Polinski: Labyrinths

Two releases came out of the 65Daysofstatic camp this week. The first was the American deluxe release of the group’s fourth album, We Were Exploding Anyway. The second was Polinski’s Labyrinths. Polinski is the solo project of the group’s Paul Wolinski. His debut album, Labyrinths was also released this week.

Because the albums were released on the same day in the US, it is hard not to compare the two. Both are largely instrumental electronica albums but that is where the comparisons end. 65Daysofstatic experiment with drum and bass, house, and techno and try to wrap it in a single package. Labyriths feels like a much more singular effort. The opening track “1985-Quest” sets the mood perfectly. It starts with a rumbly synth bass line which is quickly joined by shimmering synth overlay but that pathos is quickly destroyed by nintendo-style synths that sounds straight out of Castlevania. The synths blare out a declarative, anthematic riff that are the basis for the entire song and then its on. Cheesy Casio drums are added in the background to round out the retro feel.

That retro feel is pervasive throughout the first half of the album. “Stitches” features the closest thing to vocals on the album with a robotic voice singing barely comprehensible words. It feels like Johnny Five has come alive to sing one last chorus.

Then sometime around the nearly eight minute, “Still Looking” the album changes decades. Suddenly, jungle is back in and Polinski begins playing with superfast drums and heavy synth lines. While the jungle inspired half of the album delivers some jams, the tracks suffer from being just a little too long. The epic 11+ minute “Kressyda” feels a hell of a lot longer with its many movements yet it fails to produce something that stands out in my mind after listening to it. Unfortunately that is the feeling during most of the latter part of Labyrinths.

Not to say that Labyrinths is a bad record. At only 7 songs in length, the fact that three of them are only so-so means that over half of them were pretty good. Unfortunately none match the power or memorability of the epic opening track.

Rating: 6.0/10

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