Get to Know Transatlantyk, Eastern Europe's Most Essential Electronic Label
Listen to an exclusive stream of Poly Chain's psychedelic ambient album 'Music For Candy Shops'.
As jaded as we are, as run down by life as we can be, there are moments—fleeting, transitory, barely there—when the thrill of excitement overrides mundanity's daily grind, and we're born anew. More often than not, it's art that does this to us, and ambient music, like the paintings of Josef Albers, the films of Jean-Pierre Melville or the writing of Lydia Davis, allows us to enter into a liminal space between life and dream, and that is why Music For Candy Shops, the latest LP by Ukrainian producer Poly Chain has become attached to me in recent weeks. It is there on busses and on trains, in supermarkets and off-licenses, in the real and the imaginary.
It was a chance encounter that led me to the album; an email arrived a while back from Maciej Zambon, a Polish producer, DJ, and record label owner. He'd been given my contact details by fellow Pole Bartosz Kruczynski, AKA Ptaki, AKA Earth Trax, AKA one of our favourite artists here at THUMP. Zambon's latest enterprise is Transatlantyk, an imprint devoted to serving up the finest eastern European electronic music this side of Vistula river. Prior to founding Transatlantyk, Zambon was responsible for The Very Polish Cut Outs, a label that saw him collating essential after essential edit of beefed-up Polish pop.
The aforementioned Poly Chain album is one of our favourites of the year so far; a gauzy, anaesthetised blend of Emeralds and Eno, and endlessly playable series of wonked-out ambient churners that sit somewhere between the deepest reaches of outer space and the glossy brilliantine bricolage brightness of 90s platform games. Since being nudged in her direction by Zambon, Sasha Zakrevska's become a firm favourite of ours. She's a producer we sort of want to take over the ambient world, sort of so we can say, "GUYS WE LIKED HER STUFF IN EARLY 2017," but mainly because she's really, really fucking good.
Check out the stunning album in full below, alongside an interview with Zambon about all things Transatlantyk.
First things first, let's roll back the years. Who are you, and what role has music played in making you that person?
Maciej Zambon: Let's just say that I'm somebody who likes music, doesn't often share common opinions with other people, and for some time now I've been a DJ/label owner/promoter/radio host who tries to connect the east a little more with the west. Music is one of the factors that made me that person, but it isn't the only one.
Can you give us the Transatlantyk backstory?
Transatlantyk is a record label that aims to promote music that's mainly from Poland, but also looks towards Eastern Europe more generally. It's sort of a continuation of what I was doing on the last label I ran—which operated from 2010 to 2016—called The Very Polish Cut Outs, which was dedicated to digging up and editing Polish music from the 60s, 70s, and 80s.
Does it feel, to you, like a label with a kind of sonic aesthetic that's cohesive?
Well, I'd like to think it was pretty versatile. Although most of the releases are dance music for DJ use, I like to release other stuff too like the sample based Ptaki album, Naphta's eclectic "world music" debut, DJ Dooks edit EP or now Poly Chains' psychedelic ambient LP. The thing that connects all the music it is heritage (Polish producers/eastern European producers). I felt at some point all those people from the "east" lack a proper representation of their own and it was very natural for me to just start a label and give them a hub.
How do you find the acts you sign and release? Is there an international underground network of kosmiche creators?
The first few records were mostly by people from my surroundings, who I knew were making music and would send it to me. That's changed a little now, as I've started to receive more demos from outsiders, and I look for things myself too—that's how I found out about Poly Chain, for example.
The Poly Chains' LP is one of the best things i've heard in a long time. What's the deal with Poly Chains and where should I head to find similar sounding stuff!
That question is really hard to answer for me—when it comes to ambient I'm mostly into classic stuff like Brian Eno. Poly's take on that genre of music is in my opinion pretty unique and something I haven't had on my radar until I met her, so its hard to me to point you in a right direction to find similar music! Maybe you should start with her SoundCloud page where there is tons of her unreleased stuff.
Head here to grab all of the absolutely essential Transatlantyk material.