• Joel Dwek

POLAND: beluga trigga and master stone's spiritual surfing - beluga stone

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

Inventive electronic music that combines ambient, funk, rock, and so much more, beluga stone consistently surprise in this eclectic effort

Poland, as a country, is perhaps most famous in the music world for producing the famed pianist and composer Frédéric Chopin. A prolific composer of sonatas, mazurkas, piano concertos and more besides, Chopin is the pinnacle of a tradition of classical music composition in Poland. On Around the World in 200 Albums, we often tend towards listening to traditional music from a country, because we feel, in a possibly misguided or sentimental notion that it’s more reflective of the country itself. This is sometimes true, but not always, and as such we both fight against that tendency, and look for music that is different, new, and at the cutting edge of the music scene in a particular country. Beluga stone (deliberately uncapitalised in case you think our proofreading skills leave much to be desired – usually you’d be right, but not this time!) do not fall into that Polish musical tradition, instead they forged their own way forward. Indeed, their music is not easily classifiable in any regard. It is the project of two musicians who go by the names of beluga trigga and master stone, and the album flits to and fro, from shoegaze electronica, to trance music, to inflections of soft rock, disco, and ambient music. It’s a heady mix of sounds, and one that most resembles, in my opinion at least, the musical stylings of the neo-soul band from Australia, Hiatus Kaiyote. That said, there are huge divergences from their two styles, namely that beluga stone are markedly less in the soul category in my opinion.

“The album has twists and turns, and leads you on and surprises you as it does so. While that level of experimentalism might leave one missing a few banging tunes to get stuck in your head, it nonetheless marks beluga stone as an act to watch out for.”

Take SourOrangeIndigo, maybe my favourite individual song on the album; it starts off with a plaintive guitar riff, not dissimilar to something you might hear in the early years of Fleetwood Mac, when they were still a blues band led by Peter Green. Then, they lay on a modern beat, some falsetto vocals, and with that, the song slowly undergoes a metamorphosis, into a funkier number, except you barely notice it while it is happening, and yet by the end, you have an irresistible bass line and some crisp funky guitar, and you’re halfway to a Prince song. That then contrasts sharply with master stone runs the voodoo down, which starts with harsh electronic noise and continues in a chaotic, rambunctious manner, yet with the kind of methodical and calculated guitar solo that one might hear from Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour. This clearly reflects an experimental edge that the two Polish DJs clearly have a taste for. The album is near indescribable as a whole. Individual songs can be described, and I hope that juxtaposition of those songs gives a sense of what the album is about, but as a whole, it can only be described under the generic label of experimental electronica.

In fact, the more I listened to the album in preparation for this review, the less I enjoyed listening to individual songs in isolation, and the more I enjoyed it only when listening to it as a whole piece. It seems designed that way. The first song, Harmony, just starts, - it lacks an introduction or build up, it simply throws you into the album as if you’ve pressed play on a song halfway through, which is not dissimilar to what Venus In Furs does for The Velvet Underground & Nico. For that song, the intention was to make one feel like one had just walked into a seedy S&M joint, in Harmony, the intention is less clear, though I feel it is fair to assume that it is intended to throw one off one’s guard, which is definitely something that can be said for most of the album. The album has twists and turns, and leads you on and surprises you as it does so. While that level of experimentalism might leave one missing a few banging tunes to get stuck in your head, it nonetheless marks beluga stone as an act to watch out for.