Monday, April 29, 2013

MIMO 5 - Ivan Vragolovich and The Bonebomb @MSU 26Apr2013

As you all already know MIMO or Media Inventory of Music Originals is a recent project in Zagreb that brings forth Croatian most original quality music through the (back) door of Croatian mainstream media. Every second Friday beginning 01Mar2013 they arrange concerts in MSU (Museum of Contemporary Art) Gorgona hall that are transmitted by online streaming on the Internet, broadcasted on Croatian Radio Sljeme and can be viewed and listened to live at Gorgona hall - and that's where I was this Friday, April 26th 2013.

MIMO concert concept is such that on every separate event there is one solo performer in the first part of the concert, then stage is re-set and a little talking intermezzo moderated by Jelena Balent, MIMO charming hostess, featuring two commenters is broadcasted from Gorgona hall. In second part, after commentaries, performs a band and that nicely rounds up this versatile event.

I had an honor to be asked to join in as one of the commenters and it was an immense pleasure both because I feel strongly about this project and also because other commenter was no other then Ravno Do Dna author and long time music authority Zoran Stajčić.

So how it went down?

Solo performer this time was Ivan Vragolovich, cute and funny looking youngster, walking around in an aura of effortless easygoing artfulness. As it happens he was the winner of first Croatian Blues Challenge in 2009. and subsequently has released wonderful blues album I am a Man, parts of which you can check out on his myspace page and if you like them you can buy the album here from his label Spona web page.

People frequently ask me why do I have to go and see live concert if I can listen to the music in the comfort of my own home and this is why:

If I were home, just listening to Ivan making music, I would not be curious and perplexed as to why does this musical picture feel so complete and intricate if there is only one guy with the guitar there singing live. I would not notice contraption holding harmonica around his neck and I would most definitely not notice bundles of wires and some strange tapping thing below his left foot that is really a kind of electric drum that completes the acoustic picture here. I just cannot see that listening from home and being here and seeing this I cannot help but admire his skill as a musician as well as his dexterity - and this admiration breeds respect.

He sang and played beautifully, he talked between songs and he growled at times toward the sound guys like any true musician would: "Mmhm, a little less monitor please, will you, there! It goes straight to my head." At times he was almost apologetic of his lyrics and he was just wonderful mixture of humility and taking pride in one's own work. All this AND he can make music!

After his act there we talked a bit - Jelena, Zoran and I - for the audience there in Gorgona Hall and Internet streamers and Radio Sljeme listeners. Zoran told some anecdotes about Vragolović and The Bonebomb and Ćato records and state of music scene in general from his unique position of  music expert and longtime member of the scene and people told me I had some interesting things to say too, but I have to take their word for it because I was so overwhelmed my mind just erased itself in the spur of the moment. Damn you, Cortisol! Damn your hindering of short-term to long-term memory consolidation process!

And then, there were The Bonebomb.

Their act is a celebration of grandeur and of splendid, immaculate, professional sound. They play and move around like only professional musicians can, with effortless dexterity and ease, flowing from place to place and from musical passage to musical passage like a river - powerful and undeterred.

As much as I was amazed and startled with the excellence of their music I also did not like listening to it there, in the dark, sitting down, not moving around or dancing. It was just... too much, somehow. Leaving MIMO I immediately bought their CD and I have already listened to it more than a few times and it is just great musical investment, acoustic picture evocative of old-school Hollywood and great big bands in contact shows from our childhood memories.

There are beautiful photos here on MIMO Facebook page and here on photographer Ivica Drusany web page (accompanied by his impressions of the concert, in Croatian) and please go browse through them and feel just how nice a project this is.

And, come! Come listen to music, mingle, see stuff and be a true music lover that can both enjoy the experiences and share and teach them to your children and your loved ones - next MIMO will be up soon, on May 10th 2013. in state-of-the-art Gorgona hall at Zagreb MSU. See you there!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Rens Argoa @Attack! 25Apr2013

Some 10 days ago there was announcement on Facebook that on April 25th there will be Night of Space Blue Beavers at Attack! and that Rens Argoa would be playing and I immediately begun with arrangements to attend.

