By: Thandiwe Ogbonna
Pushing Through the Pavement, the newest release from The Polish Ambassador, comes up nothing short of his usual greatness. In fact, it is evidence of a profound progression of skill and vision since the release of Ecozoic in early 2013.
Collaboration is the name of the game, with support from artists including Ayla Nereo, SaQi, Mr. Lif, Kirtaniyas, and many more, all adding to the richness of the 15 track work. David Sugalski weaves influences from an impressive range of genres into one cohesive, and undeniably original cloth.
The album opens with “Vision Fiberoptics,” featuring the vocals of Sean Haefeli, a pianist, lyricist, and composer recruited by TPA after hearing his voice on a cut of one of DJ Vadim’s new tracks. The smooth and soulful singer compliments the bouncy, world-inspired movement, crafted in Sugalski’s signature style.
On “Forever Lost,” Lafa Taylor, an emcee based in Oakland, lays down mindful lyrics over an island-groove. He repeats the refrain, “I search all around the world trying to find my mind, but each and every time I say my, my, my. I don’t know nothing, but there’s nothing that I can’t learn,” and asks, “What you searching for?” He leaves a reminder that life is really about the journey and “forever getting lost” in the moment.
A remix of LYNX’s “Picture” follows shortly after. The Colorado-born singer/songwriter’s voice is a real treat here, its melancholy tone blending seamlessly with TPA’s downtempo version of the song.
SaQi lends his fiery trumpet energy to “The Juiceman Cometh,” a slinky, sexy number that blends jazz, funk, and hip hop to create a vibe of its own. The California-based artist is featured on several tracks, including “Gathering of the Tribes” and “Sonido del Sol” with Ryan Herr.
The album closes with “Nobody’s Alone” and the help of Yarah Bravo, an emcee with a command of four languages and a heart for the message. “The message I repeat inside my dome. The energy I manifest can build a throne.” Bravo hits it hard and TPA backs her up with equally hard-hitting soundscapes.
Pushing Through the Pavement is confirmation of TPA’s already evident ability to constantly modify and rework his sound without losing its defining identity. With each release he redefines electronic music and its limits, bound not by genre or the limitations of a solitary creative process. He is truly a pioneer, an ambassador for the potential of cooperation to yield groundbreaking, resonant results.
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