Resina is the alias of Karolina Rec, a cellist / composer based in Warsaw her enchanting ambient/drone/post classical album came out recently on the pioneering label 130701 records. We have an exclusive mixtape entitled “Voices and Rituals” featuring an eclectic collection of sounds informed by her classical and ambient influences.
Resina signed to 130701 having sent in this album as a hugely impressive demo late last year. A very accomplished performer with a background in Polish underground music, this eponymous album is her solo debut and sees a rich, atmospheric re-imagining of a Polish music rooted in a feeling for indigenous nature / landscape and realised via an intuitive, experimental approach to playing.
Born 1982, Karolina graduated from Music Academy in Gdansk, and was active in Poland’s independent music scene since the late ’00s, co-founding and collaborating with some of Poland’s most influential alternative bands. She featured on many albums and soundtracks (including the Oscar-nominated ‘Rabbit a la Berlin’), and wrote music for numerous theatre productions.
Karolina first began to conceive making the album following a move from the quiet, coastal city of Gdynia to the bustling capital of Warsaw in 2012. “For the first time in my life I felt strongly connected to one place and to nature and then I had to move again.” Playing solo for the first time and finding new purpose through a musical exploration of this left-behind landscape, her playing appears to mimic or suggest certain natural processes / locations / elements –the flocking of birds; the movement of water, clouds, light, wind; the gradual stirring of life in the forest. Track titles reiterate these themes as does the very name ‘Resina’: the Latin form of resin, “the blood of the tree”. The cello’s sound itself depends in part upon the quality of the wood. “It’s a simply, primary association,” she notes, it refers to the wooden nature of this instrument and it’s natural possibilities which I wanted to follow.” Karolina talks about the ambivalence in our experience of nature: a simultaneous feeling of beauty and anxiety (at nature’s power and unpredictability). Without an awareness of the specifics, it’s easy to lose yourself in imagining landscapes, to bring your own memories to the album. “I try to take people to some places – but where particularly depends on them, their needs and experiences.”
‘Resina’ is a result of experiments with cello and simple electronic tools – sometimes verging close to the form of song; sometimes based more on powerful, intuitive impressions, but always marked by the desire to explore non-obvious characteristics of the instrument. “From a technical point of view, I wanted to keep the feeling of the creative process each time I played the piece”, she explains. “The looper was a perfect tool for that. I made some sketches based on unchangeable points and was improvising a lot around them, trying to watch where they would lead me. It’s a very intuitive way of working – I always try to feel first, after that I can try and analyse why something does or doesn’t work for me.”
The album was rooted in the clear compositional idea of crossing beyond comfort zones, breaking free from academic instruction and challenging herself to find other ways of expression in the instrument. “When I left all thinking about classical playing then I finally felt free and really close to the instrument’s fuller possibilities and it’s wooden, organic nature.”
Like Ian William Craig’s recent offering on 130701, Resina expands the scope of the label to spaces beyond the congested post-classical sweet spot. “I’ve never thought about my music as post-classical” she agrees, “My musical background was strongly influenced by certain Polish modern composers” (for two years she played in a Polish Chamber Choir, learning the choral repertoire of Krzysztof Penderecki, a lot of Górecki and Lutosławski). She also cites experimental rock bands, electronic music and “a lack of true Polish folk music (which was killed and replaced by a soothed folklore promoted by the Soviet regime after World War II). “I’ve tried to build my own musical identity on a premonition how music from this piece of the world could sound – but not by using folk music literally.”
Resina will hopefully be embarking on her debut UK / European tour in support of the album.