Sometimes ominous, sometimes danceable, always intriguing, “Alaska” from Wrocław, Poland based weird art rockers WATA is a confident statement of alternative experimentalism. For all its musical sophistication, psych atmosphere and its lyrical heart, this new offering marks stepping out of the shadow of Polish underground and revealing an avant-garde talent in their own rights. Today, we’re giving you a special insight into the art of WATA, through their first hand commentary and track by track breakdown below.
Words by WATA: Karol Ossoliński: vocals; Krzysiek Birowski: synth, guitars, piano, perpercussion, vocals, fx; Marcin Kucharczyk: synth, guitars; Szymon Smolak: drums.
“Alaska” is our second album following debut “Laserowy Kot” (2018). Previously our sound was mostly synthesizers based. Although they still play significant part on the new record this time the intention was for our sound and energy to be closer to our live playing. Material for “Alaska” came into being in several years. It consists partly of old pieces pulled out from the drawer and partly of ideas improvised during rehearsals. As you can imagine, worldwide mess during recent months affected also our work but to much less extent than we anticipated. Apart from some unavoidable studio recording sessions that we had to reschedule we’re mostly DIY guys.
Originally album was supposed to be simply a collection of our best ideas but during the recording process we realized two things. First – in the light of current political and pandemic – reality songs gained new meanings and up-to-dateness. Second – when looking at them more closely they might become fragments of one story.
Out of these reflections “Koniec” (The End) was created. First song is presented from a perspective of a person who experiences end of the world and tells that further bits are going to be a retrospective of experiences and listener should expect lots of personal reflections. Seemingly peaceful song quickly turns into psychedelic cacophony that leads to “Ed“. Without any warning protagonist falls and hits his head so hard it shatters. Turns out things that fall out of poor fellow’s head surprise him. Life of rejected introvert makes him think of himself as a virus. He’s disgusted even by looking at his reflection in the puddle.
Next “episode” that also gave title to the album – “Alaska” – is an ironic image of harmony and social order that actually covers manipulation, attempts to divide societies and devastation of the planet by organisations that make profits from it. Sound wise raw and straight character of the song complements its message.
From the lyrical standpoint album focuses largely on individuals’ isolation and on perceiving the world from such position – sometimes by being dramatic, by drawing point of view of a person disturbed mentally, “Ctrl Alt Delete” is an example of such message from a person that tries to describe his relations with rest of the world.
“Biegacz Stepowy” (Tumbleweed) was created in an unusual way – as a result of brainstorm.
We used some phrases and musical pieces as “Lego bricks” that we built a song of. They fit together rather like shreds. This game of words serves as a device to build post-apocalyptic mood.
Nightmares – experience that everybody has to deal with sometimes. Usually forces us to wake up. However, narrator of “Alaska 2 (Koszmary)” feels unhealthy fascination with them and decides he wants to dip in his nightmare once again. He expresses his desire accompanied by disturbing electronic music.
In “Majk” story comes to the point of total blur of lines between imagination and reality. Cartoonist who is creating his character at the attic with help of some chemicals gradually develops relationship with his creation. He starts to fear that Majk is going to dominate him. Paranoia is getting worse and worse up to the point at which he eventually breaks up during intense argument inside his head and kills his cartoon friend.
“Wunderbar” is the oldest song from this set. It was composed many years ago, before even starting Wata, originally as instrumental piece. It tells about attitude of withdrawal from media hype that exceeds limits of nonsense and about the need to wrench oneself free from digital world that kill the essence of human being.
Lastly – “UFO“. This is a retrospection of romantic relationships in a form of collage assembled from random memories. All this is crammed together in the atmosphere of anxiety and alienation that was carried from childhood and resurfaced after seeing old photos.