SUNDRUGS | Hidden Scenes

BLWBCK034 | Release Date : 25th April, 2013
Tape {66 c.} C60 + digital

For his first release under the Sundrugs moniker, the Warsaw producer Patryk T Kawalarz has chosen to explore his darkest inspirations. ‘Hidden Scenes’ is made of vast & ambient soundscapes, ethereal melodies, played through a thick smoke. An immersive night journey, wrapped in a deep sadness but scattered with pale flickering lights. Like Saåad, invited on “If You Call That Living”, Sundrugs gives the first role to harmonies, using vocals and desperate melodies to push you deeper into a beautiful melancholia. Along those 51 minutes, each drone and each noise is dragging its own chord, unveiling a meticulous work out of an apparent abstraction, and growing a permanent feeling of restrained climax and emotional disorder…

01. Pandora’s Box (1:45)
02. Moving Borders (5:41)
03. Void’s Anatomy (4:34)
04. Radio Depth (1:28)
05. If You Call That Living (feat. Saåad) (3:41)
06. Desert Tales (4:29)
07. Hidden Scenes (4:47)
08. You Know That Place (12:51)
09. Euphoria Euthanasia (6:10)
10. Just Leave Your Backdoor Open (3:43)
11. Warm Like December’s Sun (2:32)

All music written, recorded & mixed by Sundrugs (except track 5 feat. Saåad)
Mastered by Byron Christodoulou
Cover photo by Arslan Ahmedov


Sundrugs is a fascinating discovery, and Hidden Scenes is an absolute peach. Sublime, enveloping soundscapes are fused with the deep tranquillity – and some kind of sadness – of shipwrecks long buried at the bottom of the ocean. The alias of Patryk T Kawalarz, Sundrugs is the new kid on the ambient block, but it is one that has had its past share of tragedy, and has matured well before her years because of it. Remember the name. Sad, longing atmospheres are able to form vague shapes that were once recognisable, trailing through an ethereal, clouded mist. Harmonies that were once full of life now settle into a still melancholia, but in the eyes of another they could seem deeply comatose. Melodic passages are submerged underneath the thickest of drone, enwrapping and consuming all melodic clarity until she becomes a ghost of herself. In the same way that Belong fill their atmospheres with a gorgeous swish of deep, muddied texture, Sundrugs occupies a space that is halfway between the hope of heavenly ascension and the sadness of current situations; realistic prospects that have been crushed by physical restrictions, and heart-broken burdens that feel like heavy anchors to the soul. Open skies and open spaces greet Hidden Scenes, but they are the kind that seem to waver in front of the eyes, as if we were looking up above from the deep. You can almost feel the currents as they sweep you along on deep, ambient drifts. Swimming through this ambient land, a faded majesty emerges; echoes of past glory, now smothered, flitter through the stream; the highs and lows breath through the wash of ambience. ‘Radio Depth’ contains what could be a hidden SOS signal, transmitted as if it was discovered on board a once-lost ship, or the last contact made via a desperate radio signal that has been recently found. One last cry for help or assistance. Diving into the depths, the rust-encrusted ship is discovered along with the signal, which continues to haunt the present like an unearthed black box recording. The deep is also unpredictable, and lively despite its ambient state, where atmospheres can suddenly cave in on themselves – ‘If You Call That Living’ – crumbling as if they were an avalanche of tears in an ocean full of salty, cascading water. A once-romantic relationship is now demolished in one swoop; crushed love.Broader in scope, ‘You Know That Place’ comes in at a mighty 12 minutes. It’s an impressive piece of music that doesn’t lack any confidence or first time nerves. Clarity comes more to the fore, with sharp, glistening tones floating on by like a smooth-to-the-touch swarm of jellyfish; no matter how beautiful they look, the sadness is in their ability to sting, wound and kill in an instant. Beautiful atmospheres send us further along the deep, where a plethora of aquatic life lies hidden away from humanity; in shyness. Our inability to breath any kind of oxygen restricts further passage – this isn’t our realm. And it’s partly because of this that the music becomes so fascinating. It’s a glimpse into a wondrous land, sighted just beyond our limited field of vision and understanding, that we’re not able to fully explore. It’s a distant, vague hope in the distance, muddied by sedimentary rock and a multitude of veiled colour.Deeper and deeper and deeper we descend; Alice falling into an aquatic rabbit-hole. There’s plenty of air in the deep blue environment, almost as if we are cocooned in a silent bubble, listening to the immersive music that surrounds us. Hidden Scenes is a treasure trove of awesome ambience, breathtaking and mesmerising in equal, dreamy measure; a real voyage into the deep. – James Catchpole for Fluid Radio

