Błoto ‘Kwiatostan’ LP (Astigmatic) 4/5

Arriving just three months after the successful release (three sold-out vinyl pressings so far!) of the debut album, ’Erozje’ is the follow-up ‘Kwiatostan’. With limited options for gigs and promotional work to support the first album, Polish quartet Błoto holed up for a few days in the newly opened Jassmine club in Warsaw putting together the tracks for this new platter. ’Erozje’ is a fusion of jazz and hip-hop beats. The new album has slightly expanded on this template to incorporate dance and other breakbeat grooves. Kwiatostan translates in English to Inflorescence and the theme of wild plants continues in the naming of the tracks.

“Rumianek” is a deceptively gentle introduction to the set. It has an early 90s ambient feel with fluffy synths, looping sax phrases and minimal drums while the simple arpeggiated bass guitar morphs into liquid synthesised pulses. The loping Wu-Tang beats on “Rzepień” give way to the crisp and tight rhythm driving the simple repetitive sax lines and angular keys.

Although there’s light and shade on this album, I feel Błoto are most effective and exciting when they are abstractly riffing over relentless bludgeoning rhythms. Here on “Mak”, they combine insistent pounding percussion and intense synth which is layered with disorientating spacey often sparse horns. A standout track, “Oset” is a scorched-earth landscape of sinuous horn shards and off-kilter drums held together by a gnarly synthy bass hook.

The hard edges are softened slightly on the propulsive but danceable “Mlecz”. “Kaczeńce” recalls early drum and bass with breakbeat style drums, wub-wub bass and delay affected distorted sax. “Jaśmin” is a surprising but also welcome slab of lush, sunshine jazz-funk stacked with swidgy synth licks. This sharply contrasts with the stark keys and edgy bass on “Chabry”. “Hortensja” is straight forward old-school hip hop with a rap (in English) by guest vocalist Anthony Mills aka Toni Sauna. “Don’t bring me no cut flowers….. just let them stay in the bed”. The smooth, pleasing but slightly uneventful “Niezapominajka” is the neat closer.

Translated to English, the title of the debut album is erosion and more specifically discusses erosion due to human activity. It drips of despair and righteous anger. For the second album, Kwiatostan, wildflowers and “weeds” spread and flourish over the cursed earth. The anger is still here but maybe while there’s life, there’s hope.

Kevin Ward

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Błoto ‘Erozje’ LP/CD (Astigmatic) 4/5