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JERZY ANTCZAK

Crossover Prog • Poland


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Jerzy Antczak picture
Jerzy Antczak biography
Jerzy Antczak (not to be confused with his homonym movie director) has made a name for himself as long-time Polish neo-prog band Albion?s lead guitarist. Albion has released a quartet of albums but this is Jerzy?s first solo outing. Still very much in the neo mode, there is also some electronic intentions that push his first solo effort into the crossover genre. Jerzy describes his work as follows: ?The first notes of the album were born in my head two years ago. My intention was to compose the music for some movie but the more I worked on it the more it took the form of songs merging into one cohesive theme I could release as the CD. This is a very personal album. The expression of my escapism. I am running away from people, religion, politics, ideologies, hypocrisy and hatred. I run away into myself into the world of tones sounding in my soul.?
Aided by some Albion friends as well as Krzystof Wywra on bass from Millenium, the album really shines on multiple levels, very eclectic and cinematographic

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Ego, GeorgiusEgo, Georgius
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JERZY ANTCZAK discography


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JERZY ANTCZAK top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.15 | 89 ratings
Ego, Georgius
2014
3.92 | 35 ratings
String Theory (as Georgius)
2016

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JERZY ANTCZAK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 String Theory (as Georgius) by ANTCZAK, JERZY album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.92 | 35 ratings

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String Theory (as Georgius)
Jerzy Antczak Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

4 stars The new album from Poland's ALBION's founder and guitarist/singer/songwriter, Jerzy Antczak. His previous solo effort totally caught me by surprise and ended up one of my favorite albums of 2014. It turns out that the title of that previous effort, Ego, Georgius was actually a shout out as to the name/identity of Jerzy's new solo band--here correctly noted as "Georgius."

1. "Howling Winds of Jezebel" (12:10) opens with a Blade Runner-like prickly, spacey group of synth sounds layered to provide a two minute foundational intro. Lead guitar opens a solo at the two minute mark as Berlin School electronic sequenced "drums" begin to quickly pan around the background soundscape. Quite a nice, emotive guitar solo--one that lasts over two minutes. After that it's all synthesizers and samples until 4:46 when a vocoder- like female voice (Aisha) starts to ooo, eee, and aaah. At 5:45 a heavy bass-filled rhythm section enters. Soon Jerzy's treated and mirrored voice enters with a Gilmour-like emotional insistency. The instrumental section that follows has some awesome keyboard work but the bass, chunky, full and forward, is the center of my attention. Nice work, Krzystof Wyrwa (from Millenium). Awesome! At 8:45 the vocal(s) return for another go. The song then fades to end over the last minute with the wind sounds of an empty planet. Awesome song! My favorite on the album! (9/10)

2. "Little Ant" (11:36) opens with one synth chord--sustained over the next two minutes while Japanese flute and other ethereal sounds and percussives slowly begin entering and creating a fuller soundscape. Still, it is a sparsely populated soundscape until 3:07 when the first front and center main line instrument (electronic piano) enters and starts to disclose its melody. so much happening electronically in the soundscape--but so subtly. At 4:20 guitar, bass and some drums enter the fore. Jerzy begins singing in a up-close and personal funneled almost-Leonard Cohen voice. Though his English is clear and well-enunciated, an accent is strong. Keyboard solo using a solo soprano female voice, then Jerzy comes back, singing over the robot female. The simple rhythm section is quite dull and repetitive. Synth solo over electrified acoustic guitar picking is nice. Despite a very cool opening, it feels like the song never really takes off. Even the guitar soloing in the final minutes is a bit too restrained--takes too long to build and explode. I can't help it; I feel disappointed. (8/10)

3. "Precipice" (7:20) opens with acoustic guitar strumming--which is then, eventually, joined by vocals for the first ninety seconds that's about it. Then organ, synth, and military-style snare drum play join Jerzy. At 2:55 synth, organ, bass, full drums and electric guitars shift the song into a proggy instrumental section. First Arp-like synth then guitar take turns in the fore before Jerzy's more impassioned vocal returns. Nice section! Guitar solo in the sixth minute is good but then gets better. Return to vocal 'chorus' before all instruments drop out sauf distant-sounding acoustic guitar. (8/10)

