Paweł Bartnik aka DJ Sajko is the man responsible for the last touches of most albums from the Astigmatic Records catalog (Jaubi, EABS, Surly, Naphta), and part of kIRk, a band which cannot be pigeonholed easily. Michał Kołowacik has previously recorded as Echo Deal and collaborated with such individuals as Grime legend Flowdan or Pablopavo, a storyteller hailing from Warsaw. Paweł comes from Płock while Michał comes from Kutno – and this happens to be of fundamental significance.
The story of Sarmacja’s debut release release dates back to 2016 when “Tutejsi” was supposed to be released by Father And Son Records And Tapes. By a twist of fate, the physical disc was not released yet. Over the period of two years the album has matured and the concept has ripened, whereas the graphic design has been built from scratch.
Sarmacja is a rural type of band; they tell stories of the land that has shaped them and which dictates their pulse – regardless of whether they want it or not. “Tutejsi” (“The locals”) recounts of something universal experienced by many on a daily basis. The originality of this story lies in the language used. Bass, reverberation, repetition – it turns out that dub forms are surprisingly well suited for capturing the spirit of rural wilderness, small-town lethargy and the vibe of the sun graciously rising over Poland every day. The album enables listeners to sense the impact which great history and iron politics had on the land, leaving it scarred and marked for life. However, it is a secondary circumstance for Sarmacja as it is the consistency of the place and this man that is crucial. What is important is what we often ignore – the fact that the fertile soil can still provide for its people. They attend churches, they go to supermarkets. They tend to love what their mothers did and duplicate the mistakes of their fathers.
The world of “Tutejsi” is extensive enough to house industrial factories, villages, fields and forests. They are joined by a metaphysical link. The song titles can be read as opening paragraphs of five different stories. The deeper the listener gets into the album, the more the perception of “Tutejsi” depends on their sensitivity, views, faith, life experiences or even where they are what they’re doing. The band’s vision of the province may surely impress, yet, at the same time, it leaves you with the feeling that there’s something in the air. It’s almost a palpable sound. The weight that comes out of the speaker lingers on the skin and then pulls the neck to the ground.
It’s the dub sound that dominates the album – and it’s the unorthodox and proprietary type of dub. Sarmacja also draws from other stylistics – even techno or trip-hop. The album’s epilogue is the cover of Kult’s “Poland”. The original lyrics by Kazik had a critical overtone; in Sarmacja’s version, there are no words at all. Instead, the duo created an intense form ending with a 3-minute deconstruction, which may stand for the victory of chaos or, on the contrary, the birth of something new.
Marta Tomiak is responsible for the graphic design. The album preorder was launched on September 20 in Bandcamp, Sounds Of The Universe, AsfaltShop, Side One and Yak Records record stores, while the whole album will appear on both vinyl and streaming services on October 19.