SM - 1st review of Appalachia
Backporch Revolution label mainstay Mike Karnowski contrasts two of his aliases with each other, on this bluegrass-themed experimental EP. It’s certainly not a combination you see very often, but Karnowski holds it together with his Potpie persona churning bluegrass sound files into an increasingly complex ball, and his Krzysztof side doing more of what I expected from Potpie– agile sine wave manipulation “inspired by” bluegrass music itself.
Don’t ask me how the Krzysztof track, “Descending Moonshine” is anything like bluegrass, though. Living in Southern Illinois, I thought I’d had my fill of the stuff. Apparently, Karnowski hears some untapped elements there, and it is refreshing to hear an artist visiting older territory to see what might be created anew. The Potpie track “Cold Mountain Breakdown” is a nice result– part Steve Reich, and part abstract electronica– but really a bit too stripped-down for either. “Cold Mountain Breakdown” lets the sound snippets speak for themselves to create a somewhat disorienting mixture of familiar fiddle lines, banjo licks, chords, etc. In their new context, they dart amongst one another playfully, less constrained than in their traditional support roles within songs.
Not a lot more can be said about this disc without ruining it; after all, it’s a limited edition EP clocking in just under 20 minutes. The cover art is a bit of wonderful illustration in a Russian or Polish folk style, and the whole thing comes in a decent heavy cardstock folding slipcase.
“Appalachia” is available through Backporch Revolution as [bpr-035].