Hansen/Krakowiak attack and disseminate both the turntable and the drum. Their improvisations are built through layers of sound where the instrumentation interpolates becoming musical coitus. Hansen/Krakowiak constuct new waves of contemporary sound, influenced by experimental and electroacoustic practices. This duo walk roads yet travelled. Creating sound art for our times.
What the critics are saying:
"Does Canadian politeness reside even in the worlds of sound art? Relay would seem to indicate so. Following last year’s collaborative release with saxophonist John Butcher, the Toronto duo of Hansen and Krakowiak offer up four long tracks of turntables, amplified percussion, mini-disc and miscellaneous electronics. Immediately evident is the impression of an outer space surrounding the generated noises. The sounds are initially familiar enough to mistake for room ambience, eventually they are overtaken by more obviously manipulated segments of quiet feedback and looped metal tapping. The pieces undulate, at times gaining more kinetic energy and volume, then dropping back into a trough of near-silence. The duo play well together, not excessively fussy about overcrowding the sound space, but mindful of maintaining an engaging rate of dynamic change. By employing a more physical relationship with their instruments, they also manage to charge their quiet (polite) works with an energy that similar laptop improvisation often lacks.."
—Eric Hill, Exclaim
"Both electronic and acoustic instruments get a workout here as steady thunder from a kettle or upright bass drum first complement intonations that could be made by a fan belt slipping off a motor, then are amplified through a piano's internal speaking length. Minidisks and live sampling provide the subsequent rumble and buzz, as if overloaded circuits have been surmounted by unidentified items rotating on a turntable."
—Ken Waxman, JazzWeekly.com
"This Toronto-based duo has been active for a few years and has regularly performed with other improvisers (namely Kaffe Matthews, Gert-Jan Prins, and John Butcher, the CD Equation documenting their session with the latter). But Relay is the first release presenting the duo in itself. Mike Hansen and Tomasz Krakowiak share a highly quiet, textural, and silence-based approach to free improvisation, at the frontier of sound art. Hansen's record players often turn empty, the sound focusing on vibrations, motor hum, and minute alterations of the needle. Krakowiak uses an "amplified drum table," an amplified resonator (drum head) on which he places various objects, following a technique akin to Günter Müller's and Lê Quan Ninh's. Electronics and mini-disc sampling are also involved, which makes drawing a line between the percussionist's and the turntablist's respective contributions even more difficult than it already is. The music on Relay is sparse and often cold to the ear, like touching an abstract sculpture made of stainless steel. There is a human element, found everywhere in the subtle interaction between players, in the disembodied sounds occasionally sourced from records, in the sense of humor surfacing at times (the bullfrog dialogs in the third of these four untitled tracks). But listening to this album, one isn't as much drawn to the human factor as to the intriguing sounds and the highly esthetic, purified relations they establish with each other. Recommended to people interested in microsonic improvisation and in losing themselves in a recording they won't understand."
—Francois Couture, All Music Guide