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Leb I Sol - Leb i Sol 2 CD (album) cover

LEB I SOL 2

Leb I Sol

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The second LEB I SOL album repeats the formula from the debut. The same line-up, the same instrumentation, the same producer (J.Bocek) and similar ratio between instrumentals and songs with lyrics (one less in this case ). Preconditions for the "second album trap"? No, this time we are talking about genuine masterpiece of ex-Yugo fusion! Production is better, all instruments sound better, compositions are better, and all musicians expressed their ideas more bravely. Stefanovski is not much of a vocalist - indeed, LEB I SOL are first and foremost the instrumentalists - the vocals are often moved to the second front, much like Andy Latimer did with CAMEL. But even his rare voice is better here on the second album. Side A of the original vinyl (first 4 tracks) are simply stunning: "Akupunktura", "Kako ti drago", a great crescendo of another traditional "Aber dojde Donke" and vocal hit "Talasna duzina" are worth the price alone. But the rest must not be overlooked: the most furious guitar solo I ever heard in "Marija" and a closing short acoustic song "Bonus" which was to become a sort of LEB I SOL anthem during their live performances when it was usually pretty extended. All members of the team are giving their best, especially Dimusevski's piano and synths shine. LEB I SOL music was always more melodic and skillfully played than avant-garde or explorative, so if you are looking for a tasty and technically superb rework of traditional Macedonian folk melodies with odd time signatures done in a vein of Allan Holdsworth playing guitar with RETURN TO FOREVER, search no more! It is available on a "2LP on1CD" reissue coupled with "Leb i sol" (T.Pics/PGP RTS, CD 2036, 2000) so you better go and get it!

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Send comments to Seyo (BETA) | Report this review (#37081)
Posted Monday, June 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
dark_d3@hotma
5 stars Ok,this is the best ethno prog you will ever heard!Typical Balkan(Yugoslav) sound with Rock elements,one of the best bands from Ex-Yugoslavia .This is also the end of Prog Rock in Yugoslavia,in early 80s emerged many 'new wave' rock bands that will create the best rock scene in the world of that time(and that time Yugoslavia was closer to Western Europe and USA as never before or after),these were the golden years of Yugoslavian rock,but the fall of 70s Prog Rock.Leb i Sol still existed in the 80s creating some memorable live concert as they continue to do it today.Great band with really great and joyful symphonies.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#37286)
Posted Wednesday, June 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is Leb I sol's best album and one of the best jazzrock albums ever made in Europe. The standout tracks are instrumentals "Marija", "Kako ti drago", "Dikijeva igra" and the song "Talasna duzina". Here is also the band's trademark number, the folk originated "Aber dojde donke (The message has arrived)". Vlatko's soloing on "Akupunktura" is the most incredible example of shredding I ever heard, even beating the likes of Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and John Petrucci-you name it!

Keyboardist Dimushevski contributes a lovely instrumental "Uzvodno od tuge", which sounds like something taken from a Chick Corea album. Same can be said about the keyboard intro to "Marija" and it is clear that Corea's influence on Dimushevski and the entire band was big. But still their sound remains quite original and unique. That's what made Leb I Sol so great.5 stars.

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Send comments to Aranarth (BETA) | Report this review (#39727)
Posted Monday, July 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Leb i sol 2" is the band's creative peak. Their strongest point are compact and colorful prog instrumentals with tight musicianship. The only ex-Yugoslavian 70's band that could similarly play flaming instrumentals was DEN ZA DEN or maybe also SMAK in their instrumental mood. The few vocal tracks are more soft and mellow but also enjoyable.

The most original element in their music are traditional Macedonian melodics and time signatures (prog is bread in their bones :) ) combined with invnetive fusion and prog. The only similar style was the ethno prog fusion made in Spain - ICEBERG, GUADALQUIVIR and also AL DI MEOLA.

