Thursday, February 28, 2013

Music Thursday - Heartwarming Discoveries - Eversham

Mid-October last year I got notification from Twitter telling me that I have a new follower. That new follower was @EvershamMusic and in the description there was a link to their album, either through Bandcamp or free from Mediafire.

I downloaded the album to have a listen...

.. And then I downloaded everything there was and turned the Internet upside down to find everything there is about this band.

There are things like this - on Eversham YouTube page:

This is a video for opening song Barricade from their debut album Eversham (self-released, 18Jun2012) and it is a piece of art, both the song and the video. It pays to watch it in HD because there are details so intricate and wonderful you will want to watch it all, everything and over and over again.

The album Eversham opens with Barricade and it continues with 7 more songs that are one better than the other - they flow and shimmer with exquisite auditory aesthetics, summoning emotional imagery so rich and colorful almost bordering on pain. So rarely I find myself thinking: "My God, this is so beautiful if I died this instant my life would be complete." but this music does just that. Second song, Symmetry, also has a lovely video, and then there is my favorite Of Southern Skies with lacrimose feel of times spent chasing uncatchcable prey, of mist and sleeping under too big of a sky. Trees Don't Grow in Old Dead Countries has fascinating electronic drone squeal in the beginning and a portion of old-school metal riffage both fresh and quaint at the same time that it brings shivers of excitement every time I hear it. And it goes like that to the end: Melancholia, Immortal Lies in Mortal Bodies, Spiritual Revolution and The Absolute.

They also have one demo EP called In Dreams and you can also download it from their Bandcamp page. This material is almost just as good as Eversham album, if maybe a bit less technically perfect production-wise, but excellent nevertheless. There are even couple of great videos, like the one for We Are All Ghosts Pt.2:

Here is one lovely interview on their tumblr homepage and if this piques your interest there is A LOT of stuff there to read, hear and watch.

Of course, there is also page to check out and lastly, one more video - live rehearsal footage - that is so beautiful, so crystalline in sound and so captivating to watch that it just feels my soul with bliss for me to say; listen, notice and adore - Eversham!

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Issue Of Yoda

I have been unpleasantly pensive past few weeks, constantly re-assessing and re-examining my own current socio-emotional status and taking care of my assumed position in the relationship world. During this time I felt in acute distress and I adjusted my activities to capture most of usable attention to read and rest and listen and rest and socialize and rest and watch and rest and not to lose the string that ties me to the current moment.

So I took on something that waited for my full attention for quite some time now:

Star Wars.

I have watched the movies before - some long ago, some multiple times, some in succession and some disconnected from its Universe as a lonely orphan - but I never watched them all, one after another, taking note both of what happens in the story and in the world that brought forward the franchise as a whole. Now that I have done that I can say that this was time well spent and I am pleased with this investment. Both first three films made and first three chronological films are made well and all of their inherent silliness aggrees perfectly with their Zeitgeist.

Older three (1977., 1980., 1983.) are funnier, more playful, relaxed and made finely attuned to idealism of youth, hedonistic outlook and heroism - just like one would expect from younger writer unburdened by expectations. Younger three (1999., 2002., 2005.) aren't playful anymore, they're too CG, too burdened by expectations and bitter at times - bearing the hallmarks of older creators, ones who already had more than their share of dissapointments of life.

As much as first three (older ones) were bravely put into the future, shiny, metallic and blatantly outwordly second three (younger ones) were obscured and conservative, slow-paced and filled with turmoil. That age/experience propelled duality actually works quite well in context of Star Wars story yet it is also captivating, both beautiful and heartbreakingly sad.

One thing I just cannot understand, especially in context of saga with wildly dedicated fandom, is the issue of Yoda.

As I see it, both interacting with fans or reading available texts online, Yoda is a character that enjoys reverence and devotion, being admired and cited and regarded as a symbol of goodness, wisdom and heroism/masculinity (regardless of his looks) - and yet - this whole universe and story plot rests on his mistake and failure to be that what he's praised for: good teacher and observant jedi master.

No matter where you start with the story, watching movies in chronological order of story or chronological order of emergence (release date) he gives one stupid and lousy piece of advice over and over again:

"Train yourself to let go... of everything you fear to lose."

"Attachment leads to jelousy. The shadow of greed that is."

