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Post Rock/Math rock • Croatia

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Tena Novak biography
TENA NOVAK formed in Zagreb in 2003. After a several line-up changes (new bass player and a drummer), the band founded their own, unique sound with Tena Novak on electric violin, Kresimir Pauk on bass, Mario Kovač - sound effects, Hrvoje Radnić on guitars, Hrvoje Niksić on keyboards (mostly Fender Rhodes piano)and Igor Pauk on drums. Marko Caklovic was doing visuals for the band.

Hrvoje Radnić (ex KWADRAT NODNOLL.) is a big fan of americana, R.E.M., VELVET UNDERGROUND and post rock and rock with more experimental approach as well. He is utilising an e-bow on his guitar, often combined with alternative tunes (sometimes combinations of guitar and bass wires). Gorgeous Tena Novak (band is named after her) is classically trained, but the influences of Croatian folk music are evident too. Hrvoje Niksić (ex SUMSKI) is your typical vintage keyboard freak, heavily leaning on Krautrock sound(s). Both Pauk members (Kresimir and Igor) are influenced by 70's rock and artists like LED ZEPPELIN and the like. Mario Kovač (ex SCHMRTZ TEATAR) is responsible for the sound effects, theremins' bleeps and burps.

They played many live gigs in Croatia and abroad, opened for several known artists, but their most notable moment in career was a tour with Damo Suzuki, a spontaneous and experimental blend of post-rock and krautrock.

They published a self-titled album (doubl CD) in 2006 for Mr. Franjić's "Slusaj najglasnije!" label, and disbanded shortly after, although there are plans for the reunion in a different line-up, perhaps even without Ms. Novak (but under the same name).

Their music can be described as post-rock with krautrock overtones. Among all above mentioned influences, perhaps CAN had left the strongest mark on band's style. Their music is slow and slowly building but unpredictable and multi-part. Recommended.

Moris Mateljan, 2008.

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3.00 | 1 ratings
Tena Novak

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 Tena Novak by TENA NOVAK album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.00 | 1 ratings

Tena Novak
Tena Novak Post Rock/Math rock

Review by clarke2001
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
3 stars TENA NOVAK's self-titled only album is a very interesting one, for various reasons.

It's a double album, which is rare considering the circumstances of releasing albums in Croatia, especially for an obscure band.

Secondly, it's a mixture between Krautrock and post-rock. I think that describes their music best.

It consists of two discs. One of them contains 7 songs varying in length from 7 to 16 minutes. Most of it is a slow-paced music with beautiful ornaments, spreading their sonic spectrum from Kraut and post rock to calm and moody violin folk melodies, picked or e-bowed guitar, space atmospheres, even traces of vintage disco. Some moments are absolutely stunning, with melodies so gorgeous and wrapped so smartly it's hard to believe. In my opinion, that was the strongest aspect of this band. They're great with dynamics too - in a word, they're amusing and never boring.

The other disc is another story.

It contains only one CD-long track, clocking at more than seventy minutes. It is called 'Nazovi Kako Hoces', which means 'Call It Whatever You Like'. I got a feeling it's what the folks from the band said to their publisher, Mr. Franjic when he asked them what is the name of the long, untitled track. But I might be wrong. It implies the title is not necessary - basically it's a spontaneous jam, which was the most common way this band was doing their rehearsals. It's the aspect of work this band identified themselves. And there are some great moments, on-par with the another disc. But I prefer more organised approach; I love the other disc much more. If...only if they were able to pick some of the best of those spontaneous ideas and make a few more songs out of it, this album would be a masterpiece. A double-CD masterpiece.

Unfortunately it is not, and a long jam drags up a bit. It ends almost abruptly with a sudden fade-out, hinting the jam continued for God knows how long. But I must say there are valuable moments here, and it's almost unbelievable how they managed to shift from mood to mood, from one pace to another, to almost entirely different sonic spectrum and atmosphere. One must wonder what would have happened if the band didn't, sadly, disbanded shortly after. If they were so strong at jamming and bursting with ideas, there would be plenty of worthy material for another three albums.

Perhaps the man guilty of setting their mindsets in jam-based expression is DAMO SUZUKI. They collaborated with him, they made a tour around former-Yugoslavia in mid-2000's, and it was all spontaneous chemistry. The bad was free to play what they want, they only needed to go absolutely crazy when Damo gives a sign. I'm curios to know how those live gigs sounded like.

So, in my opinion, this is a band that went astray because they underestimated their own songwriting abilities. But taking all the parameters into account, this is a very good record. And must mention many of the atmospheres here are underlined with Fender Rhodes piano which somewhat resembles Led Zeppelin's 'No Quarter'. Need I say more?

I feel pity I'm rating it with three stars, because it deserves almost four.

A good album, unique, and sadly, it would probably never get attention in musical world it deserves. And believe me, it does so.

Thanks to clarke2001 for the artist addition.

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