After this album LEB I SOL's quality was gradually dropping. Thus their next two albums are worth the spin but after that they shared the same destiny as many other prog bands... However, the band's guitarist VLATKO STEFANOVSKI continued to make some outstanding solo projects from time to time. If you like LEB I SOL, some of his albums are a must: "Vlatko Stefanovski Trio", "Krushevo" (VLATKO STEFANOVSKI & MIROSLAV TADIC - acoustic ethno prog project), "Live in Belgrade" (live version of "Krushevo" is even better and preferable!), "Treta majka" (the most recent project with Tadic).

"Leb i sol 2" is a prog masterpiece worth finding (it's reissued on CD)!

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Send comments to terramystic (BETA) | Report this review (#75972)
Posted Sunday, April 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is for me the best Leb i Sol release. Music comprises jazz, folk and rock elements performed by excellent musicians in a superior jazz-rock manner.If I put aside closing vocal tracks on both side of the record which are real fillers (Talasna Duzina and Bonus) all other tracks are simply great; particularily stupendous is their arrangement of traditional song 'Aber Dojde Donke' , but I would also like to highlight 'Akupunktura' and 'Marija'. As I said, all the band members are musicians of the highest caliber, but guitarist Vlatko Stefanovski is their limelight figure. He is playing guitar in a way that is equal to those of Alan Holdsworth or John Etheridge; but he is not only guitar virtuoso, he plays his instrument with a sensibility and passion inherent to the real southernman only.For all of you who haven't yet heard this band or album try this one, you won't be disappointed.

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Send comments to bsurmano (BETA) | Report this review (#77070)
Posted Wednesday, May 03, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Leb i sol 2 is second album from these jazz-rockers, and technical skills are now even more powerfull, and they stil manage to put some emotions into it, especialy guitar, that is sometimes warm and emotive, but sometimes only techically fun. In Acupunktura, Stefanovski uses techic of shreding in way similair to later Petrucci. It sounds cool but, not much functional, nor adrenalin filled. Leb i Sol are playing what would Satriani play ten years after this record.

First great track here is Aber Dojde Donke, it has crescendo that grows for entire track and ends with a single drum hit! Guitar melody is nice, grown from Macedonian folk. Tempos are weird here, and piano is great, has some warm touches on listener. Stefanovski sings only in two songs here, and other songs repeat similair structure as as first three instrumental tracks. Dikijeva igra is my favourite tune in record, it has excellent, atmospheric keyboard intro, and even psychedelic music at the end with impressive percussion work. Ending track is good done accoustic, but too short and undeveloped song, with cool lyrics and good singing. I feel that lyrics are missing on album, and instrumental work is not enough impressive to me. Little bit more effects to Vlatko's guitar, and more psychedelic elements would make this one masterpiece of prog. But besides that, it is still worth to recommand.

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Send comments to nisandzic (BETA) | Report this review (#129806)
Posted Sunday, July 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This time I've found a true masterwork! OK, I'm not an expert of the genre neither I do know the yugoslavian prog scene deeply. Nothwistanding ears, heart and mind suggest me this is one of the finest records I've ever listened to.

Leb i Sol their second release to date offers you a breathtaking crescendo of dynamic and eclectic (in the true sense of the word) jazz-rock numbers blended sometimes with spacey atmospheres a la PINK FLOYD or ELOY (as in "Aber Dojde Donke", 4:49 mns), some other times moulded with fresh and explosice guitar's riffs in the highest prog tradition (the opener "Akupunktura" is the most stunning example) and also tinged with warm and convincing electric and classic pianos, now played soft and romantic a la CAMEL with also some delicate synth' solo and gentle touches of acoustic guitar ("Uzvodno Od Tuge", 4:10 mns), now technical and intricate as in the second part of the superb "Marija" (6,30).

The album is mainly instrumental, with the exception of the great "Talasna Duzina" and the totally acoustic guitar played closer "Bonus".

The high rating is all entirely deserved. This album is memorable!

