I clearly remember the day when I had discovered Paco de Lucia. It was a whole other world for me, and I got lost down this rabbit hole in YouTube. His flamenco and Spanish guitar flourishes, licks and embellishments seemed to grip me, swerve me with the melody. Nostalgia took over today as I listened to Ludwik Konopko in his new album, Raia.
Raia is what can be described as a descriptive mosaic or perambulation across different genres of music. Konopko displays his virtuosic style with years of experience aiding the fingertips to float across the fretboard. His songs merge his guitar heroes with his own developed style over scales that we’ve heard, but reimagined by a genius.
Bingeing in music-track by track
The opening track sets the mood in full, with a wave of synth engulfing the background while intense flamenco guitar work enters in spectacular fervor. It instantly transports you to jazz fusion & the Spanish touch is evident. Raia is just a teaser for what emotions Ludwik can manipulate.
Choosing another recognizable melody, Konopko trounces the idea of predictability with detail. The Colours has a melody which is simple, yet unheard of. It creates a vortex of its own, the importance of the guitar with the self-manifested pedestal it gives itself due to the sound. The synths do the trick as well, killing any dead space of silence and creating a rich texture to revel in.
Ludwik Konopko gives blues a fusion twist with his third track, Olin Blues. As the track has a fairly followable melody, Konopko switches up the skill level for gentle flourishes and a smooth, subtle synth in the background. It doesn’t demand attention, yet does a great deal for the track.
Detailing microtonal symphonies
Crafting another beautiful party symphony, Pay & Play displays the extremities of Konopko’s guitar blueprint. To me, this track is Ludwik’s Entre Dos Aguas, chock-full of savory caparisons. The piano work, though subtle in the background seems to complete the maze that Ludwik Konopko deciphers.
Zoa is an absolute delight to listen to. It has accompaniments from flutes, maracas, all while the guitar shines. The synths once again eat up the dead space, making sure the guitar work is like filigree on stone-adding to the sorcery of Konopko’s guitar work.
Somehow switching to an indie style guitar tone, it is unbelievable how many genres Raia dissolves to create a tapestry that unites music. Diody has all the tonality of the blues, but doesn’t linger on the minor scale for a mid-song solo. It richly uses the entire harmonic, creating fantastic rhythms and melodies in the process.
Showing us what he can do with just acoustic power, Episodes combines an emotional tone of Eric Clapton’s famous song Tears in Heaven & the Bee Gees Words. Sharing the melodic frequency, he swerves within several symphonies, creating another masterpiece in a near perfect album.
Using the maracas to create a moving train effect, Nim Zadjdzie Slonce is another wholesome song that shows us the power of just bare instruments. As the drums enter, Ludwik Konopko ruffles the soul inside with some exquisite Al di Meola style guitar work. Fantastic track.
Closing a powerful album
Relying solely on the energies of the guitar for a powerful intro, Twin Peaks tells a story of distance, just within a song. All these tracks are instrumentals, yet are laced within them profound messages that morph with each person’s mindset. Chiseled to perfection.
The final track is I Have a Question, the only one with lyrics, and for good reason. As Ludwik Konopko provides the background, we hear a young voice singing with innocence, but with mature lyrics. The mother replies, creating a dialogue between the mother and child. Embellishments grace the song, making it a completely different experience, even outside the album.
With such an impressive resume behind him, Ludwik Konopko is adamant on creating something worth collecting, putting his heart and soul into it. Performing since he was 19, the quality is clearly discernable in the performance he has put up in Raia. This might be his Elegant Gypsy.