It’s difficult to pin down RITES OF FALL‘s debut opus “Truthsayer” as it finds a newly crafted solo project stylishly chasing inspiration in an unpredictable atmosphere of folk, electronica, and exploratory sounds inspired by both future and the past. As I entered the mesmerizing, breathtaking world of “Truthsayer”, I immediately comprehended that I need to dive deeper and learn more about this exceptional creation. The following interview is the result of our short conversation, in which Bartek, the man behind RITES OF FALL, discussed his experience in experimental composing, recording in remote parts of Bieszczady Mountains, and more.
RITES OF FALL‘s delivery is the result of an experiment, a clash of folk climate with heavy bass electronics and exploratory elements of improvisation. The debut EP Truthsayer (2017), recorded in Warsaw and Bieszczady, invites for a dark journey, a path to a non-existent movie. It represents crossing and crushing borders, and building a bridge between the music of the past and the future.
Hey Bartek! Thanks so much for joining us here on IDIOTEQ. Your debut record with RITES OF FALL tends to veer towards the darker shadows of sound and it sounds like an alternate soundtrack to Blade Runner. Please shoot us a quick introduction to this project. Is there something you feel particularly drawn to when it comes to this specific, dreamy sounds of ghostly, cinematic, experimental ambient?
I’ve heard my music being compared to a soundtrack many times already. I think this is the quickest association you can make as it is instrumental, it’s not “danceable” and operates with things like ambience and tension. Still, I don’t consider it purely ambient. Even on the debut EP you have very dense rhythmic patterns.
What I’m drawn into the most is the immersion, narrative I can place the listener in. It’s one of the most important characteristics I’m looking for in music.
Growing up, did you always want to be a composer? Can you recall your earliest musical memory and what promped you to get involved?
I don’t consider myself a composer – that term I think implies some formal education and different set of skills. I think of myself more as a producer.
My earliest musical memories blur somewhere between listening to weird synth music in 80’s Polish popular science TV show Sonda and listening to Led Zeppelin with my dad.
I don’t think there was a single point when I decided to get involved with music the way I do it now. It’s a process that took me all the way from being a listener, through playing in bands to making music on my own. And I guess it’s still ongoing.
Do you find electronics liberating or limiting? Do you have some experience in being in a strictly guitar-laden band? If yes, how would you compare both experiences? Do you think it’s easier to compose dark cinematic themes as opposed to something more cheerful and easy going?
Playing in a band vs. electronics are like two different mediums. With bands it’s more like a documentary – you try to capture a moment in time, chemistry within a particular group, you try to record that experience. Electronics to me are more a work of imagination, fiction. It’s about asking yourself “what if?” and doing just that. Sometimes the result won’t be gratifying at all and you either abandon that or iterate further. It’s like continuous discovery and I find that liberating.
What dream movie would you like to score?
Can you give us an idea of the different kinds of equipment used in your process for creating this recording?
The central piece is the computer running Ableton Live, Reaktor, Soundtoys and tons of other plug-ins. Besides that it’s very few synth and effect modules plus tape deck for sampling.
Bieszczady are a romantic, yet very gloomy destination with the charm of the most remote places in the world. You did some of the recordings there. Tell us about the place where you wrote or tracked it and how do you contemplate Bieszczady. Were you inspired by those settings at all?
I wouldn’t frankly call this particular spot I visit really remote or gloomy, but definitely it has it’s unique character. The place I stay in has very friendly, open-minded hosts – Monika and Jacek (he’s playing the pipe on the opening track of the EP). Besides that I think it’s also about breaking out of daily routines and eliminating distractions.
For “Truthsayer” it was mostly very spontaneous recording that glued the concept together and for the first time I felt that it wasn’t just a loose set of ideas. I came back there the year after with an intention to write more material and what I came back with is now in a process of becoming an album.
Are there some boundaries you hope to break with this project?
I’d like to disorient listeners to the point where no one can’t tell if what they hear is an instrument recorded live a few months before, sound synthesised out of thin air or a sample from 50 year-old recording.
Ok, so lastly, what are your next steps with RITES OF FALL?
I’m working on a full-length album right now. Besides writing and production there’s also a bit of research I want to do in order to wrap it all up within a concept.
Thanks so much Bartek! Please feel free to touch on anything you feel we missed here, share some inspiring recommendations before you go, and leave your last words. Aprreciate your time. Thanks!
Huge thanks to everyone supporting the EP so far! Looking forward to presenting it live as much as I can. As a last recommendation I encourage you to look for new music outside of your usual social media echo chamber(s).