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Sample Track 1:
"Vision Fiberoptics ft. Sean Haefeli" from Pushing Through the Pavement
Sample Track 2:
"Lost & Found ft. Mr. Lif & Ayla Nereo" from Pushing Through the Pavement
Sample Track 3:
"Nobody's Alone ft. Yarah Bravo" from Pushing Through the Pavement
Layer 2
The Polish Ambassador, Push Through the Pavement (Jumpsuit Records) Wild Joy on the Floor: The Polish Ambassador’s Positive Funk Leaps Forward with Pushing Through the Pavement

“Every night, before we go on stage, we look each other in the eye and say let’s get loose; let’s spread the love,” smiles producer and madcap musical activist David Sugalski a.k.a. The Polish Ambassador. “We dance like crazy when we perform and that’s permission for the crowd to do the same. We encourage everyone to drop the facade of coolness and celebrate their existence, no matter where they are coming from.”

Loved for his rootsy, indie EDM and sunny, shimmering beats, The Polish Ambassador springs deeper into organic, soulful sonics on his latest offering, Pushing Through the Pavement (releasing June 10, 2014 on Jumpsuit Records, distributed by CD Baby). The album’s tracks sprout from funk, R&B, and hip hop, thanks to a crew of friends and collaborators that feels like a snapshot of Bay Area underground soulfulness combined with worldwide musical allies. Progressive hip hop featuring Mr. Lif cross-pollinates with Indian and global chants (“Sri Gurvastakam” and “Koyelia”). Dubbed-out flow (“Rise and Release” featuring Raashan Ahmad) and delicate, positive R&B (“Wait for the One That’s Special” featuring the velvet-voiced Sean Haefeli) raise the roof.

It’s all part of the same shifting energy for TPA: “For me it’s a modern day soul record with hip hop, jazz, and world flair. The electronic backbone ties it all together. That’s what I’m most stoked about. You can go from one track to another, unable to classify this record as a certain style.”

Yet the vibe remains the same: Be yourself, do it joyfully, and do it sustainably.

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There’s a meet up in Oakland, where hundreds of people who love dance called Ecstatic Dance—any and all styles—congregate in a 1920s ballroom, complete with a wood-sprung floor, to do their thing. “Five hundred people go there every week. It’s a big community, a real hodgepodge of folks who just love to get down for the sake of getting down,” laughs TPA. “People come to explore all kinds of dance. You’ll have people doing capoeria and contact improv, and people doing blues dancing, and of course people rocking out unabashedly in their own unique style.” That’s where Sugalski connected with visual artist Liminus, who, in a telling statement, is always by his side on stage, rather than being hidden somewhere off stage.

Pushing Through the Pavement bursts with this kind of anything (good)-goes attitude, and while a seeming departure from TPA’s past electronic releases, is merely a leap farther along the same, buoyant trajectory.

TPA fearlessly burst onto the electronic dance scene six years ago, showing his quirkiest, dorkiest side in tracks that drew on 16-bit goodness and ’80s licks, sporting a bright yellow thrift-store jumpsuit—a look now adopted by growing crowds of fans. Yet inside the slightly goofy persona lays a serious love of melody, glowing images, thanks to Liminus, and ecstatic movement.

“I also owe a lot to Pandora,” says the Ambassador. “One day I looked in my bank account and iTunes had deposited $1000 into my account. It turned out that my very independent, hobby-album releases got likened to Crystal Castles and Daft Punk about five years ago and that translated into iTunes purchases. That was the moment I knew I could drop my day job and make music full time.” That didn’t stop TPA from giving away music on his website, where you can still find his entire back catalog available under a “Name Your Price” donation model.

The anti-formula seems to be working, gauged by his 35,000 followers on Soundcloud and 60,000 fans on Facebook. “When I took the stage at the Electric Forest festival, a throng of 10,000 people turned out, chanting along to the music,” the Ambassador recalls. “If you go back and listen to the discography, musical evolution is evident from record to record, but occasionally there is a larger evolution. When I get that type of outward validation—10,000 people showing up—artistically I give myself permission to guide the spaceship into uncharted territories: ‘Here’s what you got on this planet, but now we are going to another solar system where things are completely different.’ This album is one of those bigger evolutions for me as an artist.”

Beyond music, TPA has poured his heart and resources into his other great love: finding innovative solutions to ecological challenges. He has attempted to make his touring activities carbon-neutral, for example, and designed a straw-bale house template available to anyone who wants an efficient, affordable home. While developing a solar-powered, eco-friendly artist residency site, TPA discovered the joy of interactive creation—and ran with it.

“I’ve been meeting a lot of passionate people doing amazing things in the realms of permaculture, design, and sustainability. People pushing boundaries, seeking to make a positive impact in the world,” he explains. “The hunger for collaboration in this context has carried over to my recent musical works. That’s where the desire to have a highly collaborative album came from.”

Drawing on a community of friends and fellow musicians, TPA joined up with singers from Berlin to Oakland, with forward-thinking MCs, with musicians operating in spiritual traditions, but never losing site of booty-shaking music that most anyone can get down to. At the heart of it is that moment of dance-induced ecstasy, that pure joy of bodies in motion uncomplicated by drugs, rage, or other confusion.

“The main message of TPA music is to listen to yourself and be able to sift out the things that aren’t serving you,” he reflects. “Especially in a culture where you have so many people doing jobs they don’t want to be doing, being people they might not want to be, sometimes unaware that there might be other options. Wherever you need to be, whoever you need to be, be you. Because that is going to make this world a brighter, happier, more colorful place.”

The Polish Ambassador can be found at these festivals in May and June:

5/22-5/24 Lightning in a Bottle in California
6/9-6/11 Infrasound Festival in Wisconsin
6/19-6/22 Sonic Bloom in Colorado
7/3-7/6 High Sierra Music Festival in California
7/24-7/27 Gratifly Music & Arts Festival in South Carolina
8/8-8/10 Arise Festival in Colorado

…and on tour nationally in October and November.

<< release: 06/10/14 >>