, had been equipped with a really professional sound system. The event was opened with a song entitled Pielgrzym (The Pilgrim) and I knew from the very start that it is one of the best songs of the band ever and one of the candidates to start EVERY concert: today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.
I was not surprised with how well the band sounds – they are both professional and passionate about music – or with how quickly Muniek started communicating with the audience. I was surprised that the participants knew the new songs, sang them and gave the impression that these songs had been in the band’s repertoire for many years. However, the album had been released less than a month before! The pogo, which reached its climax when the band performed Alkohol (almost punk-style), ended up with (not serious) bleeding from the nose of one of the participants, but also with collective frenzy. A girl who was 150 cm tall when she was standing on her toes impressed me by jumping into a group of tall men doing the pogo and suffering no harm.
The new songs beautifully entered the band’s repertoire and some of them are instant classics. However, I knew very well when each of them started because they sound (I know I’m repeating myself, but I can’t help it) modern, and really bluesy and classic at the same time. No other song is going to become more popular than Ajrisz, for example, but the new songs have more than just a good melody and catchy lyrics – there are certain deeper emotions that do not only refer to the circle of the band’s fans, but to a larger cultural community.
As I have mentioned, a good sound system was used during the concert, but it was interesting that the other support band sounded equally well (if not better). It was the Babylon Raus band led by Maciek Majchrzak, T.Love’s guitarist. The people who attended the concert reacted to it as positively as to T.Love later on. As Maciek told me right after the concert, he tried out certain patents on the Greatest Hits album that he developed later on while making the T.LOVE album. I am going to receive the former one soon and I will let you know what it sounds like.