[...] Ce qui tranche avec la musique de Patryk T Kawalarz, bien moins facile d’approche , évoluant la plupart du temps de façon souterraine (ou sous-marine) comme perdue sous une épaisse couche de fumée, tel que le suggère sa pochette. À l’instar d’un mwvn, ou des Américains de Nothern Valentine (deux références drone du label drone U.S Silber), le propos est introspectif, volontiers austère ou glacial. une beauté troublante qui ne se livre qu’aux plus patients (comme au cours des 13 minutes de “You Know that Place”, morceau fuyant toute explosion paroxystique, comme pour jouer avec la frustration). Et lorsque certains éléments deviennent familiers (ces voix sur “Radio Depth”), on a presque l’impression d’une grande bouffée d’air au beau milieu de l’apnée à laquelle convie Sundrugs. on notera la présence d’une collaboration avec Saåad (décidément!) sur le morceau “If You Call That Living”, lequel ne dénote pas pour autant avec les autres pièces du compositeur originaire de Varsovie. En guise de rideau de fin, Kawalarz installe un écho lointain, “Warm like Decembers Sun”, irradiant de sa lumière pâle les derniers instants du disque, comme la promesse que dans une autre pièce se prépare déjà la suite, une nouvelle scène cachée bientôt révélée. [...] – Arnaud Lemoine for New Noise (7/10)

With an opener named “Pandora’s Box”, something magical is going to happen, you just know it. And so Hidden Scenes emerges from the darkness in a simpering wash of piercing drones that expand painfully to introduce the album, opening the box to the secrets within. Almost immediately “Moving Borders” begins to take us into new and darker directions now that the box has been opened, weaving layers of dense drone into a spine-tingling, continuously evolving fabric of sound that is at once both restless and undisturbed, like the almost imperceptible passage or motion of distant objects even at speed, the slow creep of hundreds of miles seen overhead from afar. It’s easy to see why these Sundrugs is on the BLWBCK label with “Void’s Anatomy”, a track that holds incredible similarity to Saåad’s style of music with its pained, almost human, drone wails, these creepy pulses of carefully engineered sound that almost breathe with life float in and out of the mix. “Radio Depth” is an obtrusive and somewhat unwelcome breach at first, abruptly terminating the previous track with the squeals of a radio being tuned, throwing disjointed fragments of transmissions out before slipping quickly into something much less sonically obtrusive. In fact, going back a little, “If You Call That Living” features the aforementioned French Drone duo Saåad and it’s nice to see a reinforcement of the sonic style continue as the dark and heavily processed wave samples crash slowly and mightily and the drones remain somewhat on the dark side of neutral. “Desert Tales” removes those waves and has a much drier feel, its electronic overtones somewhat more granular and grating that the smooth, sleek, dark drones of before, the original guitar sound peeking through the oscillating distortion and giving us some ground through the swirling whines and high notes towards the end. “You Know That Place” clocks in at a mighty 12:51, easily the longest track of the album, and it’s a curious piece. It retains the same basic fingerprint in its vaguely coarse drone pulses but there is something more reminiscent of Stars of the Lid here in its peacefulness and carefully repetitious melodies, the soft swells of drone easing the barely moving underlying textures along. It has that same perfect nostalgia and feelings of yearning that SotL distill in their work but Sundrugs manages to almost make it more beautiful and precious, leaving behind that pining sensation and instead languishing in the still bright and fresh memories. “Euphoria Euthanasia” brings us back into more familiar territory and if anything slows the pace down even further as the tone takes a turn for the somber; whilst its drones are far too bright to be miserable the speed and general attitude just give it a conscientious and introspective vibe. And so we progress into the final movements of the record with “Just Leave Your Backdoor Open”, an oddly thin yet rich track that pares back the number of textures to a sparse few wavering drones before doing some odd processing in the second half which creates (to me at least) a rather disorientating and enveloping atmosphere through its stereo effects. Lastly, closer “Warm Like December’s Sun” manages to live up to its name as we float ghostly through its similarly thin, bright drones in the closing moments of the album. It’s a curious record from start to finish I think, but the more I sit down and really pay close attention the less I actually want to say about it. I was previously content with letting it spin out easily for its 40 or so minutes, not quite being able to put my finger on what exactly I found comforting and soothing with it, and while looking at it more intensely hasnt lessened my enjoyment of it somehow I did actually find myself somewhat bored by the end. It’s vaguely disappointing that the best parts of this album are those that seem to emulate the styles of other artists but it’s still a very decent album in its own right. – Hear-Feel