It even resonates through his disciples, when Obi-Wan says to Luke: "Your insight serves you well. Bury your feelings deep down, Luke. They do you credit, but they could be made to serve the Emperor."

Basically, what he says is: Caring is wrong and emotion is your downfall. To be good guardian you mustn't care, even and especially care about ones you protect.

WTF? Who gives advice like that?

Advice like that comes from satiety of mind and impotence of spirit.

And to top it all off he gives it to already troubled people, disstressed and afraid - people who are in his constant care and visibility range and ones whose sorrow and distress he could not, should not overlook or dismiss as unimportant. When you have prophet/savior/future of your caste and your world in your tutelage you just do not give such crappy advice being 800+ years old.

As much as this notion of emotion being powerful goes, it can really go both ways - to motivate or to handicap - and this is where guidance and superior experience comes into play. Yoda clearly fails in this respect. What surprises and angers me is this ridiculous apathy and obedience of fandom that in blatant disregard of the evedence shown holds patriarch in further reverence - and no less in real life(!!) and not canon of the story (since story of Yoda's death portrays end of Jedi as they were known).

Silly stuff.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Music Thursday - Living A Dream - Zvonka Obajdin

I've known Zvonka for about as long as she is publicly a musician or maybe a wee bit longer. I know her as a wife, mother, banker, divorcee, girlfriend, mathematician, child, best friend and aspiring "singer-songwritter in constant search of people to cooperate with, both on my songs or somebody else's." She plays guitar and piano and she does it mostly performing her own materials. Beside solo work she has a band called SVEMIR (Universe).

I wrote about her before - when we were both re&considering our dreams and their place in the world - and I am constantly drawn to her work even though I incessantly tell her: "This is not my cup of tea."

Actually, it is exactly the cup of tea I'm intimately familiar with. But let's not tell her that.

Rather, let's have her present herself to us on this fine Thursday.

DF: You’re actively pursuing your music interest in the last few years – when you’re all grown up and real adult – and you’re doing it writing your own music and lyrics with no small success. How did this priority switch come about?

Zvonka:  Well, although a bit late, I finally grew up and decided to live my life instead of somebody else’s. I do not know how to put it better but... that it took a long, long time for me to accept to be – me.
It was very odd and pretty scary to be 35 and tell somebody all of the sudden – anybody, even to myself – “I am a musician”, and not to have anything behind that notion except maybe 2-3 recent song drafts and rudimentary knowledge of playing the guitar. Not to have almost anything behind me except that and a feeling that this is what I really would like to do all my life, whatever may happen. Also it was scary listening to people say that I’m “throwing away everything I have worked so hard to create” –career, companions, life habits - but of course, nothing was thrown away that wasn’t already redundant. It is hard to remember that feeling or to describe it well because in this 5-6 years my life changed so much, in so many ways, that remembering it feels like a "past lives" séance [laughs].
I’d like to say one more thing about that. I could not have done it, release the album and have so many successful performances and great band [!!] and everything if supportive people were not by my side at that time. Friendship and support are things that count and I am grateful to everyone who gave me their support.

DF: You learned to play the piano as a child and you never played it until now. What was it like - hiding music inside you for such a long time?
Zvonka:  It was like keeping your head below the surface until you run out of air.
It was all documented in a blog I wrote for years (about 4, most intensely from 2006. to 2010.) and I removed it from the web and archived it for personal use [smiles], and maybe, with one future release some of those scriptures will re-surface [winks]. 
DF: As much as I know you I know you are vastly tolerant person but also Obersturmführer in work process itself - how is it working with musicians as opposed to working with bankers and businessmen? Is this yin to your yang, does it create versatility in your day, or does it frustrate you a bit sometimes?

Zvonka: Working with musicians is EXCELLENT! People who really love music are hard-working, diligent people. I do not know many people who present as archetypal  decadent R’n’R stars. Most of people I work with are very committed to music; they work, practice, get on time to rehearsals, try hard, are enthusiastic, passionate, good-willed… that’s what it looks like when you love it, right? [smiles] Man, you should see us rehearsing – some times we work for 4 hours with no pause and it catches us unprepared that we have to leave so other band can use the rehearsing space – we could play and work more. [smiles]
I did work with some people that, although talented, were also uninterested in real work or absent in some way… but that people usually gave up on themselves before I could even give them up. As a rule, people propelled by passion do everything and make time for everything, even if they are not naturally organized or systematic.
I’m a big believer in synergy and stuff like that, I love playing with lot of people, I love exchanging ideas and mixing energies, I love when we have guests on stage and above all else I love and appreciate what I get from other people, what they give me through their playing with me or when they participate in some way.
I have to say that in current band lineup you just cannot tell who’s the most diligent one – everyone is willing to participate to the fullest and they do not mind hard work. Similar climate exists during co-operations with different bands.

