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Begnagrad - Begnagrad CD (album) cover





3.79 | 32 ratings

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3 stars Begnagrad: Konzert For a Broken Dance 1982 1. Romanticna, the Romantic One. The music opens with accordion , clarinet and a bass drone, making an elegant slow statement. Dramatic changes of pace reveal this to be programme music, illustrating a story the details of which are suggested through the shifting phrases, although the voicings are maintained. The story then becomes a sequence of evoked moods, melancholy, bawdy etc. Some fine virtuoso clarinet playing over a bass accordion ground towards the end with a freer jazzy coda. 2. Pjanska, The Drinking One. This begins as a jolly folk dance in compound time, but the lead instruments do not play the traditional melody, they shift around it before the whole thing re-invents itself as a jazzy race over staccato accordion which in turn gives way to a Gong-like tavern scene of late night inarticulate song and triumphant clarinet ending. 3. Bo Ze Ce Bo Alles Wird Gut Vieleicht. Lovely folk opening on a mandolin type instrument with the accordion, and splendid acoustic bass with clarinet. One of the finest folk melodies I know, followed by a vicious throaty sax over frantically bowed bass. This is theatrical music! The story continues in the bass after some gasping and gurgling. Folk violin joins and I am thinking of Kandinsky's early abstractions based on figurative scenes. There is a huge narrative element here which only Mike Oldfield in Tubular Bells and such brought to mainstream prog. 4. Cosa Nostra Waltz. It's a waltz with a solid trad accordion and clarinet sound, but the work on drums and (particularly) bass are jazz and outstanding. Someone was listening to Jaco Pastorius and they had huge technique. Other reviewers have singled out this track, and quite rightly; the musicianship is electric and never fails to delight. With extraordinary the whole thing pares itself down to a few light sounds in the middle before a rock bass sound encourages the trad musicians to insist on the melody. In Ireland, Moving Hearts tried for this kind of thing but without this freedom. Coincidentally the final word goes to the jaw-harp, which was used playing a reel as the close music on the Irish language radio station for many years in the 90's. 5. Narodna Kmetska Knecht ska . The most experimental track so far as the instruments exercise themselves over a ticking compound time. Great percussion leading throughout. It is easy to see Begnagrad as an accordion led band, but the drummer, Igor Musevič, is equally important. This is a standout track and positions the music firmly in RIO territory. 6. Cocn Rolla. First taste of electric guitar and it's mighty. Flying clarinet phrases echoed by guitar and then chordal vamping on accordion and Fripp-like work on guitar, all underpinned by outstanding drum and bass. Sudden folk phrases with tight rhythmic exchanges between the voices leads to an elegiac guitar based series of chords on horns and accordion, very reminiscent of Henry Cow's first album. Drums take it to the close. A brilliant track. 7. Zviggovska Whistling Ursula. It is melodic and rural, sounding almost like South African township music. The bass playing is outstanding again (Vlado Spindler). 8. Joj Di Di Joj. A real Gong-like moment. A voice, a feeling and a clarinet to echo it. 25 mad seconds. 9. Tazadnatanove, The Last New One. Starts like jazz. A big theme and great playing on sax and electric bass. These two alone should have several ECM albums to their names. And the prog feel grows as they let the accordion in and there's echoplex effects to give a feel of minimalism at thensame time as the big rock drumming gets going. This track is a standout for all Canterbury fans, and a superb end to a brilliant album. In summary, this is an extraordinary album featuring some wonderful playing, particularly by the bassist, Vlado Spindler. The attempt to move folk melodies and instrumentation into a new sphere is brave and works as well as it did in Ireland with Moving Hearts, but here it produces much more interesting music. Folk enthusiasts might begin with the first three tracks, proggers start at track 4. Thanks to Steve Davis of Phoenix FM and Ronan Griffin for leading me to this album.
jerryverrier | 3/5 |


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