Friday, July 6, 2018

Naphta - Naphta and The Shamans (ASTIGMATIC RECORDS 2018)

After a well received debut album, ‘7th Expedition’ (Transatlantyk), numerous vinyl EP’s including Studio Barnhus, OMENA, Father And Son Records and Tapes, and several live acts, which have taken him to South Korea and Japan; Musician, DJ and Producer Naphta, a graduate of RBMA in 2011, returns with a new LP, “Naphta & The Shamans”. 

Naphta’s use of creative sampling is his foundation. Whilst recording his first LP, Naphta was gifted with samples sent by musicians from around the world. However, with the new album the creative process changed. The artist stepped away from sampling and turned to instruments, an electric and bass guitar, percussion, keys and drum machines. Despite his departure from sampling, influences from African, Jazz and Electronic music can still be heard, but these are secondary to the prominent presence of Psychedelic Rock. ‘Sending tracks around the Globe is interesting and leads to cool effects but this time I wanted to place emphasis on my interpersonal interactions with the musicians I collaborated with.’ - Naphta says. 

The result of this new approach is an exciting 10 track LP, where Purple Dubstep is mixed with Jazz, Psychedelic Rock is blended with UK Funky and Shamanic Dub is fused with Ambient. The LPs story is bound together by the first and last tracks, ‘Dim Daybreak’ and ‘Pale Dusk’ both featuring the vocals of Jaq Merner, lead vocalist of Kroki. 

‘I’m escaping from making music with the use of vocals, specifically lyrics, which can change at any time. However, in this case, Jaq sang abstract phrases, which helped to create and emphasise a sense of escapism, the key theme of the album.’  Naphta says 

A variety of genres are drawn upon to create the story of this album. ‘Explorer’s Judgement’ takes influence from Disco, Dubstep shapes ‘Stalking Knights’, Indie Rock is channelled in ‘Frozen Paths’ and Dub is featured in ‘Firelink Strine’. Here, Naphta cherry picks the elements from each genre which best fit his vision. ‘Recreating the past or paying homages isn't my main priority. Throughout my life, I have found that I've been accompanied by a variety of different music, and for this reason I strive to show diversity in my compositions.’ Naphta says. 

‘Naphta & Shamans’ is a thrilling album with an exciting, yet unexpected style, shape-shifting in sound. You may hear Shamanic percussion or the rhythmic sounds of the drum machines, but nevertheless you can still hear it's the same artist who recorded ‘7th Expedition’. ‘In contrast to my debut album, I didn't create a narrative to accompany the music. I decided to allow the music to tell the story through sound, and that's why the order of the tracks is so important. I want the listener to be able to follow a story, identify a main character and discover their fate. In some sense I have taken influence from the narration technique of Hidetaki Miyazaki, creator of the game series ‘Dark Souls’, which had a massive impact on me. The album is constructed with cyclic listening, everyone can discover something different and change the narrative - Naphta says. 

This album is the result of a collective effort. The ample list of contributors credited on the album reflect the many jam sessions held during its creation. Marcin Mrówka (Bluszcz) assisted with the development of compositions and production. Electric guitarist, Vojto Monteur and base guitarist ,Paweł Stachowiak both from EABS can be heard on some of the tracks. Also, Bartosz Kruczyński (Ptaki, Earth Trax) makes a guest appearance, just to name a few. The cover by Zbiok Czajkowski reflects an ambitious narrative. ‘I wanted something that would connect with psychedelia and also give a nod to Kitsch. Something along the lines of an Iron Maiden cover, specifically ‘World of Warhammer 40K, fantasy’. A cover which could suggest the story of the album, but not necessarily.’

. Dim Daybreak 04:57
2. Endurance 06:06
3. Thom's Beach 03:50
4. Jungle of Doom 04:05
5. Crystal Lizard 03:26
6. Frozen Paths 04:28
7. Stalking Knights 03:46
8. Firelink Shrine 03:10
9. Explorer's Judgment 04:53
10. Pale Dusk 03:28

Written, produced and mixed by Pawel ‘Naphta’ Klimczak (5 co-written by Marcin Mrówka) 

Naphta - guitar, bass guitar, drum programming, synths, percussion 

The Shamans: 
Jaq Merner - vocals (1, 10) 
Michał Szczepaniec - percussion, keys (1, 8) 
Marcin Mrówka - add. production (1, 2, 3), guitar (5) 
Kasia Konachowicz - percussion (2) 
Vojto Monteur - guitars (1) 
Paweł Stachowiak - bass guitar (7) 
Bartosz Kruczyński - add. production (8), synth (10) 
Grzegorz Staniek - drums (9) 
Kuba Kutera - guitar (9) 
Jan Stulin - synths (9)