4. "Pill" (7:41) this one sounds quite a bit like it came form the previous album, Ego, Georgius. It tries hard to be special, to be powerful, but somehow it fails; it feels false--except for the excellent two-minute long guitar solo running through the fourth, fifth and sixth minutes. (9/10)

5. "(Apathy) In the Garden of Despair" (8:44) opens with some of that wonderful 'world music' sound and feel to it for the first two minutes. As Jerzy starts to sing the vocal part, it feels great, but then, surprise, surprise! We find him mirrored and then dueting with a KATE BUSH-sound-alike, Aisha. But, alas! it ends too soon. By the end of the third minute Jerzy wanders off into a prolonged Dire Straits-like guitar solo. The vocal returns in the fifth minute but is totally dominated by Jerzy. Then a pleasant electric piano solo ensues before the song bursts into a section of vocal and instrumental passion which pretty much plays out to the end. My second favorite song on the album. I only wish the duet part would go on longer. (9/10)

6. "The Saddest Piece in the World" (8:25) isn't really that sad--though it's instrumental melodies and vocals do convey some powerful emotional impact. The main melody--first established by the lead guitar--is very catchy and repeated by both guitar, keys, and vocal throughout the song. (8/10)

Despite a promising start with the excellent opening epic, I am quite a little disappointed with Jerzy's follow up to his surprise masterpiece from 2014.

 String Theory (as Georgius) by ANTCZAK, JERZY album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.92 | 35 ratings

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String Theory (as Georgius)
Jerzy Antczak Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Jerzy Antczak made his career with Polish prog group Albion and kicked it up a notch with his first solo album "Ego, Georgius" released in 2014. This stellar opus was unanimously well received by the prog community, earning very high marks indeed and should have been album of the year in 2014. The critical praise was well deserved as the album was a total gem of atmospheric and modern prog, expertly created and performed by a tight crew of friends and colleagues. Jerzy's guitar mastery is never in doubt, a fluid and inspired conveyance of axe magic, but his use of synthesizers for maximum effect needs also to be admired. On this his second work, it's his vocals that really stand out , in my opinion, as his exasperated tone rekindles fond memories of early Mark Hollis (Talk Talk fame), a man with tremendous pipes who does not receive enough credit as a top notch singer. Jerzy does very well on the microphone, most definitely. The rhythm section returns for another spirited display of tandem abilities, as Krzystof Wyrwa of fellow Polish band Millenium and Rafal Paszcz (ex-Albion) put on quite a show, tremendously dynamic and punchy. Throw in a couple of talented female voices to add to the dramatics.

How about a couple of epic whoppers to get the blood boiling? Supremely confident in their execution and vision, the band wastes no time to impose its highly cinematographic music on the speakers, inducing a dream-like swoon right from the get go. "Howling Winds of Jezebel" spans 11 minutes of splendor, taking time to prepare the table, with lush synths whooshing mightily as well as glimmering winds of sound and effect. The divine guitar enters gently, sequencers glowing in the background. The female voice comes careening through the air, celestial and serene, as the synths form foaming bubbles and the pulse thickens. Raging voice and rampaging sonic supply, this is just grandiose and devastating, what with that slight Arabic synth tinge fluttering in the warm breeze. The bass kicks hard and relentlessly, certainly as desperately as Jerzy's deranged voice. "One more" over and over. The powerful e-guitar solo is fast, furious and sizzling!

Melancholic colorings, sheets of crystalline notes and eerie electronic sounds greet "Little Ant", until Jerzy whips his trusted electric guitar into overdrive with a lyrically gorgeous foray into the sublime. Somewhere between the classic Steves, Hackett and Rothery, the fingers walk a melodically bright line that can only elicit smiles of wonder. But again, his vocal disposition as well as his abilities on keyboards remain remarkable, especially when used to launch another extended and quite supersonic guitar curve. His axe pleads, begs, cries and wallows in trepidation as the master unveils new sonic realms to enchant the spirit. An ambient sortie only accentuates the charm.

