I’m reminded of a fly bouncing against a window pane, buzzing as it charges and dances into the glass, perplexed by the forces that withhold it from the world outside. The quartet (Łukasz Kacperczyk and Wojtek Kurek of Paper Cuts, plus Krzysztof “Arszyn” Topolski and Tomasz Duda) seem to enjoy the frustration of dead ends as much as the opportunities of onward motion: the double-drum rhythms that keep tripping over themselves, the saxophone that gets stuck in a single trill and calls on percussion to shake it free. When the group find a nook with no clear exit (other than to back away awkwardly), they run at it, relishing the discomfort of inhibition and self-imposed paralysis. Like the fly, the band pour their energy resources into the act of futility, thrashing manically against a surface that refuses to give.
The two-drummer setup works fantastically well, with each kit stuffed into the far corners. During “12 to 16” they reach a point of improvisatory blow out, throwing cymbals and snares across the frame like drunken fighters, ignoring the timid calls for calm that leak from Duda’s saxophone. One notably subtle presence is Kacperczyk’s synthesiser, which relishes the vast space in the centre of the frame by occupying relatively little of it; his electronics emerge in little roof-leak droplets, nauseating low throbs and shrill spotlights of noise, snubbing the temptation to embark on those sorts of whooshing, slurping synthesiser solos that often arise during these sorts of fiery improvisatory exchanges. Such deft and minimal contributions leave Duda to seize the role of melodramatic protagonist, indulging in wild, flailing monologues of staccato paranoia and warbling self-doubt, swatting at the prods of drumstick harassment on either side and shrinking into blubbering high tones when everything else cuts back. It’s a pure and exquisite work of theatre.