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Lonker See
One Eye Sees Red Julian Marszalek , April 19th, 2018 07:18

Epic and elongated psychedelic joys on Lonker See’s second album

This Polish quartet are to be congratulated not only for pursuing their mission in further opening the mind’s eyes and ears via sonic exploration, but also for making significant strides forward from 2016’s Split Image. Eschewing the space blues and slide guitar that characterised much of their previous work, Lonker See have brought to the fore the jazz chops of drummer Michał Gos and saxophonist Tomasz Gadecki, while Bartosz ‘Boro’ Borowski’s guitar has become an instrument of layered texture that paints sheets of sound over Joanna ‘Asia’ Kucharska solid bass-playing.

But what makes One Eye Sees Red so compelling is the band’s ability to tell an aural story. This album is the musical equivalent of the fable of the boiling frog. As demonstrated by the opening third of 18-minute opener, ‘Lillian Gish’, Lonker See are perfectly happy to reel the listener in with a dynamic that incrementally and effectively rises from delicate bursts of flute to circular drone and gentle percussion.

So subtle is the increase in action that Gos’s skittering drums, locked in with Kucharska’s bass and Borowski’s swoops, are a natural progression to what’s just occurred. Even Gadecki’s sax soothes when it creeps it with its central motif. When the instrumental finally explodes at the 10-minute mark, the effect is climactic.

Likewise, ‘Solaris Pt 3 & 4’, that follows, is an instrumental that unfurls without keeping an eye on the clock. Its two distinct halves stand as individual and as complementary pieces. The first section is once again a slow build, based around repeating twinkles, treated yet restrained guitars and sustained bass blasts dripping with hints of menace. This is music for the night bus, on a comedown as empty streets and winking city lights reveal a previously unknown perspective.

The second half shifts into a smoky groove that’s utterly beguiling. Gadecki’s multi-tracked saxophones mesh in a miasma of squawks and fabulously drawn out runs that are bolstered by Borowski’s wigged out excursions and the rhythmic interplay between Kucharska and Gos.

You might think it odd to give the title track just five minutes at the end of the album, but its intensity and eventual self-destruction provide a powerful full-stop. An immersive journey from start to finish, One Eye Sees Red demands and rewards your full attention.