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(40:33; Dusan Jevtovic)
There is something about la Casa Murada Studios in Spain which certain musicians really enjoy using for live improvised recordings, and here we have another fine example. Recorded in 2017, guitarist Jevtovic was joined by Markus Reuter (Touch guitars® AU8, live looping), Bernat Hernandez (fretless bass) and Gary Husband (drums) and together they worked on compositions by Jevtovic where they also had the opportunity to improvise and take the music in other directions. Then on top of this quartet, Jevtovic also involved Aleksandar Petrov who plays the Tapan, a traditional Macedonian type of drum, whose parts were overdubbed in the studio (the only parts of the album not recorded live). All the musicians are experts at their craft and are very used to being in an environment where they are bouncing ideas off others. Hernandez has been a well-respected bassist for more than 20 years, Reuter has been at the forefront of experimental guitar sounds seemingly forever, while Gary Husband has played with virtually all the greats, although he will probably always be best remembered for his many years with Allan Holdsworth, one of the most important guitarists ever. As for Dusan, he has of course been excelling at this type of music for years, both in his own right and supporting other musicians, and on his Bandcamp site (where this is also available) he lists another nine albums he has been involved with. This is a complex and complicated instrumental release, yet while it can at times to be said to be challenging, it is never too far away from the norm so even those who want their music to be somewhat vanilla may get something from it. Me? I fell right in and marvelled at the way the rhythm section manages to somehow keep the guitarists in order as they move in so many different directions. It is always interesting to hear Reuter in a more constrained manner, such as in Stick Men, and like his work in that band he know when to go outside the norm and when to keep it tight, but this is Dusan’s album, not his, and the Barcelona-based guitarist is firmly in control. There are times when there is a delicate use of distortion, others when it is clean, but the music builds patterns in the air and the melodies weave together almost visually. The title track is one of my favourites, as it builds and builds, becoming ever more complex and frenetic as Husband and Hernandez respond to what is happening before their eyes and ears. A special mention must be made of Petrov, who definitely adds an additional element to the overall sound without ever becoming too dominant. He has understood his role is to embellish and he does that well. There is a lot of restraint within the album, as well as a great deal of experimentation and complexity, and the result is something I found to be quite immediate the very first time I played it and the more I listened to it the more I got from it. Yet another great album from Jevtovic, one of his finest yet.
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