Acoustic guitar played in a straight forward fashion introduces "Precipice", Jerzy's accent is slight and not enough to detract from his obvious passion, as the piece heightens in sincerity what with the marshaling drums and the explosive chorus that comes from apparently nowhere. The mid-section is a smooth plateau of rhythmic pulse, where clanging guitars, thumping bass and suave drumming combine in harmony. The cork screw guitar solo is acrobatic, a real scorcher that just leaps out at you.

The song titles seem to have a lot of connotation with Steve Wilson and his now legendary commentary about various social ills that plague our society, such as the aptly coined "Apathy" and the follower "Pill". The first is a ringing dirge of despair, until the injured voice and then the raging guitar take the arrangement into a spiraling tumult of emotion, swirling, looping, craning and falling with apparent ease. The extended solo is terrifying and lovely at the same time. The second has birds chirping, odd strokes and jungle-like beats, streaming into more experimental zones, the fret board carving some new passage to the mind. Hushed voice and apparent timelessness give the mood a hypnotic quality that is troubled only by the high reverb guitar phrasings. This had me rekindling memories of the much-maligned Summers/Fripp collaboration of the mid-90s. Jerzy can pick with those two masters any day. Just sayin'! The wailing voice becomes exalted and powerful, howling backing vocals only adding to the entrancing mist. Remarkable.

The insistent and impressive "The Saddest Piece in the World" terminates this flight, a final destination of unabashed glory and divine sonic splendor. "Where do you go from here" repeated ad nauseam only pushes the thrill along, egged on by tormenting waves of symphonic keys as they scour the skies, the drums bashing and the fiery axe shimmering brightly. Oh, yeah! The wailing backing vocals raise the bar to the gates of divinity.

A great and vigorous follow up that bodes well for the future but the supreme debut "Ego, Georgius" remains an unchallengeable classic, in my opinion. The ominously grey artwork once again denotes a fair amount of despondence, a trait that the Poles have maintained grudgingly throughout their tumultuous history. But above all, this is a heartwarming and charming artist that deserves more attention.

4.5 Filament Concepts

 Ego, Georgius by ANTCZAK, JERZY album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.15 | 89 ratings

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Ego, Georgius
Jerzy Antczak Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

5 stars This is one of the greatest surprises from 2014 and definitely one of my Top 15 of that year. Were it not for a bit of a stumble with songs 6-8 ("Don't Need You," "Bottom of My Soul" and "The Gods of Our") this would be a virtually flawless play-through concept album. Opening with the world music electro-pop of "Naive" (5:59) (9/10) we get a kind of OMD sound before it turns more toward THE FIXX ("Stand Tall")--a sound that carries through song 2, "Bloody George" (3:03) (8/10). This is why Thomas likes this one so much! There are certainly a lot of PINK FLOYD sounds and riffs throughout Ego, Gerorgius and, like Floyd, none of the music is very complex and is often quite atmospheric. Also Floyd-like is the seemless flow from song to song.

Breaking away from respected Polish progsters ALBION, guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Jerzy Antczak has created one of those albums that flows so perfectly from start to finish that one has no choice but to listen to it straight through each time. In fact, songs one through five bleed seamlessly one right into the next. It's awesome! Also, the album seems to start and end with its best clusters of songs. The music is at times quite atmospheric, acoustic, and full of samples and performances of folk and "world" instruments. In fact, I found myself thinking several times that this is where I had hoped MARIUZ DUDA was heading with LUNATIC SOUL. Jerzy's singing even sounds a bit like Mariuz's. This is better. Far better.

Favorite songs: the amazing COLLAGE/SATELLITE-like 12. "Waltz" (7:10) (10/10); the beautiful sequence of songs that builds up to "Nebayilhaye" 3-5. "Escape from.../Heaven/Nebayilhaye" (10:54) (10/10); 11. "Humid Tube" (2:56) (9/10); 1. "Naïve" (5:59) (9/10); 2. "Bloody George" (3:03) (9/10) and; "Mermaid's Song" (7:10) (9/10).

A very strong four star album plus.

9/12/15 amendment: After six more months of letting this music get deeper into my brain and using my revised system of metrics to rate albums, I am bumping this album up to 5 star masterpiece status! The album just doesn't quit--and it never lets me down!

