"Everything but Classic" by Ratyński is a captivating instrumental album that seamlessly blends genres, showcasing the classical Polish music composer's versatile guitar skills. This solo guitar album, consisting of ten pieces, not only explores minimalist patterns, bossa nova, and flamenco but also includes covers of songs composed by influential artists such as Mike Oldfield, John McLaughlin, Mark Knopfler, and others.
Ratyński's performing style serves as the glue that holds the album together. His fingers, both strong and gentle, traverse the guitar strings with precision, creating a powerful yet sentimental sound. Every note, including ornamental embellishments, is meticulously executed, giving the guitar a distinct voice that remains consistent across the varying genres and styles explored in the album.
This release stands out as Ratyński's most personal yet, as he uses the guitar to convey his emotions. Unconstrained by genre norms, he shapes each piece based on his feelings, imparting a part of his soul to every track. This emotional connection breathes life into the notes and creates a profound resonance with the listener.
One notable aspect of "Everything but Classic" is its resistance to easy categorization. Most pieces hover between jazz, classical, and flamenco, making them challenging to pigeonhole into a specific genre. This genre-blurring approach adds an element of unpredictability to the listening experience, keeping the audience engaged throughout the album.
Ratyński shares insights into his creative process, viewing himself as both a composer and a discoverer of music. He considers the covers of songs by artists like Mike Oldfield, John McLaughlin, and Mark Knopfler as a repayment of an obligation for the great inspiration and challenge presented by their music. This acknowledgment adds a layer of depth to the album, transforming it into a meaningful homage to those who have influenced Ratyński's musical journey.
The album's title, "Everything but Classic," takes on new significance as it becomes a private collection of moods and landscapes shared with the audience. Ratyński builds his own narratives without words on music written by others, creating a unique and intimate listening experience.
In addition to his solo work, Ratyński's YouTube channel, "Everything but Classic," reflects his dual approach to being a guitarist—striving to be the most professional among unprofessionals and the most unprofessional among professionals. This ethos adds an intriguing layer to the artist's identity and showcases his commitment to skillful playing while challenging conventional norms.
"Everything but Classic" is a masterfully crafted and deeply personal album that not only showcases Ratyński's prowess as a guitarist and composer but also pays homage to influential artists through carefully chosen covers. With its genre-defying nature, emotional resonance, and meaningful connections, the album stands as a testament to Ratyński's dedication to musical exploration and expression.