Eastern Moon Rising

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Serbski muzyk Boris Kovac i jego La Campanella zapraszają na bałkańską ucztę muzyczną!

"Muzyka jest ostateczną radością przed końcem świata". To słowa Borisa Kovaca, urodzonego w 1955 roku w Nowym Sadzie serbskiego kompozytora, muzyka, multiinstrumentalisty, autora projektów multimedialnych. Znany na świecie chociażby ze spektaklu muzyczno-tanecznego "Last Balkan Tango" Boris Kovac jest jedną z najważniejszych postaci muzycznej Serbii, co istotne jest artystą z silnym poczuciem nadchodzącego końca wszechświata. Siedem lat temu założył orkiestrę LaDaABa, czyli La Danza Apocalipsa Balcanica a jego najnowsza płyta ma podtytuł "a sentimental journey into a post-historic world".

Pochodzi z Panonii, północnego regionu Jugosławii. Pisze muzykę dla kameralnych grup muzycznych. Wiele z jego projektów znajduje swoje rozwinięcie w teatrze. Od 1989 roku jest liderem Chamber Theatre of Music Ogledalo z Nowego Sadu. W latach 1991 - 1995 tworzył i koncertował we Włoszech, Słowenii i Austrii. W 1996 wraca do Jugosławii. Prowadząc grupę Ritual Nova, orkiestrę LaDaABa, Chamber Theatre of Music Ogledalo, Instytut Szczęśliwego Człowieka oraz pracując z studentami, próbuje odnowić współczesną scenę muzyczną swojego kraju. Aktualnie prezentuje dwa projekty “La Danza Apocalypsa Balcanica with LADAABA orchest” i “LA CAMPANELLA / a sentimental journey into a post-historic world”.
Boris Kovac obecny jest na wielkich festiwalach muzycznych i teatralnych w Europie, USA bardzo dobitnie prezentując swoją osobistą odpowiedź na zawirowania współczesnego świata.

Płyta "Eastern Moon Rising" wydana przez renomowaną brytyjską wytwórnię Riverboat Records to sentymentalna podróż do post-historycznego świata, tanga, walce, calypso i rumby grane z serbskim zacięciem oraz tradycyjne melodie.

Editor's info:
Decked out in ‘Blues Brothers’ shades and a shocking pink suit Boris Kovač holds his saxophone tight to his chest and cuts an elusive figure on stage. Creeping, crawling melodies emanate from the bell of his instrument, his shape-shifting horn side-winding in parallel with bandmate Goran’s gymnastic accordion lines. A light jazz touch on the drums in tandem with resonant double bass and guitar voicing propels each tune along.

Boris was born in Novi Sad, the second largest city in Serbia, which lies nestled in the crook of the River Danube’s S-shaped meander. His work as a back-bendingly flexible artist has seen him take to the stage as composer, instrumentalist, multimedia artist and theatre collaborator.

Eastern Moon Rising opens with a steamy sustained chord across the ensemble before launching into strutting first track ‘Fly by’. Striking tracks ‘My Eastern Heart’ and ‘On An Eastern Path’ take direct inspiration from Boris’ Serbian roots, drawing on the wellspring of folk music from his homeland. ‘Play Odd’ features Miloš’ somber double bass tone. Shortly a shimmering hi-hat and snare snarl into the mix with Boris’ sotto voce saxophone following close behind. ‘Pearl’ is anchored by rippling broken chords and a broadly spaced lead accordion line. ‘Pannonian Blues’ plays on an exposition of drawling melodic figures that are passed around the ensemble from accordion to soprano saxophone to guitar and finally to section where the instruments work in unison. Musically ‘Pannonian Blues’ is based upon Romanian doina style – a free-rhythm, improvisational approach to constructing melody. The track takes its title from the East-Central European region of Pannonia that belongs in part to Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Croatia. Boris describes the striking Pannonian landscape as ‘mysterious and melancholic’. ‘Simple, Simple Life…’ is a carefree lilting tune that features distant yodels and shouts that decorate the closing sequence. ‘Sini Vals’ (or ‘Grey Waltz’) opens with a sombre instrumental passage that sounds almost funeral-istic, before switching first into a peppy jazz waltz that first calls to mind French chanson and then snowballs into a brilliantly bizarre prog-rock tango feel. ‘Caravan’ pays homage to Middle Eastern tradition with ululating string textures, a softly hummed voice part and woody clarinet lines. ‘Entertain You’ is the only song on the album spotlighting Boris’ eccentric vocal growl.