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Send comments to Andrea Cortese (BETA) | Report this review (#134056)
Posted Tuesday, August 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Many folks (except at RateYourMusic) feel this second album is superior to the debut and I say "No Way!" I'll side with the RYM guys on this one. This album is a huge letdown after the brilliant debut. LebiSol's first album (see my review for a brief history) was a warm and charming piece of music. On the second album they apparently got bigger heads and decided they needed to be more sophisticated. So the arrangements are more complex I suppose, but in the process they have lost the charm that is all over that first album. I admit the second album has better sound due to the extra studio time they were given, but that's all it has over the debut. Perhaps it is similar to what happened with Finnforest. While I like all of their albums obviously, for many people the Finnforest debut is much more fun and the other two lost something as the music got more complex. The Lebisol debut had so much joy in the playing to compliment the bits of traditional music they include, on the second album they have given that up for a harder edge. My theory is that when a young band makes that first record they have all these tracks they've worked on for a few years, in many cases honing them live at tons of shows and knowing exactly what is needed when they get that chance at a record. Then, if they get to make a second, they are often trying to come up with next batch of material somewhat quickly, while under the gun of doing more shows, interviews, etc. The "sophmore jinx" theory? Who knows. There are still some good moments here though. The lead off track "Akupunktura" picks up right where Lebisol-1 left off with some big time shredding but even here the playing is not as inspired. "Aber Dojde Donke" is downright annoying, kind of like a 5-minute ending with one dramatic roll after another. You want it to just stop and it never does. The album's highlight is the excellent "Marija" which is an amazing instrumental that builds into a powerhouse finish, undeniably rocking. As if sensing perhaps that they left off some of the acoustic charm they tack on "Bonus" to the end, but even here they botch the attempt by leaving it hang there sounding half-finished. The tracks not mentioned are OK or average but not outstanding. The bottom line I guess is that I was not sold as much on the material here. The first album was so laid back and natural, so unforced. Here it sounds like they are out to prove something to someone-perhaps they did, but they also compromised some of the magic. Still enough to call good for sure, but for me a disappointment after the review I wrote yesterday.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#158622)
Posted Monday, January 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars

Today is the carnival procession in my town, and I really don't want to go out in the crowd. So I have too much time on my hands which I'm spending with some of my favourite music.

I just discovered - silly me - how to read older reviews on this site chronologically: click on 'latest 50 reviews' and simply change the number in the navigation bar: www.progarchives.com/Default.asp?latest=1000 . Wow. A lot of material to read, and knowledge to gain, and conclusions to make. One of the conclusion is that I'm certainly not posting reviews too frequently; it's a pity because I love that hobby, but because of my laziness I'm just not forcing myself to do it more often. Well, here it is, the review of a record I'm listening just now: it's one of my all-time favourite records, and one of the best prog rock (and jazz-rock/fusion) records ever. I mean, ever. Among the ultra-popular TASAB, ITCOCK, CTTE, BSS, SEBTP, CIA, FBI, CCCP and CNT-FAI this one stands tall.

Leb & Sol, Volume Two.

Needless to say, I love it to death, think it's a masterpiece and it will be rated with a maximum number of yellow-orange stars. And I will recommend it for / to everyone.

I concluded my review, now it's about time to start it. Let's start with a paragraph who these guys actually are, from where and when and what kind of music they play. And a few words about the album, comparations with previous and forthcoming albums. Then I will say something more substantial about the album itself, then mention a few components of art that are important in my opinion, and the emotion that it provokes in me. Then a sentence or two with some witty comment, then the conclusion.

After such a brilliant review algorithm, it's time for the input parameters:

It rulezz.

(director's cut - the end here)

Is it with one or two Z's?

If you aloud the ItRulezz.zip to extract, you'll get something like this:

LEB I SOL are the band from the Skopje, the Former Capital Of A Yugoslav Republic, and they started their career(s) in the late 70's - the prog's heyday was gone, but that wasn't bothering these guys much. Punk euphoria will be a bit delayed in this part of the Europe (this is not true). When Vlatko, band's spiritus movens, voice and guitar, was around 14, his father complained about him, because young Vlatko was playing guitar all day long instead of studying, or working, or whatever his father thought it was appropriate. 'Dad,' replied Vlatko, 'how could I possibly be anything else in my life than a guitar player? I'm already the best in Skopje.'