As you all know - I love Rens Argoa - and I have published here an interview with them as one of earliest Music Thursday offerings. They play powerful and psychodelic instrumental post-rock and I have been amazed with their performance and their music ever since they opened for Maybeshewill on a sold-out long expected concert in Zagreb. I listen to their album (that can be downloaded free of charge from Bandcamp) over and over again every few days and I can sincerely say it is as wonderful and deeply satisfying piece of music that just keeps on giving. They also have new web page that you can check out and see what they're made of and what they've been up to lately.

So how was the show on Thursday?

It was absolutely stunning.

First thing I noticed, even before the gig started is that almost all of the Professor Gang were there and that is alwas a good sign as guys definitely support quality. Secondly, there was quite a bit of a crowd there, above average by size and definitely not an average Thursday crowd for Attack!

As Rens Argoa started to play there was just one overwhelming impression in my mind: "This is how you can differentiate between really great band and merely a very good one!" and Rens Argoa truly are a great band. What makes that difference is a thing bordering on magic, for performers and audience both. They went on stage and started to play and it sounded so well, so overwhelmingly great, so natural and with sound so prevasive and saturated it felt as if the music comes from every direction at once. They played so great that even when they were adjusting the wires and checking the sound it sounded as if they were playing a song. There was a bit of talking and a bit of communication fun and laughter and it was just a natural flow of feelgood. Crowd responded well and I saw people dancing and nodding and enjoying themselves, cantankerous people I never see enjoying anything, and I really am an avid observer.

And in the middle of their act there was an illustrative event:

there was a guy there who must have been intoxicated out of his wits, or maybe he just hasn't got any to begin with. Anyway, guy stirred in the front rows a bit - causing trouble, pushing people, dropping things, making a fool of himself - and in one moment he decides to climb on stage and remove his pants. A guy, Attack! native, surfaces from the crowd and yanks idiot from stage and escorts him out in an orderly fashion and all this happens without a slightest glitch in the power and continuance of music. It was just like an action movie appearing out of thin air in front of our eyes and the music was so perfect a soundtrack it felt not only appropriate, but deliberate.


As I had obligations Friday morning I did not stay to see secret surprise guests that were announced to play after Rens but this was more than enough to fill my cup of pleasure for the night. I'm already looking forward to see them play again, and not to miss concert announcements you can also make sure to like their page on Facebook so to get fresh information on gigs and projects.

And yes, their drummer still plays barefoot and his drumming was wonder inside a wonder, immaculate and sparkling with both skill and talent.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Music Thursday - Never Missing The Oportunity To Learn

I consider being inert kind of character flaw.

I cannot imagine anyone moaning:"There's nowhere to go out to!" or "I have nothing to wear!" without implicitly thinking that it is a value/opinion/priority thing and not a question of objective assessment. Every night there is something going on and everyone has too much to wear - but we rather choose to smirk at presented options, balking at the very idea, and completely ignore the option of creating our own possibilities. We conform with groups, we perpetuate status quo, we choose not to experience diversity on grounds of remaining in our own comfort zone.

But... just like travel to other countries, going to live gigs we don't usually choose to attend is a mind-broadening experience. There is whole new society to meet and experience in both of those instances.

As it so happened I recently went to see Streets United! - Perkele, .upset and Šank?! @ Pogon Jedinstvo 13Apr2013 and this was an example of mind-broadening experience.

I go to a lot of punk gigs. I go to all of them alone because none of the people I usually spend time with goes to punk gigs to listen to punk and I hate having them come just for the company. I listen to a lot of punk music at home and both me and my offspringess clearly have the affinity for punk harmonics and clarity of ideas presented through punk. But, as it happened, all of punk gigs I went to up until now were on the smallish side - and I suppose I kind of thought about that as the norm: 10-200 attendees per punk gig... and then I saw event saying there will be punk gig at Pogon Jedinstvo and I immediately thought:"What kind of punk musician can sell that much 80 kn tickets?!"

