It is fair to say that despite over 30 years as a composer and performer, Kayanis remains a chimerical enigma. Studiously difficult to pin down, a musical shape shifter and almost stubbornly reticent in giving up information outside the act of performance. His website must take the award as an object lesson in communicating absolutely nothing outside the grainy photograph of the man himself. So Mundane is the follow up to 2015's Transmundane although much of the writing or performance was probably contemporaneous to that release. Kayanis aka keyboard player Lubomir Jedrasik owns up to two other recordings, although he has been performing and recording for much longer. Not one to dwell on the past, his music is continually on the move.
In this edition he is joined by two vocalists, Patrycja Modlinska and Dawid Wojtkiewicz who perfectly complement each other, and guitarist Piotr Fanki Mrozicki. If Transmundane was characterised by subdued electronic instrumentals, Kayanis has moved again and here is a set of lighter, although still wistful pop songs. The collection starts resolutely downbeat, in a haze of wistful synth-pop. In this release it is clear that Kayanis' focus is on short form song writing and if the opening track Mundane is just a little too much that, Modlinska's fragile vocals soon draw the listener in to a more personal engagement with the music despite the robotic, scratching drum machine beats. While there are some tender moments in the opening segments, I have to admit that I did find myself a bit bored by most of it and wanting to move on, although with repeated listening I found myself becoming more at home. It is only really with the raucous March On Shiny Soldiers that a brasher tone is introduced and the tone is less introspective and the mood paradoxically lightens. Tide is also a fine ballad on which to finish and showcases excellent piano balancing the electro-beats with an injection of warmth, although the fade out at the end of the album is something of a disappointing sign off.
I can't say that I found it easy to engage with this album, although I enjoyed the performances and the post-modern feel of human voices and expression in a programmed world, but too many tracks didn't do enough for me. I salute Kayanis' integrity, artistry and his refusal to stand still for anyone. Fans of his previous releases may be intrigued as to where the path will lead them as the plot twists and turns, and this record is perhaps best seen in that light. But on its own I would find it difficult to persuade many to join the ride.
*** Andrew Cottrell
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