Artur Nowak
"Guitar Granulizer"
Artur Nowak "Guitar Granulizer"














emd.pl/records/003 - released on May 22nd 2004.
53 minutes, 50 tracks.

50 improvisations on electric guitar's samples, one minute each, with no cuts, overdubs, sequencing etc. Artur Nowak: guitar, computer. Recorded January-March 2003 in Katowice. Play in random order. Cover art by The Tag Artist, a Reaktor instrument designed by Chris List.

Intended to push the envelope of computer music towards unconstrained expression of free improvisation. Liquid soundscapes of gentle, ambient drones, impossible solos and layers of melodies souding like a guitar quartet, elusive rhythmic figures and devastating, unbearable noise - all pieces were created from few electric guitar samples, which were split into thousands of microacoustical particles and shaped in real-time by one man, without cuts or overdubs. Guitar Granulizer is an adventurous attempt to find a common ground between improvisation and advanced computer techniques. Requires and rewards focused listening; every track evolves personal images and powerfull feelings, from lusciousness to backlash - it will not leave the listener indifferent.

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Foxy Digitalis [...] I would have to go out on a limb and describe the device Artur Nowak uses to create his guitar based, digital cut-up recording "Guitar Granulizer". He is able to create sounds that are familiar and alien, beautiful and jarring, and often all of these things at the same time.

None of this is a bad thing. In fact, the overall feel of the CD is one of explosive creative energy, which has plenty of room to breathe in a fragmented format, and also one that still holds together as a singular piece. The CD case recommends the listener play the tracks in random order, and it makes sense given the digital aesthetics of the entire project. There is a controlled playfulness about the project that I enjoy, and it's somewhat meditative for me to digest this work in one sitting. In fact, despite the built-in structural limitations of the work, Nowak is more than able to pack a ton of moods and atmospheres into all of these miniature pieces, without ever becoming redundant or tedious.

The packaging of the CD is as impressive as the music. Nowak employs the talents of The Tag Artist, to design the multiple layered sheets of Vellum on which is printed a number of digitally composed line drawings. The artwork works together with the concept of the music to represent the digital dissection and presentation of data around which this work is constructed.

Overall, this is a strong work, and I hope to hear more from this Polish artist in the future. 7/10 - John Cramer



The Sound Projector: Whoa, what an exhausting listen! I have no idea what a guitar granulizer may be, but rest assured it's not the sort of domestic device you can purchase and plug in like a new blender or toaster. The term may describe Nowak's process, rather than an actual black box like an FX pedal. Plus there's evidence of a very extreme and restless cut-up methodology on this disc, which slams out 50 short tracks in 53 minutes in a totally relentless manner. You won't have time to pause for breath before the next hyper-processed episode comes roaring out like a souped-up electric eel with wings dipped in pancake batter... it's a bewildering, kaleidoscopic and fascinating listen. Each short opus is a very strong and convincing example of guitar-playing in itself, yet the sounds are also fed through multiple processing devices, resulting in a dazzling display of styles, modes, and sonic delights - from heavy metal noise to the extended-note Robert Fripp attack, to the mixed harmonies of Fred Frith, and more besides. Filters, delays, you name it... the cumulative effect of hearing these wildly varying textures of sound all smashed together is quite dizzying. Sometimes, you hear a musical idea or statement that's so intriguing you wish it were explored for a little longer; but this is not allowed, according to the rules Nowak has set himself. If you play the guitar, you'll find enough ideas here to sustain a ten-LP career. And if you are actually a guitar, and you agreed to submit to this process, there would never be a dull moment in your life again. But is there really any need for Nowak to compress his work to this degree? I suppose it's all part of the granulization process. After all you can't make a bag of granulated sugar without smashing up 200 sugar cubes, preferably while wearing a kitchen gauntlet made of iron. This said, there is no real smashing in this music; it's not a deconstruction of the guitar, but probably the opposite. Nowak is rebuilding the sound of the guitar, digitally, on his own terms. Artur Nowak is the founder of this new Polish independent record label; be sure to look in this issue for another release, the great record by power-noise genius Robert Piotrowicz.

Ed Pinsent 25/07/2006

Mimaroglu Music Sales Fun disc of short guitar-computer experiments. Fun for the whole family; specifically the connoiseur of dsp-string-bend grankle suffering from sas...

Ultramaryna [...]A record worth knowing, to see what today's electronic music achieved. A unique record, which incorporates big load of creativity and total coldness. It demonstrates, that electric guitar and computer together can be a solid vehice which allows the artist to find his individual path through the misterious ways of contemporary music. - Akord