Kids are wiser sometimes. And yes, Leb i Sol are mostly oriented around Vlatko Stefanovski's virtuoso guitar playing. He is the closest think from former Yugoslavia that could be described as 'shredder'.

But the band was so much more than that.

First of all, they're from the pre-shredding era, and if you are looking for something suitable for YNGWIE/VAI crowd, look elsewhere (or not). Second of all, it's much better to compare him to some other guitar players from the 70's with great speed (if not so great technique): Alvin Lee, Ritchie Blackmore. But they are so off the mark. The key name is Allan Holdsworth, Vlatko's guru. Great (prog) rockin' ultra-fast solos, expressive playing, great technique, soaring melodies. A teaspoon of jazz. Not more. It's not Vlatko the reason why LEB I SOL are considered a jazz-rock/fusion band. To be very honest, he's been playing only a) major scales, b) minor scales c) blues scales, d) Macedonian-Balkan-Oriental-Middle Eastern-whatever scales. All of his life. Some smartarsey reader might conclude that the jazz itself contains mostly those scales. Get off. Let's not get into mixolydian mode; this man couldn't play in jazz combo to save his life. Okay, okay, I'm exaggerating. But you see the point.

Koki represent's the shade of jazz in the overall picture. Nikola Dimushevski, nicknamed Koki, provided killing jazz tapestries on his electric piano and synth. Rhytmical, bouncy, toe-tapping phrases, high pitched arpeggios, dreamy melodies, hollow and ethereal synth. And occasional string tapestries in a good old sympho rock style. The professional and a genius. Still one of the best in business. I saw him before the gig in 2004; he was just smearing his fists with a handcream. A skin care? No, a device for elasticizing his fingers and decreasing the friction!

Garabet 'Garo' Tavitijan, the man who is hanging out with the musicians, is equally capable of being a wide-scoped and bouncy as Koki, but much less sublime. If you think the drummer should be an octopus on speed/steroids, LEB I SOL is the band.

The man from the shadow, always well-shaved, with a shy smile, a band's John Deacon: it's Bodan Arsovski (not 'Bogdan' as you might find incorrectly in numerous publications) and his Electric Fender Jazz Rock Fusion Bass Guitar. He sounds like a...well, there's fine article on Wikipedia about trigonometry. Try to imagine Vlatko, Koki and Garo as a triangle and a silent guy, Bodan, carefully calculating what exactly is every band member contributing to the sound picture to find the perfect balance point in the triangle. Now imagine him exactly in that point, playing so open-minded, open-hearted and spontaneously it's unbelievable. Like his bass guitar harmonics.

One thing that ties them all. Folk music. Not an ordinary one; the most beautiful of all Balkan folk music; the Macedonian one.

The quartet in it's entirety is Yugoslavian finest prog moment, named after bread and salt. Their music is penetrating the human brain according to this scheme:

Stage 1. Vlatko is drilling deep, fast like an arrow into the listener's corpus callosum.

Stage 2. Garo is entering the brain on a machine that looks like a combination of a biggest bulldozer and a 500 mph dragster.

Stage 3. Bodan is entering the newly drilled cave announcing that will be actually an art gallery, not a motorway tunnel.

Stage 4. Koki is slowly examining the hole, convincing the shocked neurons that they actually like the new hole.

There is no remedy.

(review ends here, if anyone wants some additional info, send a message)

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Send comments to clarke2001 (BETA) | Report this review (#159852)
Posted Saturday, January 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I'm still not sure if I like the debut or this one better. Both are very good albums no questions about that.This band's second album would be with the same lineup as the first and the same overall style too.