 Ego, Georgius by ANTCZAK, JERZY album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.15 | 89 ratings

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Ego, Georgius
Jerzy Antczak Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Jerzy Antczak has been leading Polish neo-prog band Albion for quite some time now (1994) , part and parcel of the rather imposing prog scene in Poland that has given us Collage, Satellite, Millenium, Abraxas, Believe, Soma White, State Urge, Corral and many more. On this his first solo outing, Jerzy plots for a much denser sound, perhaps closer to electronica-infused soundtrack music , something compatriots Lebowski do rather well, albeit in a punchier manner. Surrounded by Albion stalwarts Anna Batko on vocals and Rafal Paszcz on drums, as well as adding Millenium bassist Krzysztof Wyrwa, with a few others, Jerzy Antczak really handles most of the splendid guitar work and all the keys, creating an exhilarating electro-tornado that has really caught my attention and certainly deserves to ensnare yours. The music is meant to be listened in one continuous effort, far from any song by song catalog.

An immediate gentle immersion is in order on the opener "Na´ve", a nearly Oriental koto-like feel that permeates the soul, soothing and yet somewhat a tad eerie, as if something is lurking not too far away, in the shadows. Appropriately 'na´ve' vocals collide in sorrow, encapsulated by metallic percussives that hint at John Foxx-like electronica, a modern dirge that spins, whirls and soars on sublime synthesized propellers. This bleeds right into the guitar tempest that is "Bloody George", the same theme just catapulted onto a higher plane, the voice more urgent, the beat firm and the howling backing voices giving the necessary depth with Wyrwa's rumbling undertow flashing the road ahead.

After a fluffy microelectronic intermezzo, "Heaven" unleashes some sequenced horizons that are closer to classic Tangerine Dream, ethereal sounds and melodious motifs that show a gentler side , only to be confronted by some serious rumble on the fantastic bass slap driven "Nebayilhaye", sandstorm of furious sonic frenzy, female Arabic voices whirling amid the male English voiced rage. This is serious progressive rock with quite a bite and a toothy Doberman snarl.

Keeping the foot squarely on the harder pedal, "Don't Need You" sounds almost like Floyd's "Run Like Hell" but snarkier as the bass and drums pack a wallop, only to be crested by a sweeping voodoo guitar solo that prickles nastily, showing Antczak's rather considerable technique. Pooling electro grit, delicate piano and unspecified angst is display on the half-minute "Bottom of My Soul" before the arrival of the colossal 9 minute and 40 second "The Gods of Our Planet", a space/electronic voyage that is deliberately operatic with the pleading vocal, caressed along by forlorn synths and extremely modern and futuristic in scope. Again, the grumbling bass is a terrific feature, moaning like some sycophantic praetorian guard looking to the stars. Sequencers ablaze, thick symphonics and tectonic binary drum rolls, this is simply intoxicating. Jerzy unbridles a blistering axe solo that blasts the speakers far into the celestial galaxy, tense and speedy, emotionally sound.

Hard to believe after so many good pieces that the best is yet to come. "Mermaid's Song" is perhaps the absolute show stopper here, an almost Celtic melodious chant, melopoeia in Latin that winks at Oldfield or Iona in terms of adventurism, as if some Norse drakkar was fording into some misty firth, gulls screeching their fear as they swirl overhead. The fretboard solo is nervy, intricate and most expressive. A truly terrific tune! The wee "Big Deal" emits aromas of a Floyd gone by, especially vocally, before blooming into the rash "Humid Tube" (a great name for a band BTW) which sizzles, fizzles and drizzles brilliantly, as drummer Paszcz manhandles his kit.

The elegant "Waltz" shuts this tremendous work down with a majestic 7 minute epic, all emotion and genuine class, sparkling tiny details reflecting off the gentle waves of sound, an insistent synth egging on an urgent vocal that truly shudders in feeling. The scintillating guitar solo is simply intense and glorious, full of bravado and intent, technique melding with inner love, a true genial finale. I just cannot believe how fabulous this album turned out to be. Just the right amounts of dream and reality.

The artwork gives off a Gothic gleam that instills the perfect image of humility and genius at work here. This is magic. My Polish friends/brothers never cease to amaze me.

5 Gorgeous self-images

Thanks to tszirmay for the artist addition.

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