If I would have to compare it with my day job (IT & banking), I could say that music people are even more trustworthy and more industrious – because their work is one of love, what you cannot always say for this other segment. Some are just “working it off” and that’s the part that frustrates me the most.

DF: Album SVEMIR was released in 2012. and is still highly praised, but – after the love audience showered you with during every performance of “Ne sjećam se kiše” how did it happen that it wasn’t on the album?
Zvonka: Well, there were some conceptual and technical issues at the time but both album and Ne Sjećam Se Kiše single are available for download form our bandcamp page.

DF: You have played A LOT lately – both you and The Band – and you’re getting more and more relaxed and finely tuned as a team. There's already bunch of videos uploaded to Youtube. What are your plans for 2013.?

Zvonka: In the nearest future there will be SVEMIR at Brazil on 08Mar2013 and at 30Mar2013 at Spunk/Prostor Do but we intend to apply to every-each-one million festivals in the region during spring and summer and we’re also going to play in clubs both in Zagreb and around and we’ve already started negotiating that [smiles]. Great thing about this band is that we can play in many different spaces and in different acoustic and electric setups. We – four of us - can fill up any classical band stage, but on the other hand we can use a bit of electricity and have electric guitar and bass plugged in and I can play acoustic guitar and Matko can just use shakers, tambourine or bongos – and we can play our whole repertoire like that. We can also play in smaller number, if someone is sick or something, just three or two of us and I can play solo, just like real old-school singer-songwriter [smiles]. That’s what I call Band!

And that's what I call beautifully fulfilled person on the fast track to become extremely accomplished musician - so, hear her sing some more, come to their concerts, notice and adore!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Music Thursday - Lost in Music & Found Dancing on the Road - Saša Huzjak

I've been attending concerts for quite some time now and I'm sure you've noticed my concert reports, however nicely written at times, are often accompanied with just dreadful photos.

Why is that?

Well, I love coming too early and snooping about rehearsals but it doesn't seem ok to me to photograph artist in this "private time" so I rarely do that. After the concert starts I care just about the sound. I stand wherever the sound is best and I do not care much if I see performers at all. So I take all my photos from wherever my acoustic sweet spot is.

But, on the other hand - I love seeing good concert photos! - so today let me introduce one of the masters in the field, Terapija co-founder, music enthusiast, concert photographer and my dear friend Saša Huzjak.

DF: "About" page on your official web says: "I've been concentrated mainly on music, especially concert (live performance) photography. I started probably as most music photographers do - because of the pure love for the music." So, do you remember which concert was the breaking point in which you stopped being concert-goer with a camera and started being professional photographer?

Saša: Firstly, out of due respect for colleagues photographers who live only from photography (feat I immensely admire, especially today when it's so poorly paid job), I'd like to point out that, beside photography I have web-design as my "day-job". But, it makes me very happy to be able to make professional turn into photography and earn more of my living doing that.

As for your question, I had that desire from first concerts where I wished to capture that "live performance energy" at first filming it and later using cheap digital camera. Although I completely agree that it is not equipment that makes the photographer, but the other way around, good equipment is nevertheless very important for concert photography. In most cases, especially in smaller clubs, there's usually not enough light so professional equipment, for nice photographs no matter the conditions, is essential. I was so disappointed with first results I even stopped photographing concerts for a period of time and then I bought my first DSLR camera and my love was rejuvenated. In the last few years as this became serious engagement I invested a lot of money into equipment and I believe it returned in the form of better photos, more contact and cooperation with different media, bands and festivals.

DF: Do you know during the concert/shoot which photos are going to be the best? Do you sometimes download them to your computer and have few groups like: "I like these best" and "This are best for publication"?

