CD-R, My Hands Music, 2007
Accomplice Affair, the brainchild of Przemyslaw Rychlik, lured me in with promises of dark ambient and occasional psychedelic moments. Or at least that’s what the project’s webpage professed. I was brimming with excitement at the prospect of discovering a gifted up-and-coming act from my Motherland (I lived in Poland until 1992). Unfortunately, life is full of disappointments and my enthusiasm proved short lived.
Rychlik’s latest offering, “Jezioro Wspomnien” (Lake of Remembrance), serves up eight tracks of born-to-be-mild aural stimulus (or tranquillizer). The opening song, “Kropla Deszczu” (Raindrop), holds some potential, being the most successful composition on the first half of this release. Aspiring to describe nature via music, a musician might quickly fall into creating soundtracks for yoga classes (i.e., bland ambient) without taking some creative risks. My wish for ‘something slightly more experimental’ was ill fated, or simply misdirected, for “Niekonczaca Sie Opowiesc” (Neverending Story) marked the beginning of never-ending, obnoxious guitar action. The vibe is similar to “Kropla Deszczu,” plus some heavy, whispery delay vocals and the imminently ubiquitous guitar. “Spadajacy Lisc” (Falling Leaf) begins with a nice wind sweep, which makes it slightly less cringe-worthy when the guitar kicks in almost immediately. The guitar arrangements seem to be either a) psychedelic experimentations, or b) sounds a 10-year-old makes when learning how to play the instrument. In the case of Accomplice Affair, the guitar-based drones detract from the tracks in a major way. They dominate the compositions, while the ‘ambience’ of the songs (the key ingredient in dark ambient) fades into the background.
Thinking outside the box is always welcome when so many dark ambient projects begin to sound so alike, yet there comes a point when the result strays too far from the realm of the familiar, isolating its potential audience. “Jezioro Wspomnien” is too experimental to be dark ambient, not weird enough to be experimental and not extraordinary enough to establish its own genre. Ironically, the sounds that suck least are buried deepest in the mix. Rychlik laid good groundwork, with layers of sometimes dismal, sometimes introspective, material that are unfortunately upstaged by the overly chaotic guitar work. It lacks progression; its end lacks explosive dénouement -essentially a porno without the money shot.
In summation, it is the Michael Bolton of dark ambient, the sonic equivalent of British food, like lukewarm softcore porn. Indistinctive grub is better than starving, however, and softcore will do the job on cold winter nights. It could be worse…
— Bea W.