It’s pretty evident that Sundrugs (formerly Patryk_t), a 28 year old from Warsaw, Poland, embraces the concept that it takes a certain patience to listen to drone and ambient music. The experience is based on several things, a few you can’t control, and some you can. The length of the album, the presentation and flow, how you approach your listening technique, and even the mood you have before you even hit the play button all have lasting effects. The ambient and drone genres are two of the most polarizing in the musical industry. Simply put, it’s just not for everyone, and that’s extremely evident even with recent albums such as Tim Hecker’s Ravedeath, 1972 or Stars of the Lid’s And Their Refinement Of The Decline being highly regarded and loved by some and hated by others. While it may all seem very intimidating to have the style of work you try to make a living off of be so highly criticized, misjudged or even misunderstood over the past decade, Patryk does not succumb to such pressures; he thrives over them. With a few promising albums and EP’s under his former monicker, turning a new leaf and ‘starting over’ could seem like a daunting task. Yet an artist that knows how to manipulate music into feeling shorter and faster than it actually is, is going to be seen as a success, especially on an ambient/drone album spanning over 50 minutes. There’s something rather breathtaking about thick, deep and enveloping layers of drone and ambient soundscapes sucking you in and leaving you stunned, wondering where your 50 minutes had gone and to have it seem so effortless in the end. It’s recognizable from the title of the first song “Pandora’s Box” and within the first two minutes of the second song “Moving Borders”, that there are going to be multiple moving parts, textures and layers to this album that could take several listens to fully discover and hear, and that Hidden Scenes is going open up into something truly spectacular, much like the titles allude to. From the haunting voices calling for help on “Radio Depth”, to the eerie and sinister nature of the collaboration track “If You Call That Living”, with noted drone artist Saåad, it’s easy to tell there is some kind of hidden, deep sadness running through this mans mind that had to be let go at some point in his career. He describes this album as “a night journey through a forest of experiences, towards a pale dawn which brings relief. This is a collection of hidden scenes from our life, where every song tells a different story.” What are these secrets locked away, hidden in the deep forest of his mind, that take Patryk on a journey that is filled with images of both beauty and horror? Listening to this for the first time, there was a shroud of mystery surrounding it, like a bottomless, abyssal ocean, that left me wanting to know more. With an opportunity to ask him a couple of questions, he explained to me in great detail his approach and influence for the album that took eight long months to record. “I needed to put somewhere whole, the sick emotions oscillating around me, to put somewhere the pain, helplessness, and some kind of isolation with my problem.” The meaning to several of these tracks are understandably quite personal for him. Turning these words and thoughts into sounds, or vice versa, can be such a difficult process for a musician. Yet over the course of the albums birth, it’s clear that he not only tries to shed those inner demons that influenced the project in the first place, but also mentions finding hope that many in the same position look for, in the centerpiece of the album, “You Know That Place”. While the story unfolds track to track, starting with the obvious dark, troubling atmospheric vibes of “Void’s Anatomy” and working its way towards a more relaxing, ethereal and warm state of mind on “Warm Like December’s Sun”, the album, much like the man himself, comes full circle. The thicker layers of drone begin to strip away and are replaced with pure ambient bliss. The album is very fluid and balanced and is not really dominated by any one aspect. The grainy synthesizer, the electronic textures and the heavy walls of noise all come together perfectly. This is what headphone music is all about. Even if you don’t know the back story of the man himself, it’s easy to notice even after one spin of Hidden Scenes, that full heart was put into this release that make it feel both incredibly genuine and surprisingly disturbing. What’s great is that it’s so open to interpretation, and it’s very easy to dismiss the flaws and focus on the rich environment the album produces. It’s a hell of a thing to watch an artist you have known for a while come into their full potential. There’s a new side, depth and attitude to Patryk that had not been seen before on previous works. What’s changed is the ability leave behind the burdening emotions that come with life. Leaving it all on this album, I feel Hidden Scenes is going to the the defining moment in his career. A truly honest, sincere and unsettling album, one that’s sure to leave a lasting mark on the genre for several years to come.- by Thanntos for Sputnik Music (4.5/5)