Saša: Sure, sometimes while pressing the button I just know this is going to be The One. Photo of Vuča from Darkwood Dub thanking the audience during Trenchtown Festival in Palić (Serbia) was a moment like that - I knew that instant I've captured a great photo. Even today that is one of my favorites.

Digital technology today eased the process quite a bit - you can immediately check the photo to see if there's enough exposure, if it has contrast and the like, so everything is simpler. After the concert I always make first selection, choose and process best photos and send them to media that commissioned them. But, it happens that I return to those photos later and find some jewels I did not notice at first [smiles].

About  the groups you mentioned in second part of your question, absolutely! Depending on where photos will be published there are different standards: newspaper photo implies a degree of information about performer/event and art photo can be completely void of that, like blurred expressionistic detail of a guitar, or something, that band will be thrilled to use as an album cover [winks laughingly].

DF: One of your special interests and a group of wonderful photos that can be seen on your web page is your project "Lost in music". How come you're not lost in music while your subjects are? Is it difficult to be concentrated like that?

Saša: I have to admit that while I'm taking pictures I'm completely lost in visual part of the performance and fully concentrated on performers. At bigger concerts there is usually "3 songs, no flash" rule - what means that us photographers can photograph first 3 songs of the performance with no flash concentration usually isn't a problem. Things get trickier on longer concerts with many bands or during festivals spanning over couple of days, but it's all in a days work and I do not pressure myself over that.

DF: Lately you've been working a lot with professional dancers - do you see it very different from concert photography, dance being much more visual than performing music? Do you prefer working with that permise of visuality?

Saša: It makes me very happy that I started working with Plesna Izba Maribor so soon after I moved to Maribor (it's been 8 years already). Plesna izba Maribor is dance institution with 26+ years in educating young dancers, producing dance shows and organizing dance festivals. Through their work I first started to photograph dancing and I'm endlessly grateful for that [smiles].

Dancing is my second great love in photography and I would like to work within it even more, same as with theatre photography, and there are many similarities with concert photography: it all happens on stage, with similar lighting, photographer has no influence over his models and everything happens very fast. On one hand dance is more visual, as you have already noted, but on the other hand dancers have their story that they perform with no regard to photographers and audience, while concerts have that great dimension of interaction with the audience, and occasionally ... even photographers.

DF: Your photo "Bodies in Urban Spaces" was recently commended in the Arts & Culture category of this years Sony World Photography Awards - tell me, how many people are there in that doorway and how did they get stuck like that? [Laughter] It was taken during workshop with Chris Nash, one of world renowned masters of dance photography - was this part of the workshop? Does that explain other people holding cameras in the picture?

Saša: Workshop with Chris Nash was one glorious experience, partly for Chris himself who is one great "down to Earth" guy and professional and partly because all of colleague photographers I met there. Not to forget young and talented dancers!

Workshop was part of Front@ modern dance festival during which this spacial installation, authored by Willi Dorner, took place. That means that installation itself was not part of the workshop but it was great addition to photographing young dancers in the street [smiles]. So, young dancers were going through Murska Sobota performing this installation and - the other exhilarating thing was the audience! For such a small town there was quite a crowd that followed the installation through and over the town. Something excellent!

This photo to be commended on this prestigious photography contest was nice surprise (although I secretly hoped that would happen for one of my concert photographs) and I am very pleased, nevertheless. This could prove to be a sign for me not to limit myself just to concerts and dance shows but to photograph more of life - you never know where that can take you!

DF: Today being Valentine's Day I have to ask you something special... You recently made wonderful promo pictures for Slovenian-Croatian band Helika - one that has recently included your "better half" Špela Huzjak - how was it, working with your spouse?

Saša: Thank you, that was one great experience because Dario's (singer & lyricist) music is really great and I loved it from the first time I heard it, even before while he was still making instrumental music for student films of his Zagreb friends (you can hear some of that on Helika bandcamp page). Dario moved to Maribor from Croatia pursuing love, same as me, us meeting was just a question of time [laughs].

So, guys recorded this album and my Špela joined them and became, with her violin and electric effects, vital addition to the band. That was really visible during their recent performance at Maribor when she could not play due to illness - it was great, but with all hands on deck it sounds even better.

