Michal Urbaniak – Fusion 12” LP

Michal Urbaniak-Fusion LP

1973! Fusion as a genre has yet to totally degrade itself & is still on the crest of an immensely expansive & exciting musical progression. This splendiferous masterpiece of an album & debut for the daring Warsaw born violin crank – Michal Urbaniak & his posse of eager & unorthodox upstarts is definitely’ definitely one of my favourite Fusion albums ever & an massively singular stand-out in the Fusion context. The ugly face of establishment-politics & creative-curtailment is sadly at play concerning this great LP/artist, as despite it’s success & it’s position on a major label (Columbia) that’s famed for preserving the availability of it’s back-catalogue in well-presented editions, this album remains totally out of print, presumably under a very deliberate decree. So Urbaniak is an ustad of the violin & apparently he also plays the soprano sax on this album, but I cannot distinguish which track this is on? complicated perhaps by some seriously esemplasticated FX that many of the instruments are dipped in. influenced by Jazz, Funk, the slew of Fusion churning the record-racks & plenty Frank Zappa, Michal has also chosen for this album (& perhaps as personal inspiration in his style of playing the violin) to revitalize & embellish Eastern European folk songs as a base ingredient for some of the compositions. Whatever it sounds like in writing is irrelevant, it works absolute whacking-wonders in execution. To deliver this bedazzling jest, he draws in drummer Czeslaw Bartowski, duumvirate keyboard support from Adam Makowicz & Wojciech Karolak &, very importantly, non-verbal vocals from his then loony wife Urszula Dudziak. If you know nothing of them, let me assure you they can all seriously play. Part of what probably makes this album such a classic is that they were all really representing for Poland to secure recognition internationally from a music perspective, & the drive, tenacity & energy is really palpable in these recordings, of musicians really going for broke. The carnivalesque, mischievous, comical & extremely youthful gallivant themed approach to the compositions & playing is also another very novel feature. Immensely playful & often humorous, it undergoes even greater amplification with the ice-box of FX, the two mad keyboard elements & of course Urszula (we are getting there). Gleefully, there is also considerable complexity & heterodox components with some of the compositions, playing very well under unconventional time signatures such as nine, three & seven. Even the majority four & eight patterns are generally constructed around non-regular punctuations. Like any good Fusion album, there is masses of soloing, & perfectly, not solo-soling, but over group clamour & within the songs revelling motion. Copious energy & exuberance is poured on, over & over, really great shit-kicking stuff with tons of variations. then finally you have nutty Dudziak! Now, this album would have still been sensational without Dudziak, but the quality she brings to an already heavily-laden burner just flings the cart totally & completely off-the-rails! Basically, Urszula uses her voice, word free, -in a “musical instrument” simulation, adopting some Jazz-based origins with that gibberish nonsense we used to do as kids (I probably haven’t stopped myself) but taken a lot further. It’s a truly sapid concoction of madness, melody, cuteness & hyper-femininity. & you can actually take it further. Take the territory of the excessively squeaky “kawai” cult Japanese girl phenomenon, whether it be a manga voice-over or any other medium baring the same coquettish charms. Well, I think you can take the cutest pink-haired, coss-play cat-suit girl right outta’ Harajuku & have her squeak action scenes from Project A-KO & she still won’t outdo Urszula! Seriously, this is like the definitive supra-girly vivacious mental unhinge that Japan has a pretty much niche-deadlock on! In-fact, when I play this record unannounced, many listeners assume that it, or at least the vocalist is Japanese. But actually it couldn’t be further from the truth! That style/formula had yet to be developed & this is 100% Polish! It’s just another demonstration of how emphatically ahead-of-the-clock-arms this super precocious LP is. The other thing worth noting about the album, & a boon for some of the best Fusion records at the time, was that it’s VERY versatile. There is seemingly no single source of materials per song, it can go anywhere on anything, springing from fantastically contrasting themes.

Basically, this is the absolute shit! A great’ great’ great record from a great’ great set of musicians.

So what in the hell happened with availability? It must have taken a supremely sick arsehole to try & snuff out something as great as this. It’s not just the album Fusion either, but Fusion 2 & 3 (both excellent). This can be nothing but intentional. Even pay-per-download MP3 versions are not available through commercial channels??? I guess Urbaniak somehow really pissed-off somebody in the upper-excretion-echelons & they decided to try & sabotage his legacy? It would be very interesting to know the incident, details & individuals involved in such appalling stymying? This has got to be resolved, the material is just too good. Yet again, brilliant creativity is being bonzai’d by an artistically illiterate industrial desk-worker with a grudge. & this is actually after success! You know what? This stuff goes on way more than you may think & dang it’s rancid. The “war of omission” continues to redact. Good grounds for downloading the album (as it’s not available to buy) & spreading the word of Michal Urbaniak & his mad-ball squad of Polish lunatics! Fuck the record industry ignorance & injustice!

Rekd: 1973-1974

Label: Columbia (sort it out dammit!) ><