Sundrugs ‘Hidden Scenes’ stays unknowable throughout its duration. ‘Hidden Scenes’ is a predominantly drone-based album yet remains rather anxious. Fast-moving oscillations contribute to this effect. Pieces of melody give a sense of drama. With occasional respites from the more intense pieces there is a good flow between the harsher or more worried aspects and the gentler, more soothing approaches. In terms of pacing Sundrugs appears to have figured out.The aptly named ‘Pandora’s Box’ begins the album on a worried frenzied note. By taking a more high-pitched tone the song manages to approximate sonic woe. On the other side is ‘Moving Borders’ which comfortably rumbles on the very low end. ‘Radio Depth’ breaks apart the comfortable drones with uncomfortable static at first, then moving onto mournful staccato melodies. ‘Desert Tales’ takes the process even further. Easily one of the harshest long tracks it is almost industrial in tenor, with slight hints of glitch roughly halfway through the song. By far the best song on the album is the extremely slow-moving ‘You Know That Place’. The song manages to stretch out longer than anything else on the album by a significant margin. Pace helps this track out a lot. In fact after it everything appears to be considerably calmer, particularly the divine sounding ‘Euphoria Euthanasia’ which barely raises its volume above a mere whisper. At the very end the purpose of the album becomes clear, as a way of expressing anxiety, relating with the listener, and slowing removing it. – Beach Slot (7.5/10)

¿Preparados? Les presentamos uno de los mejores lanzamientos en lo que va del año: Hidden Scenes. Oriundo de Warsaw, Polonia, Patryk Kawalarz, un joven de 28 años nos presenta esta producción llena de melancolía, texturas y oscuridad. Durante 51 minutos nos lleva a un viaje profundo de la mano de dronescapes y ruidos, el cual hará que nuestra mente vuele a donde él lo proponga. Un sonido claro y áspero es lo que distingue a este álbum debut, el cual nos produce un existencialismo severo, nos deja quietos, mudos, no somos más que un objetivo recíproco de su arte. La música Ambiental es hermosa, produce sentimientos que jamás pudimos haber creído sentir.El viaje puede ser largo y tedioso para quién nos esta acostumbrado a esta corriente musical, pero para aquellos experimentados en el tema, refresca mucho de lo que hemos venido escuchando: materiales clichés por doquier. Es que, ‘Hidden Scenes’ tiene esencia propia, y mierda que eso eso hace falta últimamente. La hermosura abstracta es un factor de suma importancia en este álbum, el productor de está obra nos trata de enredar en un concepto que va de la mano con eso, cosa que desde la portada podemos notar. El sentimiento es indescriptible, y mis palabras no relatan a la perfección lo que esto produce al escucharse con headphones y un ambiente pasivo de suma relajación. Ningún track es más resaltable que el otro, todos siguen una misma secuencia, una línea que hace parecer que es una obra divida en partes, pero todas van de la mano, un viaje que provoca catarsis y una introspección profunda. ¿Monótono? Tal vez, pero sí escuchamos Drone no buscamos versatilidad ni ejecución en la técnica, buscamos relajación y paz interior, buscamos encontrarnos a nosotros mismo en cada disco que ponemos a reproducir. De eso trata, de aislarnos de esa música popular que la mayoría logran entender a la primera, ahogarnos en nuestro propio mar, o mejor dicho, crear nuestro propio mar. Cada artista nos da las herramientas necesarias con su música, nosotros debemos empezar a armar. Dos de Junio, año 2013. Y a lo largo de estos 6 meses y 2 días han sido muy pocos los trabajos que de verdad me han logrado cautivar, pero entre esa pequeña lista, se encuentra Sundrugs. ¿Se antojaron? Pueden descargar de gratis el disco, o si lo prefieren, pagar lo que ustedes quieran por él en bandcamp. Se lanzó un tiraje limitado a 66 copias por el sello BLWBCK, el cual está completamente agotado, envidia de la mala es lo que siento para aquellas personas que lograron adquirirlo, pero para los que no, por lo menos de consuelo lo podemos ostentar de manera digital. – SpaceCapitol