About working with my wife... maybe that would be an issue if this was her project or if she was only one I knew from the project, but since I knew guys from before and they're all great people our partnership did not have much influence. Maybe it would be better said that her feminine energy transformed some of our ideas. And maybe we're both such professionals we don't let our personal relationship interfere with our work [laughs].

DF: Living in a time where every phone has a camera we see bunches of wannabe photographers and the truth is that lots of this photos are simply not good, especially when talking about pictures that should serve musicians as promotional material. Helika band must have loved such a valuble addition - getting professional photographer along with accomplished musician - I hope you struck a good deal there!

Saša: [Laughs] That's one sensitive subject for me, surely! I know what you're talking about and I have to admit I am often surprised by poor quality of all kinds of photos, not just music ones. Sadly, I think that it mirrors a bigger problem of our time - world today functions according to: "faster, stronger, more" mantra where quality is not so important as speed and quantity are. We live in extremely visual world but it seems that our tolerance for kitsch rose sky-high. I see that also in my day job, design. Most of Today's newspapers publish photos that don't even have basic technic conditions for published media fulfilled. What is important is who is on the photo (even if it's some local starlet that noone will remember tomorrow). I do not like that - I prefer for the picture to have value apart from current moment - whoever there is in the picture, world renowned celebrity or local demo band. You can clearly see the difference at yearly publisher awards - they feature beautiful photos and it is a shame that they do not come from daily papers. But of course, other issue responsible are finances - it is cheaper to pay 50 kn for cell-phone photo from readers than it is to pay professional photographers. To return to your question, young bands are no exception there, especially today when no established record labels are standing behind performers as they used to. At that time labels financed visual image of the band because they knew that will help with sales.

If we're talking about photography itself I do not think that it is wrong to be "wannabe" photographer. I think that is a legitimate road that I myself had walked upon. When looking at who is to blame of the poor quality I would say editors, and lack thereof. There is nobody telling: "Look here, I cannot print that because this and that, and what are the grounds for a good or bad photo. If there was some such voice then young aspiring photographers could learn and improve their skill. But, due to issues I already mentioned it amounts to a bigger problem.

As a music photographer my ultimate dream is to travel with the band I love and document their tour, life on and behind the stage, on the road, faw away from home - but not as a paparazzo but as a life documentarist, like David Belisle with "R.E.M.: Hello" or Bob Gruen with The Clash, or Irfan Redžović with Dubioza Kolektiv. As far as Helika is concerned they told me I'm their "fifth Beatle" - which is a great complement to me and I believe working with them will get me closer to my dream.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Snow globe - Stronghold and Nasty @ Spunk 06Feb2013

Human mind is a glorious thing.

Some time ago my car broke down and I've gone to the shop to inquire about somebody looking into it. It was still under legal guarantee and also I can be quite civil when the need arises so I went there in good faith and with nary a worry in my mind. I spoke to sales representative, we looked over the car, done paperwork and it all went well. The only thing left for me to do was to come in early next morning and leave the keys and car to service personnel and I went home serene and pleased.

Next morning I walk into the shop at appointed time and there over the counter is the most gorgeous guy I've ever seen.

My knees felt weak. I blushed. My palms turned to ice and all of the sudden there was so little air in the room I had to breathe twice as much to get any oxygen.

He spoke and what came out was one most pleasing, reassuring, velvety, perfectly appropriate voice to go with that body.

I fumbled with the keys. Searched for the documents. Tried to get my bearings at least for the purpose of finishing simple conversation. The air was electric. Time stood still.

In a few moments we finished our dealings, smiling and shaking hands and arranging for me to be contacted immediately as the car is fixed so I could get it and go along with my day. It was a pleasant exchange and it felt shared. We went about our business.

I never saw the guy again but I kept this scene preserved inside myself as in a snow globe.

Beauty and appropriateness. Surprise. Excitement. Arousal. Velvet. Electricity of air and feeling of connection.

I told this story a thousand times already and I will tell it a million times more. I just put my hand inside me and grab my snow globe and shake and reality becomes engulfed in billion shiny sequins of pleasure and hope.

But... why am I telling it now?

There was this punk gig last Wednesday.

I've felt a bit down lately so I thought some Belgian/German downbeat hardcore could lift my spirits and there was this Nasty concert announcement. It was supposed to be at Attack! but luckily there was a shout on event page telling that the gig was moved to Spunk. So, when I'm already going to Spunk, why not have a drink with a friend at Prostor Do.

