Evolution? Revolution? Devolution? There is no certainty about the vector of Kurws’ music. The way from the debut Dziura w Getcie to Alarm leads from a primitive sophistication to sophisticated primitiveness. It is a comic, from which the bubbles are being wiped out with each subsequent page, making it more abstract for some and a lot more concrete for others. More important than a genre or clear explanations here are the nerve, adventurousness and controlled instability of the line. It is these that complement the rest and create images and notions. Kurws speak little, but they throw the news of the world into the cogs of their machine made of nerves conjoined with instruments. In one gesture they reflect reality, challenge it and dodge.
‘Alarm’ is Kurws wrestling with their limitations. Doing splits in asynchronous performance, in expanding their patience and organising silence. There are escapements with the use of many layers, recording tracks with a tape recorder, taking advantage of tape’s physical imperfections. Kurws train in composition, improvisation and – which is relatively new – in casting spells on coincidence, riskily falling out of structures, evading their own habits. They form, lose and cover their tracks. Can you dance to this material? Of course you can, but it is not going to be either the well-remembered Tanz mit Kommune 1 or a clumsy dance with Colossus on clay legs. This time it is a dance on a volcano.
Pascal Quignard has concluded that there is no sleep for hearing. This is why various devices to wake you up appeal to your ears. Sight can be turned away or covered by eyelids. You cannot switch hearing off, though. Kurws exploit this passivity of the ear to the fullest, yet doing so in defiance of the oppression encoded in the music. They use sonic violence in service for peace. They generate tension which releases and diffuses greater tensions. They are like the madman raving in the street that you listen to only to recognise your own fears, neuroses and frustrations. ‘Alarm’ is an alarming album for alarming times. You need to decide yourselves whether it is a fire alarm, a nuke alarm or no more (and no less) than a common alarm clock.