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


Leb I Sol


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.31 | 67 ratings

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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: . 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 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)

clarke2001 | 5/5 |


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