Album Review

Nicholas Szczepanik – Ante Algo Azul (self released, 2011)


Nicholas SzczepanikBlue (self released)

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I wrote about Ante Algo Azul back when I received the first in the series. Now that it’s come to a close, I thought it deserved a little retrospective. To recap, AAA was Szczepanik’s 12 piece subscription series in which each month, he would send a 3″ CD-R with a single 15-20 minute track of his gorgeous new minimalism, each with handmade individual packaging, and usually accompanied by an insert of something like a small photograph or a piece of prose. Each item is so beautiful & intricate, it could have its own photo shoot, so I opted for a group shot to keep things simple, and then direct you to this site where he documented the process with lots of photos.

The music contained in the 3.5 hours of AAA is a dream come true. It might be an easy mistake to write these off purely as exercises or experiments due to the format, but they’re so much more than that. These songs are as deep and fleshed out as his single track full length, Please Stop Loving Me. For such a minimal sound, Szczepanik really has an amazing range. There’s mournful Basinski textures, sci-fi tractor beams, static harmonies, Eliane Radigue homages, all wrapped in Szczepanik’s own meditative perspective.

I’d like to say something like “Nicholas Szczepanik is quickly becoming one of my favorite artists” but it’s too late. He’s already there, sitting at the top of my list. It’s not just the prolific part, (ok, it’s totally the prolific part) but it’s also that he’s crafting THEE BEST sounds to be coming out of music today. It’s honestly the most perfect blend of minimal & maximal, crystal clear smooth long form tones & textured emotional high volume drones. Literally, perfect. And this is me talking about him as an artist, not just Ante Algo Azul. But when you have someone like that who puts out a slice of brilliance every month for 12 months, and then has the gall to release in the same year what’s likely the year’s best drone full length? This dude is fucking unstoppable.

It’s a damn shame if you missed out on this series. It’s too late to buy in, but you can still stream (almost) all of the songs and even buy some of ‘em too. Who knows, maybe they’ll show up on his rarities box set in 50 years.

3 Responses to “Nicholas Szczepanik – Ante Algo Azul (self released, 2011)”

  1. Nicholas says:

    Thank you for the incredibly kind words, Justin.

    You can actually stream all of the pieces over at a bandcamp page I recently opened: http://nszcz.bandcamp.com/album/ante-algo-azul

    I had no more minutes available on my SoundCloud page, so I moved things over to Bandcamp.

    Maybe it’ll come out as a 6 x LP box set in the future. That would be pretty nice, no?

  2. Lumine says:

    That would be very nice, indeed, Nicholas. Since I never had a chance to buy the subscription series I would love for there to be a 6 x LP box set at some point.

  3. Mike says:

    This is amazing! Thank goodness someone is keeping thoughtful music packaging alive. (Not to mention great sounds.)

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