So I researched a bit and that left me equally confused. I read about Perkele a bit, listened to their discography, watched some videos. There was nothing there to explain the mystery to me. There was nothing left but to invest time and money and go and see it firsthand.

Tickets said that gig starts at 20:00 (what kind of punk gig starts at 8?!) so I timed my arrival around that time. Grounds around Močvara and Jedinstvo were overflowing (hundreds, surely!) with colorful people who did not spare any effort to make their subcultural affiliation obvious and it was one great and unusual sight to see. On the other hand it was Saturday night (and not week night like most of the punk gigs I usually frequent) so it could go both ways. I found it both silly and kinda entrepreneurially sound to find hamburger stand in front of Močvara and you couldn't throw a brick in any direction and not hit bottle of cheapest wine accompanied with stuff brown and fizzy. I went inside around nine to see what's going on....

.... and I found .upset already on stage, nearly finishing their set!

Sound was excellent and Jedinstvo hall virtually empty with only the band, bartenders, bouncers, me and two boys drunk out of their mind on the rail if front of the stage. .upset played two more songs, very enthusiastically and quite good and I was a bit disappointed I did not enter sooner to listen to more of their act.

I sniffed around a bit, bought myself a drink and observed some and about half an hour later was completely shocked to see Perkele climbing on stage and starting their act!!

 WTH? It wasn't even 10 pm and also I presumed there will be more local/support bands before the stars of the show but it went down this way. Surprised audience flowed into Jedinstvo and in no time at all packed hall was singing and enjoying Perkele act.

I stood there flabbergasted.

This was punk's catnip if I ever saw one.

There's no need to point out simplicity and intention of Oi! punk music but to see this in action was funny as hell. Inked, pierced, fierce and serious thugs - both male and female - were singing and dancing and taking their shirts off like at the early morning hour of a country wedding. If there were tables there there would be dancing on the tables, one-sentence-choruses were sung and chanted for long minutes and it was a celebration of gemeinschaft in its purest distilled form.

Pinnacle of the evening was some local football chant and angry guy behind me yelling to noone in particular in the chanting group on the other end of the hall: "Ma nabijem vas na Dinamo i na nogomet!"

Amused and in good spirits, geezers from Perkele played a bit more, returning for an encore ceremonially just like any pop performer would have and then they were gone. As well as 80 percent of the audience.

At 23:20 someone was up on stage and starting to play...

 ... but they did not seem to be Šank?! They were not bad in any way but I just cannot stomach ska so after some more mingling I set for home. I found out later this entertaining bunch were S-kapada.

So, what did I learn here?

That no matter how hard we press to be different there's just no escaping human condition. Whether jazzhead, punk or folkster - laughter is same, enjoyment is same, theatrics are same, need for belonging is the same.

We fill the same holes with fundamentally if not apparently same stuff.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Killed A Fox & Apey and the Pea @KSET 18Apr2013

On Thursday night I went to see what kind of remodeling shenanigans they did at KSET and when I'm already there to have a listen to some stoner rock. I did part of my homework before going there - listened to Apey and the Pea EP on their bandcamp page - but I also wanted to be surprised a bit so I steered clear from too many information on Killed a Fox, which proved to be excellent, excellent decision.

I came early, with company, and had a drink while catching up with friends. Met some interesting people. Mingled a bit with musicians. Caught quite a few interesting rumors and validated my concert roster for Spring season.

Before long we spotted a band climbing on stage so we went inside to listen.