So I met my friend there and we had a beer and chatted a bit and she tells me this and that and my melancholy melts and there really is a crowd in front of Spunk and in the next minute concert is starting and we go over and....

.... and this year Christmas comes really early for me because there, center stage, stand no other than Stronghold!!!

I've listened to them in January last year as they were opening for Pure Stems Pack and I loved them, then and there. I loved them so much I even got myself to contacting strange people to procure Stronghold's only and unattainable release. I loved them so much I even made a visible note to myself to try and see them again.

And here, now, unexpected and unannounced, on the day I seriously need my spirits to be lifted, there they are!

And they were f***in' great! Although Spunk acoustics are dreadful and there is too much smoke and not enough light they were great and there were so many good-willed people there and so many true fans and mosh pit and everything. They even had new (and extremely nice looking) T-shirts. As my friend bolted immediately as they started as "this was all too loud" for her after their set I went out alone to get some air and met a friend I haven't seen in a millennium so we got to catching up a bit and later we got back in to see if Nasty are going to start soon and as it happened my friend knows Stronghold frontman so we got introduced.

... and this is why I was telling that story from the beginning:

In all this happiness and excitement and pure joy served on the day of my thorough discontent there was even icing on the cake. I could hear my sentimental and overwhelmed self inside as I was shaking guy's hand: "OMG!, OMG!, OMG! Heissocute! Heisevenmorecuteinpersonthanheisinadistance! Hishandsaresowarm! I'mneverevergoingtowashthishandeveragain,ever!"

... and this is the moment that got glassified for my new snow globe.

In the end there even was Nasty concert.

They had some problems getting here as they were waylaid by some skinheads in Bulgaria (or so I was told) and they looked seriously tired and worn out and I was moved with their presence and with their candor. Singer talked quite a bit and he spoke a lot of love and peace and goodwill and he thanked us for being there and it felt awkward and lovely at the same time. And then they played and jumped their hearts out! Well done, guys!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Music Thursday - Fjodor

It is Thursday again so the time has come to reveal my absolute number one of Croatian rock bands to notice and adore and it is Fjodor.

As some of you maybe remember I watched these guys play before Zechs Marquise and I was flebbergasted with their mad skillz and gregarious delivery. At that time new album was in the works and there was to be a gig celebrating its release next Saturday so I contacted guys to ask them a few questions and they agreed to speak to me. Aljoša kindly took the center stage in representing the band.

DF: According to various sources available online Fjodor as a band exists from 2005. or 2006. and lineup was changed quite a few times - solve a mystery for us; how did it go down?

Aljoša: Band was formed in 2006. and there were a few changes to the lineup and our SoundCloud page gives a thorough explanation so you can check it up there.

DF: So, as Fjodor you have released three (going on four) albums: I (2008.), Riding through Black Hole (2011.), St.Anthony's Fire (2012.) how come none of them are available for online purchase? How do you distribute your materials?

Aljoša: Well,.. with first two albums (I and Riding Through The Black Hole) being 100% DIY we did not have much of a distribution, except concerts and a few web-shop enthusiasts. At this moment albums can be bought only by directly contacting the band and they are available in two versions - CD or USB stick (4gb). Of course, that only goes for first two albums; St. Anthony's Fire is currently in mastering and it will in April or May be released to CD and vinyl.When that comes all three will hopefully be available online by worldwide distributors and also at our enthusiast friends I already mentioned.

DF: And your fourth release?

Aljoša: About fourth album... I would not like to go into details, it still being "in the shop". There is still some recording to be done, and then mixing, mastering, ... so you can really expect it around 2014. if we don't win the lottery in the meantime. [laughs] Of course we're not buying lottery tickets.

DF: You played abroad a lot - how do you pick where to play? Audience?

Aljoša: Fjodor has been touring regularly since 2008. both through Balkan area and later Scandinavia.We're not solely oriented to a particular audience group but on past few tours it turned out that stoner/psy audience could be closest to our repertoire, I guess.

DF: If online materials, reviews and gig-reports are to be believed you look firmly oriented to stoner-psychedelic audience, but I'm actually convinced that your sound and energy has to be served to a broader listener base. How do you see that?

