Boomkat Product Review:
Polish classical guitarist Martyna Basta enters the sublime on her debut album, using ASMR field recordings, voices, and zither, harpsichord and violin sounds to approach a formation that reminds us of Fonal, crys cole, Colleen - even Robert Ashley. Startling, magical music.
There's a disarming level of craft to Martyna Basta's music. The Kraków-based artist inhabits a zone that straddles the dividing lines between ambient, outsider folk and electro-acoustic music, but rises above many of her peers by constructing material with unparalleled skill. "Making Eye Contact With Solitude" is described as a diaristic set of confessional improvisations, but unlike so many records that glance our listening pile each week, this one sounds completely pointed, unfussy, trimmed and stylistically anchored. Basta is able to build an atmosphere using her dizzying processed field recordings, voice and instrumentation, and maintain it so well that you'll want to live inside of it long after the record has ended.
It's music that's hard to place, despite its aesthetic familiarity. The alien environmental recordings aren't a million miles from crys cole's object-led improvisations, but Basta doesn't lean fully into electro-acoustic storytelling; her delicate instrumental recordings recall Colleen's early gossamer loops, with ghosted vocals that hit a note that's somewhere between Cucina Povera and Robert Ashley - abstract, dreamlike, and faintly operatic. Basta manages to construct a sonic fortress of solitude, all crystal and ice, and we get to exist within it for a few tantalizing moments. She doesn't need to wow us with technique or DSP fireworks - her musical language is as succinct and economic as it is bold, rich and decorative.
Just peep the smudgy atmospheres on 'Unknown Reel Tape', as Basta extends her voice into Lynchian acrobatics over strings and evocative, glassy bell rattles. Or dive headfirst into the album's most generous track 'Walking Around in Circles', a cautiously slow-moving dream that shifts from wavering vocal coos into clattering soundscapes. We're a bit ruined by this one - and we've got a feeling that her best is yet to come.