After short introduction and presenting new addition to the band (bass) Killed a Fox started to play and it was one most pleasant surprise. As I understand they did not have any gigs for some time and this was their first gig both in a long time and with a new bass player and on top of all that they are currently in process of recording new songs. You can listen to their materials here on their Myspace page and they are great, but stuff sounded so much more lively and firm live, I'm not even sure that they performed any of these songs. In short, they were freaking great! Emotional, bouncy, filled with energy and kind of spiteful jest, they kicked ass and they absolutely steamed up the place.

Impressive, to say the least.

I was very pleased and utterly amused as it is but when they played cover of Cure's Lullaby my heart was totally lost. I cannot remember the last time heard something so fun. Keeping my ear out for their new release will be a must.

Apey and the Pea came after them as a bit of an anticlimax.

They were styled OK, followed the appropriate etiquette, their music was well rehearsed and technically valid - but it just lacked any life. It felt flat and frontman was leaving the impression of arrogance and playing just to get it over with. It was slow-paced and somehow forced. Whole thing was sad because it really sounds great on the album and it feels like this would have inner sexiness and power that even more famous bands do not have - listening from the album it feels like this would be great music to hear on a enormous stadium concert! - but it did not seem like that live.

But well, everybody's entitled to a bad day. I think I'm gonna give them another chance if they happen to come by again.

And one last thing, in case you were wondering: KSET remodeling shenanigans seem to be just tiny differences in toilet stall heights.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Go No Go @Prostor Do 19Apr2013

I meant to go see Go No Go for ages now but every time there was gig somewhere something came up; it was on school night, there were overlapping other gigs, sickness, "wrong weekend" (term familiar to all divorced parents anywhere). I came closest to going to see them play when Potlista had their birthday party at Attack! - and it was close, but no cigar!

So when a friend sent me invite for Žur featuring Go No Go that was to happen last Friday I fell over myself from happiness and after I picked myself up and dusted off some, I hatched a plan to overcome all difficulties...

... and I was there before the band plugged in.

I like Prostor Do

It is clean, ventilation is excellent, waiters are attentive and bright and toilet equipped with necessities at all times of night. Taking all that into consideration I do not mind much that sound there is usually less than perfect. Actually I think that most of my objections could be resolved by just turning the volume down a notch or two - but, alas - with that much people who only come there to talk to each other and the notion that with ingestion of alcohol din tolerance goes up there remains nothing to be done except be understanding. So I do my best (what seldom proves simple) and exercise understanding.

After some greeting nods and a bit of waiting spent in gazing at pleasant interpersonal scenes I was glad to see the band going on stage.

"Hello, we are Go No Go and this is our first independent concert. It is great to greet you all here because this place, actually the place next door - Spunk - is the place where we first, over some drinks, decided we're gonna have a band. And here we are. So, we're going to play all of the songs we have for you." - said the lead singer and then they kicked ass of that aforementioned songs.

It was excellent!

Energetic, well played in, relaxed and with beautiful effortless communication both among band members and with the crowd. There was some talking, some jokes, some presenting new songs and it went on for about 50 minutes with one encore and it was so great it felt like a mere moment. They played all the songs from their album First, that you can hear/download from their bandcamp page and couple of new songs I can hardly wait to see released.

This was an experience that I'm going to repeat as soon the opportunity arises.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Music Thursday - Growling For Love

Last week Device debut album was released and I've been perusing it on a daily/nightly basis so I thought to tell you a little story.

It is funny how we choose people we love. Even funnier if people in question are celebrities.

Consider this:

One of my favorite male vocals of all time is David Draiman.

In November 2006. he was even voted number 42 on the Hit Parader’s "Top 100 Metal Vocalists of All Time" but I knew nothing about this when I started listening to his music with Disturbed in 2007., I just loved his voice. In 2008., when they played at Boogaloo in Zagreb, ticket for this concert was peace-offering from my then estranged husband,  with which he hoped to get back into my good graces. It did not work. It could not work, not that it was apparent at that time, but in retrospect it most definitely could not work.

What differs Draiman from others is load of small, seemingly trivial stuff:

We share birthday, even if he is exactly five years my senior.

