tomáš niesner – bečvou [warm winters]

Bečva is a river located in the Eastern part of Czech Republic. In September 2020, several chemical leaks into the river caused the poisoning and subsequent death of 40 tons of wildlife in the waterway – an unprecedented catastrophe. Growing up in Přerov, Bečva was an ever-present part of Tomáš Niesner’s youth and this environmental disaster affected him deeply. In an effort to understand the river better and inspired by Werner Herzog’s ‘Of Walking in Ice’, Niesner set out on a journey from the spring of Bečva to its confluence with river Morava, a journey of over 100km. It was a romantic quest in wholly unromantic circumstances, an attempt to expiate the irreversible. 

Bečvou, the album, is a travelogue of sorts, an aural chronicle of this journey. Arranged and composed around field recordings from the river banks, it also features Tomáš Niesner on guitar, zither and modular synthesizer, unlike many of his previous releases where he’d zero in on one instrument. Combining elements of fingerstyle guitar, musique concrete and drone, it’s an elemental tapestry of enveloping textures, shimmering guitar motifs and soaring synth sounds. At one moment reminiscent of the meandering improvisations of East of the Valley Blues, at others calling to mind the ecstatic minimalistic compositions of Caterina Barbieri and oscillating between moods like dread and hope throughout, Bečvou is Tomáš Niesner’s most complete statement to date, fascinating in both concept and execution. 


“He crafts music, which is exploratory and eternally moving… Niesner naturally blends both of his faces for the first time, fingerpicking guitar minimalism with an interest in electronic music, to results which feel innovative.” – The Quietus 

“equal parts immense, vibrant, and tumultuous” – Spool’s Out / The Quietus 

“a gorgeous, contemplative record” – First Floor

released April 1, 2022 

Released by Warm Winters Ltd. as WW019 

Recorded and mixed by Tomáš Niesner 
Mastered by Adam Badí Donoval 

Photography by Tomáš Niesner
Design by Roman Havlice

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