Song-By-Song: The Phantom – ‘LP 1’

The Phantom aka Bartosz Kruczynski is a producer and DJ based in Warsaw. With an affinity for ethereal Dance music this sonic explorer fuses minimalist and film score influences with the aforementioned to deliver chugging, yet complex, House music. He is a shining beacon of light leading a wave of fresh new Polish producers who are quietly taking the electronic music community by storm.

His long awaited full-length debut ‘LP 1’ on Silverback Records is a meditation on Warsaw with references to its rivers and parks in the track titles. It’s also an extension of Kruczynski’s record collection­ with influences ranging from Tangerine Dream soundtracks, library music, reflective works of Arthur Russell, 80’s fusion or Deep House 12s – it’s a record that encapsulates his impression of music and the world around him.

Stream five of the tracks from the album below and read on for a Song-By-Song run through supplied by The Phantom himself…

Lazienki Park (Introduction)
Warsaw’s Lazienki Park, although far from Stendhal syndrome, always fills my mind with a very focused creative mood. Musically, I didn’t have any particular inspiration for this apart from a cluster of minimal or repetitive works I’m aware of (from obvious classics like Terry Riley to library records, Japanese new age, lesser known soundtracks etc.), I remember recording the track very quickly.

Bless Their Little Hearts
I started the track from creating the main piano loop (I tend to come up with chords or melodies first rather than beats), but it was only when I created the floating, one minute long intro drone I was fully satisfied. In a way the intro reminds me of Charlemagne Palestine’s ‘Piano Drone‘, although I learned about this particular piece only recently, around the time of seeing him at Kracow’s Unsound Festival (October 2013).

Sport (Part 1)
It was one of the first tracks finished on the album. There were numerous re-writes of it, I think I had my mind set on Arthur Russell’s ‘Let’s Go Swimming‘ back then, but I wanted to try to arrange it more like a pop song, with a chorus-verse structure. The piano line itself consists of about 4-5 layers. There’s also a car passing next to my window in there.

Love (Interlude)
Another cluster of influences, mainly fusion-soul arrangements (like Dexter Wansel or Freddie Hubbard) or easy-listening. Done on a smaller scale though.

Artefacts From The Vistula River
Probably my favourite track on the album. A lot of good memories of summer in Warsaw, walking along Vistula. After putting together the main loop, the rest came in very naturally. I recorded a lot of material (pads, solos) live and edited it afterwards.

Sport (Part 2)
There are some influences coming from 80’s pop-fusion like Paul Hardcastle in there, yet the track itself stands on its own. There’s also me on the vocoder and another free-float passage at end. Again lots of layers, like the clap built from 4-5 different sounds. I think it was the first track I started recording for the album, yet the last to be finished.

Gothic (Album Mix)
The original was played by the likes of Lunice or Brenmar. I wanted to strip down the track to its purity, making it less of a dj material. The arrangement is very sparse in this one. It’s pretty much a pop/r’n’b ballad now.

Better Times
I recorded it after working on numerous tracks like this for another project I’m involved in – ‘Ptaki’ with a friend of mine, Funkoff. Quite often we play a lot of 90-100 bpm tracks in the middle of the night, it resets the party nicely sometimes.

I actually keep more attention to all the ambient passages in the background. It was influenced by some deeper tracks (or rather the general mood of them) I’d play around 4 AM when all the pressure is gone and you’re not obliged to show off anymore, people stop staring at you and you can sense the bonds building.

Late Night Sex
It’s an obvious homage to Tangerine Dream paying homage to Steve Reich, allegedly after ‘Risky Business’ producer couldn’t get rights to ’18 Musicians’ for the movie. Tangerine Dream repeated the trick a couple of times, most notably in Miracle Mile’s ‘Running Out Of Time’. The repetitive works like that also appeared in ‘Desperately Seeking Susan‘ and ‘Body Double‘.

Water’s Edge
From the beginning I knew I wanted to include a more dreamy, ambient work on the album. The result is a gloomy coda, a contrast to the rest of ‘LP 1.’

‘LP 1’ is out on Silverback Recordings today, buy it here.

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