1. "Astigmatic" 22:50
2. "Kattorna" 7:20
3. "Svantetic" 15:50
All tracks composed by Krzysztof Komeda
Krzysztof Komeda – bandleader, piano
Rune Carlsson – drums
Günter Lenz – double bass
Zbigniew Namysłowski – alto saxophone
Tomasz Stańko – trumpet
Wojciech Piętowski – production
Halina Jastrzębska – engineering
Rosław Szaybo – cover design
Marek Karewicz – cover photo
Adam Sławiński – liner notes
Astigmatic is a studio album by Polish jazz pianist and composer Krzysztof Komeda. It is often considered to be Komeda's masterpiece as well as one of the greatest albums of both Polish and European jazz.
Astigmatic consists of three long tracks, all written by Komeda. "Kattorna" (meaning "female cats" in Swedish) is based on a motif from Komeda's soundtrack for a movie of the same name directed by Henning Carlsen. "Svantetic" is dedicated to Svante Foerster, a Swedish poet who was a friend of Komeda.
The music combines many disparate elements, including modal playing, free jazz-inspired improvisation, precise forms, tone clusters, aleatoric structures and avant-garde use of timbre and articulation, while imbuing them with individual expression and a sense of dramatic lyricism that's been compared to late Romantic music.
Richard Cook and Brian Morton name it as "one of the finest jazz albums ever made in Europe" and include it among the 1001 best jazz records in their book The Penguin Jazz Guide. Critic Stuart Nicholson wrote that it "has become a bellwether for European jazz, with critics pointing to how this album marked a shift away from the dominant American approach with the emergence of a specific European aesthetic". Manfred Eicher, the founder of ECM Records, described it as a milestone in the history of jazz.
Writing about the 2016 reissue, FACT Magazine author Mikey IQ Jones stated that "Komeda's compositions and arrangements are beautiful and complex, and it's the rare epochal album whose power is still potent from the first listen through to its thousandth".
The compositions from Astigmatic have been repeatedly reinterpreted by Polish jazz musicians, including Urszula Dudziak, Michał Urbaniak and Tomasz Stańko.