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Surly – Trip To Warsaw EP (english version)

Warsaw through the eyes of a New Zealander, described by jazz, hip hop and electronics.

May 29 was the release date of the album of Surly – a DJ and a producer, titled “Trip to Warsaw.” The artist originally comes from Auckland, NZ, and is a member of the California-based Juke Bounce Werk collective. The EP deserves your attention not only for its music values (which are plenty, although it’s a short album), but also the fact that it was released on Polish Juke.

“Trip to Warsaw” contains of five tracks: “Thirteen,” “4Q 510-511,” “Scare Em To Death,” “Wait Til The Stick Comes” and – in my opinion, the most beautiful “Train To Lodz.” Elements of hip hop and electronics blend freely throughout the album, with melodic jazz as the fundament. At times experimental, but always enjoyable to listen to.

This is the case with the opening “Thirteen.” Although a little distant, the track has a calming effect. The leading piano invites some deeper thoughts. I play this track in my mind, visualising myself on a September afternoon, in the middle of the week, in that one Warsaw legendary coffee shop “Bar kawowy”. Shortly after opening, when the staff is barely noticeable behind the bar, as few visitors slowly sip their coffee. Four minutes during which you can think of something fundamental, in fact not thinking about anything specific in particular. It won’t be played again, but makes you slow down and think about what’s coming next.


With “4Q 510-511” Surly delivers jazz in a more classic form with some instrumental brass jumps and turnarounds, and a fine percussion line. After that, it’s hip hop’s turn – in “Scare Em To Death,” frenetic drums outweigh the production, while “Wait Til The Stick Comes” has an electronic “touch.” Both tracks explore twisted, juicy rap.


And finally, we’re getting on the train. “Train to Lodz” is an acoustic masterpiece with the highlighted strings and drums. It opens with a straight-line string tone, and other parts gradually join. It has an electronic, chill feel to it, that seems almost perceptible.


The track’s “bitterness” is much like the reality between the two cities – Warsaw and Lodz. I don’t actually mean the journey itself (although it’s quite an interesting experience). Warsaw, though full of hopes, is unstable and changeable. Lodz – authentic, doesn’t care about visitors’ opinions or their acceptance. Both cities are tough in their own way. I needed some time until I could finally call each of them “mine,” but eventually they are. Even if I’m just accustomed to call them that, then, to paraphrase Proust – without the custom we wouldn’t be able to make any place habitable. Surly has put together the sounds on “Train To Lodz” so carefully that the real character of both of these cities is finally well “audible” for me. I deeply recommend listening to “Trip to Warsaw.” It is a solid and interesting material.

2017 | Polish Juke

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