"Akupunktura" has this relaxed intro then it kicks in at a minute. Nice drum and guitar work here. In fact the guitar provides a light show after 3 minutes. Nice. "Kako Ti Drago" has these intricate sounds that come and go and the tempo continues to shift too. "Aber Dojde Donke" opens with atmosphere as the guitar makes some noise. Keys come in. Drums 2 minutes in. So good.

"Talasna Duzina" opens with synths and guitar. Drums and vocals join in. I like this one, it's very enjoyable. "Dikijeva Igra" kicks in quickly to an uptempo instrumental soundscape. "Uzvodno Od Tuge" is spacey with piano and bass. Drums and guitar follow. "Marija" opens with electric piano and cymbals. It picks up with drums out front. Guitar 3 minutes in. Killer stuff. It's the keyboards turn after 5 minutes then the guitar returns 6 minutes in to end it. "Bonus" is a short piece with laid back guitar and vocals.

They started their careers with a couple of exceptional albums that would satisfy any Progressive Jazz / Fusion fan.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#318281)
Posted Saturday, November 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
4 stars The smoke of the flaming Leb I Sol debut hasn't been blown out and the ex-Yugoslavian quartet had already prepared material for a second album.It was a common practice for a band back in the 70's to release more than just an album during the same year and Leb I Sol were no exception, releasing ''2'' in 1978, again on the mega PGP RTB label.

With this album the group epitomized the fact of being one of the best Fusion acts, not only in East Europe, but worldwide.Stefanovski and his intelligent, stunning guitar work still leads Leb I Sol's fiery yet deeply melodic music, being supported by the nervous electric piano of Koki Dimusevski.The album is filled with energetic and passionate solos, technically perfect drumming and furious keyboard passages, sometimes surrounded by ethnic overtones, but mostly coming in a tight mix of Jazz/Fusion and Progressive Rock.The ability of the group to combine the music roots of the country with the rockin' attitude is more than impressive, while some tracks contain also some nice and spacey synth preludes.The vocal moments are now quite limited, giving more space to solid instrumental interplays and virtuosic deliveries, characterized by odd meters and shifting tempos.But the music of Leb I Sol had always a deep sense of melody, thus a wide audience always supported the group.

This group needs a wider recognition by the public.Clever, intricate, melodic and demanding Prog/Fusion with lovely melodies and a personal character.Highly recommended to all Prog fans.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#1054242)
Posted Saturday, October 05, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Perhaps I shouldn't do this as the album is hard to find anymore and bringing attention to it could be considered as teasing. Then again, ignoring this excellent work would only assist in letting this often fantastic band fall into further obscurity. The good news is that much of their material had been released in compilation format and likely to be still in circulation. A warning. You mat want to peruse the track list as some of their later works are just plain horrible.

Some bands start out on the weaker, Pop-ish side, but do get better as they mature. Leb I Sol did the opposite. Bursting to the scene with absolutely professional musicianship and flawless compositions on their early albums. Only to drop it altogether and turn into a totally forgettable Pop act following some changes in their line-up before band leader and exceptional guitarist Vlatko Stefanovsku has come to his senses again in recent years.

I can't recall the circumstances, but many decades ago this album has found me in an LP format and became an instant hit. I was heavily into Jazz-Rock by then, the likes of Mahavishnu, Soft Machine, Brand X, Return To Forever, etc. At this stage this band was in the same league with such giants, I kid you not. Established in Macedonia which was then still a state in the former Yugoslavia, one would not have expected such quality material performed, let alone recorded in that part of the world then. But it did happen.

The material here is pure, instrumental Jazz-Rock consisting of shorter compositions that blend together quite nicely. There are no extended pieces, no stretching out, but somehow such is not missed, either. The most interesting feature here is that one could pay full attention to every note, or just let the album run in the background on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Far from elevator music, it's soft, yet intense and wholesome at the same time working it's magic from beginning to the end.

My only reservation is that it's a very short album, but perhaps it's not the artists' fault. Highly recommended, well worth the effort of tracking it down.

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Send comments to Anon-E-Mouse (BETA) | Report this review (#1179421)
Posted Monday, May 26, 2014 | Review Permalink

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