sabato 26 novembre 2016

KATARINA II - "KATARINA II" (1984)

This is Ekatarina Velika's debut album, released when the band was still called Katarina II.
It is a transitional work, that sounds a bit like Šarlo Akrobata (but without their experimental tension), and a bit like Ekatarina Velika's atmospheric efforts (but without their epicness). Still, it contains some great post-punk songs and Milan's voice is simply majestic.

Milan Mladenović - lead vocals, guitar
Dragomir Mihajlović - guitar
Bojan Pečar - bass guitar
Margita Stefanović - keyboards, vocals
Ivan Vdović - drums, percussion

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sabato 12 novembre 2016

DAMIR IMAMOVIĆ'S SEVDAH TAKHT - "DVOJKA" (2016)

Damir Imamović - vocals, tambur
Ivana Đurić - violin
Nenad Kovačić - percussion
Ivan Mihajlović - electric bass 

Damir Imamović is a Bosnian folk singer and part of the sevdalinka current. Sevdalinka is considered by some the Balkan equivalent of blues, which is obviously a simplification, given the complexity and diversity of this musical phenomenon.

Produced by Chris Eckman, from American slowcore band Walkabouts, this is the new album of Imamović's project Sevdah Takht. 
Imamović is changing the face of sevdalinka, by removing its most important instrument (the accordion) and adding alien elements (a jazzy electric bass, Africa-influenced percussion, dark sounding violin melodies, even some Western indie music atmospheres).
It is indeed one of the most beautiful, important, and better played folk albums of the last few years.

P.S. Damir's grandfather, Zaim, was already one of the biggest names in the history of sevdalinka; he contributed to its popularisation in the postwar period.

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martedì 25 ottobre 2016

OLIVER MANDIĆ - "ZBOG TEBE BIH TUCAO KAMEN" (1982)

Propelled by the jazzy post-disco sound of the hit single "Smejem se, a plakao bih", Oliver Mandić's second album is known to be one of the most popular Yugoslavian releases of 1982 (even though I can't find its sales figures anywhere). 
Among the collaborators are the celebrated session man Nenad Stefanović "Japanac" on bass and the popular singer Bebi Dol, whose ethereal backing vocals characterize the ballad "Sve je propalo" and the dreamy funk sound of "Neverne bebe".

Mandić plays the electric piano and composes seven songs out of eight.

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martedì 18 ottobre 2016

LEB I SOL - "LEB I SOL" (1978)

Leb i Sol are without a doubt the most important Macedonian band ever and, in my opinion, one of the best jazz-rock bands of the planet.
They were founded in Skopje in 1976, by electric guitar virtuoso and occasional singer Vladimir Stefanoski, keyboard player Nikola Dimuševski, bass guitarist Bodan Arsovski, and drummer Garabet Tavitijan.

Recorded in 1977 and released the following year, this debut album had sold around 25.000 copies by the end of 1979. Leb i Sol would have enjoyed real fame only years later, but this was a promising start to their career, considering that six tracks out of nine are instrumental.

Despite spending only a few days in the studio, the band did an amazing job. Every song sounds crystal-clear, the musicianship is outstanding, the melodies are rich, the rhythms diverse, and there are plenty of parts which are perfect for air soloing.

If you like progressive rock and jazz fusion this is a must have, but I would recommend it even to those who appreciate world music, because of its strong Macedonian folk influences (i.e. the odd time signature of the opening song, "Devetka").

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lunedì 10 ottobre 2016

OLIVER MANDIĆ - "PROBAJ ME" (1981)

Although he's often the object of the tabloids' attention for his public life as a celebrity rather than his artistic work, Oliver Mandić used to be one of the most important Serbian musicians back in the early Eighties.

This debut album was recorded between Belgrad and Bern, with the help of Swiss producer Peter MacTaggart. Most of the songs were arranged by session man and keyboard player Slobodan Marković, and composed by Mandić himself, who also contributed to some keyboard parts.

Mandić had already recorded a couple of relevant singles in the late Seventies, but it was only thanks to this LP that he earned universal appraise. To promote it, they recorded a beautiful, futuristic TV special, titled "Beograd noću", where Mandić had the possibility to present his ambiguous and sexually provocative persona. 

"Probaj me" is a superbly played album. With the help of a high tech record production and a bunch of great songs, it became a classic of Yugoslavian pop-rock.
If you like funk-and-fusion influenced albums of that era, you really can't miss this one. Oliver Mandić ranks up there with Japan's Tatsuro Yamashita and Italy's Pino Daniele.

DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)