KEXP Documentaries: The New World – Skalpel

Every week I make a KEXP Documentary. I think of them as “audio movies” (movies without visuals) that tell a musical story. For the current series “The New World”, we sought out stories of artists on the cutting edge of international sounds.

This latest week’s subject was Skalpel, a duo from Poland who sample Polish jazz from the 60’s and 70’s. They add effects and loops, hip-hop and electronic textures, and come up with a whole new style.

Most people think of jazz as an American art form, but it has a long history in Poland. During the Stalin era, jazz music was illegal to perform, but Polish artists played secret concerts at private houses. And after Stalin died in 1953, jazz clubs, festivals and artists became a big part of Polish culture.

Skalpel celebrate their heritage by cutting and pasting parts of the past to create the future. They are influenced by the way that hip-hop is created, by the bravery and rawness of punk rock and the innovation of bands who changed pop music, like the Beatles and Pink Floyd. All this makes for a sound completely unlike any other. In this KEXP Documentary, Igor from Skalpel tells the story.

Listen now:

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KEXP Documentaries are produced by Michele Myers, with assistance from John Felthous and Leah Pogwizd. You can hear all our KEXP Docs series including: Punk Evolution, Masters of Turntablism, The Heart of Soul, Pop Goes Electronic and more in the On Demand section of

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