Poland's Igor Boxx Drops the Skalpel and Conducts Sound Surgery
The production duo Skalpel, Marcin Cichy and Igor Pudło, stepped out of Poland’s obscure DJ scene in 2000 with a disc called Polish Jazz, a DJ Shadow-esque sample frenzy cutting from the annals of the immensely rich jazz tradition of its namesake. The sounds from this album gained the attention of Ninja Tune, who subsequently signed the pair. For fans of the label, Skalpel was a revival of Ninja’s most revered work. Like DJ Food’s Kaleidoscope and Amon Tobin’s Supermodified, Skalpel’s self-titled debut on Ninja Tune was composed of seamlessly blended samples from forgotten realms of music from the past. Where the original songs lacked a heavy beat, Skalpel injected funky breaks. Truly, they were the type of discovery every beat junkie hopes for.
Following two acclaimed LPs on Ninja Tune, several 12″s and a handful of Solid Steel mixes, one half of Skalpel is setting out on his own. Igor Pudło, under the name Igor Boxx, tells the tale of his hometown in the moments surrounding its bombardment during World War II on his album Breslau (former name of the city known today as Wrocław). For Igor, the album is an exorcism, a retrospective on his life in his hometown. Here, he witnessed destruction and rebirth as a child, watching the veneer of capitalism pulled over a communist-minded populous of a war-ravaged landscape. He grew up with his home’s then-new found openness, and embraced the music that emanated from far outside the walls of Breslau.
Breslau is a piece of direct storytelling through instrumental music. While we might be tempted to call it the soundtrack to every life as so many past instrumental hip hop albums, this one tells a specific tale. Simultaneously doleful and sanguine, with all the sampling know-how that brought this music to the world stage, Breslau is one for the ages.
Igor Boxx’s Breslau is out today on Ninja Tune.
Hear the story of Breslau in Igor’s own words.
Check out Igor Boxx’s video for “Last Party in Breslau”