Kompakt, the Cologne-based label founded and headed by longtime electronic music gameplayers, Wolfgang Voigt, Michael Mayer, Jürgen Paape, and Reinhardt Voigt, reached a milestone this month. The enterprise which has expanded its ambit into distribution and artist management among other essential stanchions of the industry, celebrated its silver anniversary last March 1st. And while longevity and more importantly, consistent relevance to the ever changing currents of the scene, its genres and subgenres, bequest the twenty-five year old the go-ahead to do pretty much whatever it wants, a slew of strategic and carefully selected releases to mark this breakthrough, not only is able to solidify its bearing on the scene, but also holds the power to influence the trends to come. Among them, London-based DJ/Producer Ania Iwinska, on her Anii moniker, had big shoes to fill and a mighty sound to drum, but by looking no further than her roots and her journey of growing from, through and out of them, and narrating her voyage through a well-sown EP, she delivers.
The Polish born Londoner starts off her debut on Kompakt with 7:32 minute number, ‘Working the Roots’, which is essentially what she is doing to the ‘Korzenie’ – both EP title and Polish word for ‘Roots’, working it. In tune with her past work, a sound that has made its way into label boss Michael Mayer’s radar less than two years after her first release on Making You Dance in 2016, ‘Working the Roots’ builds up elegantly through a scintillating maneuver of sound and space, a modest fiddling of percussion and dainty piano notes evocative of the gentle tactility that stimulate most roots to breathe and breed life. A comminution of effulgence ensues via a technoesque deflection, through a well-executed dribbling of bass which complements rather than trounce the D major key note’s luster. Radiance need not gleam explicitly when its already worked into the roots, it sprouts to the stems into the leaves without a need for the naked eye and ear to see and hear it. The groove-inducing Ania Iwinska, signed on her given name, has been in the scene for a bit longer, propagating dancefloor friendly house and tech house beats since ‘Inside the Forest’ in 2013, but it is the distinctive transcendental, permeative artistry unmistakably patent in A1 of ‘Korzenie’, that lands the Point Blank Academy graduate a particularly snug place in today’s cutthroat scene.
‘Korzenie’ raises the EP’s temperature a few celsius with a lush, percussion-heavy intro, and a subtle re-incorporation of synthetic sounds, suturing the interstices and ambiguities between and betwixt Anii’s quixotic reveries and her deep, Polish, no pun intended, rooting. The vigorous, rich, instrument-driven substratum at the base of many progressive musical movements from past to date, traditional Polish music and its elements, add a mystical allure to the title track, and timbered with Anii’s adroit handling of bass and a touch of celestial undernotes, work into a robust dancefloor igniter. Through ‘Korzenie,’ Anii unravels a firm grasp on melancholy by complementing agonizing vocals with graceful handling of brusque bass, grating synths and a reserved flaccidity that pushes boundaries but somehow on her own beck and call, dexterously spins right back home.
Wrapping up our twenty-two minute expedition from the ground up is the fearlessly graceful, ‘Cyganka’, an insurgent that submits its soul to the drift of melody. Curiosity pushes the concluding track from the offshoot, matured and seasoned by some tense bubbling of exotic instrumentations right passed the minute and a half mark, before falling into a rapturous cosetting of a violin orchestration sampled from Grażyna Bacewicz’s 1949 masterpiece, Kaprys Polski (Polish Caprice). Exquisite in its vagrancy, ‘Cyganka’, the Polish ‘Gypsy’, embraces caper and whim, and so fluidly waltzes with and into our senses, ambitious but grounded, simultaneous with Anii’s musical approach and even to an extent, with her artistic prosopopoeia. An elegant and entrancing production, ‘Cyganka’ grazes into our furthest chimerical purviews but maintains a strong sense of solace from start to finish. This is Anii’s synecdoche, her sound is constantly evolving, she is consistently revolving, but this is nowhere near the end of her course.
It didn’t take Ania one shot to come to terms with her own artistic style as Anii, just as her journey of finding her way ‘home’ in the U.K. after leaving her motherland, but through ‘Korzenie’, she reveals that though she had traveled into distant shores, and her music into ethereal dimensions, she is still able to work her roots, because she never let them escape her. The ability to frolic, graze and play, tussle with life’s complexities while amassing coarseness and fluency in tenderness, has brought Anii to this point in her career, and that, deeply rooted in her music, is the soul of ‘Korzenie’, a compilation of three tracks that excavate and mesmerize, interweave and elate.
Anii’s EP ‘Korzenie’ was released March 9th, 2018 on Kompakt. (Marie)