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Home / Articles / Entertainment / Music /  Portal hopping and pierogies
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Wednesday, November 9,2011

Portal hopping and pierogies

By P.J. Nutting

David Sugalski ventures to distant galaxies and inner headspaces as The Polish Ambassador, a lone emissary on a noble and funky mission through the cosmos to spread electro party vibes to every corner of the universe.

Armed with a MIDI keyboard and an ear for Game Boy romanticism, Sugalski is most recognizable by his iconic jumpsuit: a thrift-store onesie he wears onstage with militant pride and diligence, transsee formed into a regal uniform meant to inspire galactic awe and fight the bitter cold of space travel. It’s quirky, but it’s also a surprisingly believable portal into Sugalski’s stage personality, through which he commands an array of electronics and a killer soundtrack for cruising the galaxy.

TPA’s music is driven by an easygoing attitude, exactly the kind you would want to have on a long voyage through space. What separates Sugalski most from the electro-dance pack is the endearing, halfserious fantasy he creates in a world of black-clad and dead-serious DJs. He prefers to create a carefree party atmosphere.

“If you were to look at the suit itself, you’d be like ‘OK, Swedish ski suit from 1982,’” Sugalski told Boulder Weekly. “It does let people drop their guard, and often in this scene it’s all about who looks the coolest. When you see a guy in a yellow jumpsuit, everyone can latch onto that as being ridiculous. It’s all a party. We’re here to celebrate, and I’m here to facilitate that.”

Every artist is a diplomat for one thing or another, whether it is an ideology, a cultural heritage or just the motivation to dance. The Polish Ambassador’s fat bass and booty-bobbing rhythms are not highly innovative or technical, but they are solid and inviting tunes that are so effective they border on pop. Sugalski manages to pack a ton of energy into the bleeps and bloops that compose a track. It’s that effortless style of energy that manages to get dance floors moving by invitation instead of force; in other words, diplomatically.

“A lot of times I’ll see that it’s just about who can go the hardest, who can put out the music that makes you rage the most,” Sugalski says. “But when I look around at other artists, what I appreciate most is artists that can make people get down through a variety of styles. There’s all sorts of emotions we can tap into as human beings, so why not, as artists, allow people to do that?” Sugalski’s taste shines through in his choice of remix material, giving a space-age shine to artists like Architecture in Helsinki, Little Dragon, George Michael and Manu Chao. Mid-tempo, easy-dancing electro is the bread and butter of TPA’s catalog, and from that pace Sugalski is free to stretch in either direction.

“I want to create an experience for the concertgoer, create something that they’re going to remember that’s not just some blob of bass and drums that at the end of the night you’re like, ‘That was dope!’ but you don’t remember anything the next day.”

A recently added member of the 1320 Records family, the 30-year-old Sugalski already has seven albums and a slew of remixes under his belt. The outer-space motif is pervasive, notably Homeboys In Outer Space: Episode I, a remix collection of five early ’90s hip-hop tracks with the Polish touch. Episode II will be released in January, featuring artists like Dead Prez, Lupe Fiasco and the Beastie Boys, and like Episode I, it will be a free release.

Sugalski has given away everything in his catalog for free at some point, announcing bargains to his fans via social networking — an album for reaching a certain number of fans, a new remix for some inspiring words, a debut at a show if they ask nicely.

“I always give opportunities to get stuff for free. A lot of it is paid for but doesn’t mean I can’t create some allowances on my website for maybe a few days to get it for free,” Sugalski says. “I think it’s fun for people; we live in this unique age where if enough people collectively decide that this is worth voting for, they can totally help artists out and artists can get their piece out there, but at the same time everyone gets something they want, and in this case it’s free music. It’s a beautiful thing and a great way to get music out to your fans. I’m an ambassador, and it’s my duty!”

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

On the Bill:

The Polish Ambassador opens for Savoy at the Fillmore Auditorium on Friday, Nov. 11. Dragon & Jontron, J Flash also open. Must be 16 to enter. Show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35. 1510 Clarkson St., Denver, 303-837-1482.

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