Augustyn Bloch – Unusual Sounds vol. 2

Augustyn Bloch – Unusual Sounds vol. 2 LP front cover
Augustyn Bloch – Unusual Sounds vol. 2 LP back cover
Augustyn Bloch – Unusual Sounds vol. 2 LP side A

Augustyn BlochThe son of a parish church organist, Polish contemporary music composer Augustyn Bloch (1929-2006) received his musical education in Warsaw, where he studied organ and composition (info from good bio here). He started his career in the 1950s as a concert organist and composer, broadly in the same family as Penderecki and Szymanowski. He was well recognized by the Polish state during his lifetime, holding official positions at the Polish Radio Theater (1954–77), the Composers’ Union (1977–79, 1983–87) and the legendary Warsaw Autumn Festival. Bloch also received a number of prizes both at home and abroad, including the Polish Ministry of Culture Prize in 1971, as well as prizes in Vercelli, Monaco, Paris and Brighton. He composed for all kinds of formations, from solo piano or organ to orchestral, from opera to music inspired by Catholicism. Bloch was married to soprano singer Halina Lukomska, born 1929, who premiered several of his vocal works.

♫ Subtitled Reflections, the first volume of Augustyn Bloch’s Unusual Sounds series was published in 1980 by German library music company Sonoton. Subtitled The Brain, the second volume, published 1982, collects short sound experiments in the field of contemporary music and musique concrète. Traditional acoustic instruments like piano, flute, trumpet and percussion, are mingled into an unsettling sonic brewage thanks to primitive electronic devices and radical sound treatments. Bloch favors inside the piano playing and percussion sounds from the piano’s structure, while flute parts are usually graced with generous doses of reverb. Several tracks use heavily slowed down or distorted metronome sounds, in a kind of Pierre Schaeffer abstract études from the 1950s – the same process is applied to shrilling cat meows on track #15. Elsewhere, seriously paranoid synthesizer interjections reinstate the menacing atmosphere pervading in the track titles, while some piano parts recall Krzysztof Komeda’s Rosemary’s Baby soundtrack. A fantastic LP, by any standard.

24 tracks
Total time 40:43

LP released by Sonoton, München, Germany, 1982


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10 Responses to “Augustyn Bloch – Unusual Sounds vol. 2”

  1. 1 rainier September 26, 2011 at 8:03 am

    still a great disk discovered by expert hands

  2. 2 continuo September 26, 2011 at 8:09 am

    I’m flattered, my friend. Thank you. Nice to see you there, sometimes.

  3. 3 music searcher September 26, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Unusual indeed… And really striking. Thanks!
    Any chance for something else from this library?

  4. 4 continuo September 26, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Not in the near future, I’m afraid. Thanks for dropping by.

  5. 5 music searcher September 26, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    Thank you any way!
    Still waiting… :)

  6. 6 Reimer September 27, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    You are a bloody marvel, Continuo – thanks for the ongoing work.

  7. 7 continuo September 28, 2011 at 7:36 am

    You’re welcome.

  8. 8 Jim October 7, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Fascinating disc, Continuo. What really made my neck hurt was having this turn up in my feed the same week … quite a range this fellow had.

  9. 9 continuo October 7, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    Not sure Polskie Nagrania would publish anything as weird as the music on Unusual Sounds vol.2, though. Bloch seems a varied composer, indeed, and I’d love to hear some of his opera-ballets like Bardzo śpiąca królewna, after Charles Perrault. Thanks for your comment.

  10. 10 Paulo November 4, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    can you repost both Bloch unusual sounds sonoton
    italian cdr army

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