Boris’ music is post-futuristic – it eschews genre and plays on clichéd expectations with its overblown drama and melancholy. As we kneel to worship at Boris’ Eastern Moon Rising, the ultimate Balkan entertainer blazes on high once again.
“It’s very mellow,” said someone just then, walking into the room during “My Eastern Heart”. “What is it?” Mellow is too strong but mellowness seems to be part of the game that Boris Kovač and his band are playing, a strategy of jazz meandering that hums and wanders without an obvious aim, but then again there might be an aim after all, you realize, as the music dips and lingers for the umpteenth time and tries to die, then recovers—then recovers—dies again—a tango comes slithering, slithering towards the usual erotic disaster or consummation—the voices of the men bawling around in the background at the end of one song (“Simple, Simple ... Life”) as if they were at a loose end one day and “Rah yah rah rah” felt like the ideal words that would express it. Then they fade.

Kovač was born more than half a century ago in Novi Sad, the capital of a region in Central Europe known as Vojvodina, which, today, after a long history of independence and capture, is an autonomous province in northernmost Serbia. The first recorded works that he composed are piquant, calm and unsettling, like a Balkan-based postmodern chamber Classical. Regional interference by Slobodan Milošević drove him abroad at the start of the 1990s. Five years later he returned to Novi Sad.

By 2001 he had devised the sound that you can hear in Eastern Moon Rising. “Apocalyptic” is the word he keeps associating with this style, using it in his titles and in the name of the band he had then, La Danza Apocalyptica Balcanica, and also in the third-person description on his website: “... Boris Kovač who was torn from the ground he stood on and who transformed the air for breathing, who tried to stop the wars with music and who mocked the apocalypse with dance.”

He brings ideas from Romanian, Hungarian, Serbian, etc, folk dance into contact with other musics that are urban and fringe-dwelling but at the same time somewhat antique, their fringes are not the latest fringes, they’re cabaret, they’re tango. They’re native contemporary urban fringe environments melted into modernity some time ago and now you have the tango appearing in dance competitions, aimed at the whole family, on television.

When Kovač‘s musicians go at these musics with an attitude of slurring degradation then they’re trying to restore an artifact that never has a hope of being restored. They are attracted, in their futility, to this mass of pre-broken pieces. Kovač himself plays a saxophone. His love for the tango makes a distinct presence out of Goran Penić Gogi’s accordion. What other music expresses melt so well? Ideas from his other albums come back in disguise. “To Entertain You” from World After History (2005) returns with the ballroom string ensemble scrubbed over by an alleyway sound.

“Caravan” submerges the accordion and buries it. Everybody is oozing and heaving and slowly clarinetting like a mammoth in sludge. The singer gives a canoodling moan and a few stray notes tootle and linger. Eastern Moon Rising teases itself with the notion of wreckage and disintegration but the teasing has another aspect as well, the aspect of the child who doesn’t want to go to bed. The cabaret cynicism is playful and matter-of-fact, not fatal or even destructive. There’s no need for destructiveness, the end is going to hit us regardless, we’re almost gone and even the music is superannuated. “Well, ladies and gentlemen,” it says, “here we are again.”
by Deanne Sole
by Deanne Sole


Riverboat Records (UK)
Boris Kovač & La Campanella
Eastern Moon Rising
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