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Leb I Sol - I Taka Nataka CD (album) cover


Leb I Sol


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.03 | 8 ratings

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3 stars After the successful 2006 reunion tour marking the 30th anniversary that was crowned with 2CD/DVD release of Live in Macedonia, many fans waited to see what was going to happen with LEB I SOL and whether they were going to record new material and continue the success story. So, the decision by Vlatko Stefanovski to not take part in the further LEB I SOL projects shocked many. Although never a bandleader in the strict sense, he was after all the guitar hero, an amazing instrumentalist, composer and performer (and occasional lead vocalist too) whom many strongly identified with the band. If the absence of Stefanovski justified the scepticism over the band's future, then the same decision by drummer Tavitijan that followed stirred serious doubts over whether we could any more talk about LEB I SOL as such! If both Arsovski and Dimusevski are legally entitled to carry on with the LEB I SOL name since they were original members since 1976, the very absence of the unique percussive sounds and rhythms of Tavitijan and of the Stefanovski's weeping guitar soli suggested that musically the new band would sound rather different.

The album I taka nataka (En. And So On) was released in early 2008 by Serbian label PGP RTS and later by Croatia Records. Among several special guests, notable is the appearance of former KORNI GRUPA and TIME vocalist Dado Topić, otherwise pursuing a not always successful solo career. Indeed, the question was whether the album would attract even less listeners if Topić name had not been featured on the album cover for obvious marketing purposes.

Now, onto the music! Composition credits are equally divided between Dimusevski and Arsovski, with one obligatory cover of a Macedonian traditional song. Dimitar Bozikov (guitar) and Srđan Dunkić (drums) were recruited as replacements and while competent players; they simply could not fill the gaping hole left after the departure of the two absentees. That said, the music is far from bad - jazz rock fans will especially like the elements of the old, classic fusion sound of the early three albums as in the opener Leb i igri (Bread and Games or in Latin Panem et circenses) with swirling piano and guitar soli reminiscent of Stefanovski. Dimusevski's keyboards and piano are dominant instruments and listening to the album for several times it appears to me that he was probably the driving force behind the continuing LEB I SOL project. He left the band in 1980 after Ručni rad and returned only in 1989 for the recording sessions of the last studio LP Putujemo, thus he missed the entire decade when the band were most popular and commercially successful in ex-Yugoslavia. So I guess he was more eager now to contribute to LEB I SOL name than Arsovski and Stefanovski who both had successful solo careers in the meantime.

Arsovski's Astrolab with a slow-paced beat, tribal percussive elements and excellent guitar-ambient sound and Dimusevski's Paramatma with its dark symphonic and jazz touches played with piano lead riff, bass solo, synth flourishes and wonderful kaval (Bulgarian flute used across the Balkans) courtesy of Slobodan Trkulja, are the highlights of the album. Sandwiched between them is a Topić's excellent singing of the traditional Si zaljubiv edno mome (A Young Lad Fell in Love) which is produced in a hit-like manner (and it was video-clipped too for TV broadcast). This is the third appearance of this song on a LEB I SOL album - previous two were live versions on Live in New York and Live in Macedonia - but this time the lyrics and vocals were included. The remainder of the disc is somewhat close to unpretentious but lame lounge jazz without much originality and cause. Exception might be the closer, a gentle love ballad Sakam da ti dojdam (I Would Like to Come to Your Place) with some really nice kaval sounds and guest appearance of a renowned Serbian actor Sergej Trifunović who recites the lyrics over the phone to a loved one, although it borders on banality. Another singing task Topić did not perform well - It's Warming Up is an undistinguished blues- rock with some funky synths and completely unnecessary English lyrics - it's downright filler.

I taka nataka will equally disappoint some old LEB I SOL fans who simply hate to see the band without half of the original membership and probably be enjoyed by some others who are less orthodox, along with younger listeners who only heard about the legends from their elder peers. This is a decent and quite listenable jazz-ethno-fusion with slight retro feel, but not too essential in the career of the band.


P.A. RATING: 3/5

Seyo | 3/5 |


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