Pure Phase Ensemble is an international music collective, created especially for the SpaceFest festival in Gdansk, which takes place annually in December and is organised by the Nasiono Association. The city of Gdansk plays host to this blossoming music festival each year in the first week of December, at which time numerous select musicians from Poland and abroad gather to take part in a special workshop series. They collectively compose a concert’s worth of music, which they then present live to the festival-goers. Each year, this unique performance is recorded live and subsequently released as an LP.
The programme for each workshop is jointly curated by Ray Dickaty, a British saxophonist improviser and former member of Spiritualized (1997-2002), and Karol Schwarz (KSAS), who also manages Nasiono Records. Along with these two key figures, every festival involves a new musical director – a legendary, internationally recognised musician, who is invited to co-curate the workshop.
During the latest SpaceFest, Mark Gardener, the frontman of celebrated shoegaze pioneers Ride who also recently released an LP with Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins), occupied this seat of honour.
“For me, this it interesting – it’s perfect because it reminds me in some ways of how some of the early Ride songs came together… I didn’t come in with a script, nor does Ray. There is no pre-work on this. It was just completely spontaneous,” explains Mark Gardener. “Sometimes music like that is good before things get thought about too much and worked on too much. That can kill the energy sometimes. Of course some things have got to be worked and developed, but in this scenario, with such little time and to get an interesting set together, I think it’s been good to keep it fresh and not over-worked.”
“The way we’ve arranged the music – for me, it starts off in a certain mood and goes through a tremendous amount of emotions and then returns to the familiar mood we started with at the beginning. It’s a perfect circle of music,” says Ray Dickaty.
Demonstrating just what an international effort this has become, Canadian-Ukrainian dreampop duo Ummagma has also created an exclusive radio edit for one of the LP’s lead tracks “Happy Dancing Woman”.
Mark Gardener (Musical Director, Ride) – voice, guitar
Ray Dickaty (Musical Director) – saxophone, flute, korg monotribe
Jacek Rezner (Wilga) – drums
Kamil Hordyniec (Wilga) – bass
Michał Pydo (Hatifnats) – voice, guitar
Michał ‘Kostek’ Stolc (Cisza nocna) – synths, backing vocals
Karol Schwarz (KSAS) – guitar, voice, korg monotribe, phase