Boomkat Product Review:
Microtonal zither twangs, off-world vocals and k-hole sonic wonders characterise Martyna Basta's brilliant second album, a crepuscular muddle of improvisations and granular invocations.
Martyna Basta's 'Making Eye Contact With Solitude' took us by surprise, demolishing the borders between electro-acoustic experimentation, wyrd folk and ambient music by infusing scholarly expertise with raw, unbounded passion. Its followup pushes even deeper into the unknown, crumpling real-world gestures into a poetic mode of expression that's as beautiful as the best ASMR recordings and as mystical as a lost scroll brimming with forbidden wisdom. A classical guitarist by trade, Basta uses that framework to paint fine details outside the lines; when the guitar does finally show up it's neither showy nor overly technical, just another color in a wide sonic spectrum. Her music comes from a place of informed experimentation, she makes deliberate motions that spike her improvisations and processes with a rare sense of purpose and manages to craft filigree soundscapes that never drift into the background.
'Slowly Forgetting, Barely Remembering' is such a complete expression that it's hard to separate tracks from one another. Basta uses her small set of instruments and electronic tools to levitate between the real world and the synthetic, marking out a space that's disarmingly phantasmagorical. 'Podszepnik I' is an early high point, and although the vocals nudge against Cuicina Povera's dislocated folk experiments, Basta's treatment is more contorted and future facing. Her use of tonality is particularly noticeable: both the zither and synth parts are tuned xenharmonically and fluctuate with divine ambiguity. Combined with rusted digital rattles and abrasive environmental textures, the sounds take on an ancient quality. The short title track makes Basta's methodology a little clearer, with electric guitar strums that ground her ASMR abstractions in slowcore dejection - like a Movietone intro looped alongside one of crys cole's improvisations.
claire rousay makes an appearance on 'It Could Be As It Was Forever', putting her mark on Basta's purpose-built landscapes by adding AutoTune-mangled vocals. It's an unexpected clash that adds contemporary depth to Basta's freewheeling, makeshift orchestra - a ubiquitous pop hallmark recast as a fluctuating counterpart to dense, chiming soundscapes. It leads into 'Speechless Lately', a track that eschews its predecessors' ethereal mood in favor of further ASMR crunches and hollow percussion that feels more rhythmic than it actually is. Like a gamelan orchestra, it zeroes in on the intense tonal weirdness of sound, highlighting Basta's attention to detail and confidence with advanced scaling. Elsewhere, 'Back and Forth' splices anxious vocal moans with frozen harpsichord plucks that transport the unmistakable Renaissance staple into blurry sci-fi space, eventually joined by Basta's dreamy, Slowdive-esque guitar.