Now here’s an unexpected Polish assault. Out of a clear blue! This dark ambient bliss comes from the Warsaw based sound sculptor Patryk Kawalarz, who has managed to elude me until this Friday night, when I’m finally done with the schoolyear for now (I’m so tired!). This is exactly what it shows on the cover: a psychedelic, echoing journey filled with cigarette smoke and high contrast areas. Let the ethereal miasma fill the early summer nights for you. Recommended! – Weed Temple

Auf seinem Debütalbum under dem Pseudonym Sundrugs webt der polnische Musiker Patryk Kawalarz einen halbdurchsichtigen Vorhang aus neblige Drones und zischenden Noises. Dahinter ereignen sich unklare Szenen—Man ahnt Manches, sieht Schatten ziehen und Lichter flackern, taucht ab und wieder auf, und verliert sich irgendwann in den Weiten zwischen Innen- und Aussenwelt. – Klangverhaeltnisse

When I first saw this album, floating around on other blogs, the cover immediately caught my eye, I’m sure we’ve all impulse bought (or downloaded or listened) an album just for the amazing cover. A lady smoking, doesn’t seem too much, but the distortion of the picture makes it look very “dark ambient”. Now I shall focus upon the music, because once opened, this album will lead you into a whole new world. The composition is simplistic, but not amateurish, and perfectly suited for those cold, wintery days of easy listening. Some sampling is strewn throughout the album, and while this is effective in adding to the atmosphere, a little bit of extra work distorting and shaping could have helped the production. But this doesn’t at all let the music down, gorgeous soundscapes have arisen from that lovely cover, and from an amazing project. And I hope to see more soon from Patryk. – Deprivation

Le temps, pire ennemi du chroniqueur qui oblige à laisser dans l’ombre des dizaines de grands disques dont l’aura continue pourtant d’irriguer nos synapses à l’approche des bilans. Dans un format plus concis que celui des chroniques habituelles du blog, cette série de rattrapages reviendra ainsi régulièrement sur ces laissés-pour-compte qu’un certain recul nous permet désormais de commenter sereinement. Sur le thème “SUGAR SUGAR – une oeuvre narcotique, le type de drogue n’a pas d’importance” du Grand Jeu Sans Frontières des Blogueurs Mangeurs de Disques. Quand on se rétame la rétine aux radiations solaires, pas étonnant de tout voir à travers un voile de vapeur. Recrue séraphique de BLWBCK, les substances tout à fait licites proposées à la consommation libre et gratuite par Sundrugs sur cet album inaugural tranchent avec certains psychotropes aux effets plus dévastateurs couchés sur cassettes cette année par les sculpteurs de fantasmagories du label toulousain – au rang desquels Saåad qui souligne ici If You Call That Living d’un trait d’ésotérisme opaque. De là à dire après Undermathic qu’on est accro aux Polonais qui planent, il n’y a qu’un pas dans la poudreuse, mais cette fois, loin du maelstrom électronique maximaliste, c’est l’épure des drones éthérés qui préside aux pures sensations texturées de ces scènes cachées aux allures de souvenirs camés. Chargé en drogues douces, l’esprit embué erre de rêveries en regrets, entre euphorie de la contemplation et euthanasie de la perception, mélancolie et nostalgie étroitement intriquées infusant ces réfractions de la mémoire abandonnée à la prison de ses propres reflets. La résignation guette, et pourtant un certain romantisme ne cesse d’irradier de ce jeu d’ombres familières, moteur des mélodies en slow motion suspendues à l’intersection de l’espoir et de la dépression, de l’apesanteur et de l’apesanti, conscient que ce remake mental même copieusement arrosé de chimie n’aura jamais tout à fait la saveur de la réalité manquée. – Des Cendres à la Cave