Aljoša: I believe you are right and I do think Fjodor sound has a broader reach. I am sure other subcultures also contain more than a few of our fans.

DF: What are your plans for 2013?

Aljoša: Some of our plans are Baltik and Scandinavian tour again, but this time with Temple of the Smoke. Other,... it still remains to be seen [laughs]. We're working on new stuff, it will definitely be recorded this year and we will play some 2-3 concerts in Zagreb and about 50 across Europe I hope.

DF: So, thank you guys for your time and I will definitely keep my eyes open for any announcement for your gigs as I hope to see and hear much, much more of you! In the meantime for all you present and future worshipers of this cool band here is their Facebook page and their Youtube channel so you could check it out, notice and adore!

And here's some sugar for the end:

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

To Greet a Friend - Pozdrav Azri @Tvornica 25Jan2013

Few days ago I went to see Pozdrav Azri at Tvornica.

Years ago, when I listened to Azra songs on late night drunken singalongs I remember loving the songs, funny and frivolous and yet also insightful and poetic, and in the same time hating the singer's pompous, condescending tone that always ruined the stories with his "better then thou" standpoint.

There was none of that condescending pompousness here on Pozdrav Azri show.

There was just joy and camaraderie and pleasure. Leiner & Hrnjak, members of original Azra lineup and bunch of their friends, guests, were singing and playing with them. There were people in the audience that surely do not go clubbing anymore but they came here to taste their youth again. People (including me) knew lyrics by heart and song came out of our memories dragging finest moments of our lives along: friendship, openness of heart, naivety.

But for one old snoop like me, there was pleasure inside pleasure - kind of like having my cake and eating it too moment - to ease some serenity into my heart of hearts. A friend got me into backstage and as you could imagine it was a treasure trove for observer and ambience soaker like me. There was everything to be seen and heard and smiled upon and at.

What I loved the most was seeing Corto transform for stage. As he was to sing a few songs he came early to prepare and he seemed just a normal next-door-like guy. He came in with his bag, looked around a bit inconspicuously, mingled some and greeted friends. Few moments before he would go onstage he made some quick adjustments to his outfit and his hair, he pulled himself to his full height and as the announcement boomed through the crowd he stepped into the spotlight a different man - sexy, aggressive, confident, macho. From guy next door into performer in stunning one-step transformation. It was exhilarating and surprising experience, Mr.Jackill and Dr. Hide moment.

Those are the moments music especially well serves me with and moments in which I fall in love with the world, against my better judgement. Those are moments that inspire me to search and to endure, to lose, to listen, to see, to write, to climb and to cry and to want to try to be a better human being.

And it was a moment brought upon by unexpected kindness of a friend. Thank you Ari, you are the best!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Dining with Cronenberg - Naked Lunch

I felt like a change in my diet so I had myself some Naked Lunch last night.

I will not talk about how much of Burroughs's life and novel had Mr. Cronenberg put into this film as you can all google and search through Wiki but I would like to tell a few things about the movie itself and its components.

First of all things I noticed was how wonderful the photography of this movie is. Live colors, saturated, deep. Warm hues, with squishy feel of baby cashmere. Things looking like things, not props, having weight and real feel of mushy lines not being absurdly surrounded by contrast.

Wonderful lighting.

Bunch of exterminator guys sitting around the table and every one beautifully lit around the eyes as they come into the focus of the camera. I almost started to cry when I saw Justin Louis (he was so young!).

Peter Weller, my God! He is astonishing!

With wis paperthin see-through skin and glassy, bulging eyes ready to pop out of their sockets he is the Junky Incarnate, avatar of Addiction God.

His confusion is so consuming, his pain so palpable.

And then, Julian Sands.
This is a face that launched a thousand ships. A voice so soothing it could convince you there is no hope, there never was any and never could have been.

And the movie as a whole is wonderful and terrifying. Like a sticky nightmare you cannot wake up from because you cannot convince yourself that this is a nightmare and your real life is somewhere out there. Scenes follow one another and I find myself with trembling hands and holding breath. My heart is pounding in my ears. I smile. All is well.

The scene I loved the most is the desire scene...

... and how in that scene Yves has shown us the power and insanity of pure desire. He is cracked open like a fractured skull. He would do whatever, be whoever, pay a billion breakfasts and give his heart on a plate just to get what he wants.

To understand. To have. To own.