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Skalpel Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: £7.85 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
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Product details

  • Audio CD (19 April 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ninja Tune
  • ASIN: B0001FFL30
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,102 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. High
2. Not Too Bad
3. 1958
4. Together
5. So Far
6. Break In
7. Quiz
8. Asphodel
9. Theme From ‘Behind The Curtain’
10. Sculpture
11. 1958 (video)
12. Break In (video)
13. Sculpture (video)

Product Description

Product Description

Polish duo Marcin Cichy and Igor Pudlo have been making warm, crisp and complex beat-based music for a while now. It’s just that they’ve been making it in Poland. There, they are among the best-known and most respected DJs and producers about, with even a Paszporty Polityki nomination to their name (the most prestigious culture award in the country). Beyond, they are virtually unknown.

Until now, that is, and the release of their debut album by Ninja Tune. The pair came to Ninja’s attention via DJ Vadim who had worked with them on one of his Eastern European tours. But, as the saying goes, it ain’t where ya from… and Skalpel are definitely at some tomorrow places.

Drawing on Poland’s rich jazz heritage (much of it semi-illegal samizdat recordings made when the Communists thought that jazz could bring down the state), Cichy and Pudlo have an unrivalled source of samples to tap and they tap it with consummate aplomb. They combine a kind of broad brush romanticism with the most carefully dissected breaks for a sound which comes on like an East European "In A Silent Way" with heavier drumming. The truth is that they just get it right, again and again and again, making music which is by turns emotive, funny and filmic but always funky.

The opening "High" combines sharp conga playing with spectral warbling and flute stabs, "Not Too Bad" is held together by a killer double bass riff, single "1958" is kitsch dancefloor business, "Break In" lifts you up out of your seat and has you hanging above the couch, "Quiz" is garage-band jazz, "Behind The Curtain" is sublime road movie music.

But scratch a little deeper and the Polish scene of the 60s and 70s is more than just another crate to dig and also serves as their main inspiration. "We are much more influenced by this music than the present day scene," explains Cichy. Pudlo points to the richness of a scene which included Michael Urbaniak (the only violinist to play with Miles Davis, like, ever) and Krzysztof Komeda (who composed the music for Polanski’s "Rosemary’s Baby). Which perhaps explains why Skalpel’s music, despite their name, never feels clinical. This is about keeping something living – not a post-mortem.

Product Description


Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cinematic Orchestravaganza 29 April 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
When the funky opening break quickly gave way to some Cinematic Orchestrachords, I thought that all the album would have to offer would be more ofthe same. However, listening further, I was pleased to discover that thiswasn't the case. While several of the tracks sound rather familiar,Skalpel have managed to introduce some interesting new textures andrhythms, and some tracks take the style in interesting new directions.
The band's instumentalists are all accomplished (the double bass playerwas a particular favourite, reminding me of Red Snapper's tightness) andblend well with jazzy elements, atmospheric samples and electronics. Mosttunes manage to explore a distinct mood, though all evoke rain-soakedmonochrome visuals.
The name Skalpel tells you much that you need to know: even when dippingits toe into funkier breaks and licks, the sound retains a cold, sharpedge. Clean, spacious production marries well with and their strongfilm-noir influence; this is beat-led music to watch the world in blackand white by.
In summary, they're along the lines of the Cinematic Orchestra, but dooffer some starkly cool new monochrome ideas.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful beats, moods and textures 6 Oct 2004
Format:Audio CD
On the same label as The Cinematic Orchestra, Skalpel are, well, better! Comparisons may be spurious, but both artists share a sonic similarity: superb arrangements, exquisite samples and subtle atmospheres. Skalpel hail from Poland and the rich and hidden history of Polish Jazz clearly informs the sound. I would hate to refer to this as a down-tempo "chill-out" album as these phrases have become over-used to the point of being useless and may decribe a style of music that is markedly different from this. This is NOT aural wall-paper (not that I have a problem with good quality wall-paper mind), but has its own unique signature. If would want a break from the usual downtempo fare, you could do much worse than give this beautiful album of haunting, half-heard melodies and filmic textures a listen. Well done Ninja Tune..... Again.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Skalpel Precision 13 Jun 2005
Format:Audio CD
Listening to this record is like getting covered in musical dust and spending the night in some wonderfully smokey Polish bier cellar.
This is stylish and effortlessly orchestrated and you would be forgiven for thinking that the boys behind it probably had a lot more in them, but were just 'too damn cool' to put the heat on anymore than they did. This is easily the most under-rated nu-jazz album of today and it stands modestly, but triumphantly next to its piers. The tracks are varied, but retain an organised consistency that permeates throughout the bands skill to remain tight yet innovative.
The standout track is 'Sculpture', which gently unravels into a tinkly stoned-out, sunny day. Perfect for summer mornings when the windows are open and the coffee pot is on. But also very special for those quiet, reflective smoked-out evenings when the special whiskey has been cracked open. I only hope I can hold out until these guys tour or make another album. I wait, I hope and I pray.
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