We have a difficult time letting go of our preconceptions, even if we possess ample knowledge on the subject and rational choice making logistics. Just see how cute he is in replying why doesn't he have any tattoos:

We choose our words carefully and enjoy being surprised. One of the loveliest examples for this was recorded during that same 2008. Disturbed concert in Boogaloo - see here:

... what happened here?

During the gig Draiman talks a lot and he was very pleased he can speak English and be understood here and how Croatian audience is very attentive and enjoys his jokes and instructions. At the end of shows Draiman usually shouts "We are..." and audience should reply: "Disturbed" (as a lovely pun, since the band is called Disturbed and also "We are disturbed" is a cute emotionally intelligent way to build connection and to acknowledge belonging to same subculture) but this did not happen here.

He shouted: "We are..." and the crowd repeated: "We are" and even when he changed the wording into "We all are..." to psychologically point out that we're in the same boat and that it is not derogatory to say "disturbed" crowd did not budge. It was exhilarating moment of sheer pleasure of surprise and existential wonder!!

So he finished his act laughing and saying: "Much respect to you Croatia. We will most certainly have to come back here to see you U crazy motherfuckers again!"

And then, there is his music: as a lyricist he is really dear to me because he is so unpretentious in his theatrics. Even if there is inherent silliness and exaggeration he so effortlessly pulls it off it is an honor and a privilege to take part in that magic.

Like Stricken:

"That I am stricken and can't let you go
When the heart is cold there's no hope
And we know
That I am crippled by all that you've done
Into the abyss will I run"

But wait, there's one tiny thing more - why exactly would he be my favorite male vocal of all time?

Well, Draiman is known for his distorted voice and percussive singing style with occasional growl.

Long time ago I went out with a guy who used to produce this quiet, low pitched, guttural, ultra-virile growl accompanied by a particular smile as a sex proposition. If there ever was information package packed densely than a black hole that was it.

Its gravitational field was absolutely impossible to ignore.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

MIMO 4 - Lovely Quinces and Druyd @MSU 12Apr2013

Fourth MIMO (Media Inventory of Music Originals) was held on April 12th at usual place in wonderful Gorgona hall of MSU Zagreb and it brought us Lovely Quinces and Druyd. Organization was impeccable, as always, and there was online streaming for international audiences as well as broadcasting on Radio Sljeme. Audience changed considerably from my last visit and there was noticeable lack of young urbanites of Pitchforky persuasion and considerable increase in organic cotton wearers with subtle hints of religious nonconformity among intoxicating preservative-free cosmetics smell. I fancied seeing that very much; it adds to the spirit of "Inventory" part in MIMO and noticing that diversity and yet "sameness" appeases my sense of security and consolidates the impression that all is well.

It is no accident that "Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations" was imagined to be the basis of Vulcan philosophy.

So, how was it?

I came forwarned that Dunja Ercegovic a.k.a. Lovely Quinces turns to primeval goddess as she starts to sing and that was stone chiseled truth.

She was frightened and confused and she was so cute in her stage fright I bet all of us had the irresistible urge to hug and comfort her... and yet, she bravely plowed on. She talked between songs and she told us titles and bits of stories about every song and she was both youthful and unmistakeably experienced and it was at the same time heartbreaking and heartwarming to see this lovely, young (21) creature transmute these experiences (seldom pleasurable) into wonderful songs. I was especially impressed by her powerful singing voice which she used with enthralling ease to sing emotion-ridden passages and it felt so calming, so matter-of-the-factly convinced that all will turn out for the best that I was and still am in awe.

And... I'm not really sure how to put this... it was an overwhelming feel of Sandman's sand in that voice, not so much the mythical character from Northern Europe but Gaiman's sexy and lethal Lord of Dreams facing the fact of life: "The Lord of Dreams learns that one must change or die, and makes his decision."

You can sample that wonderful voice through this clip:

"Band part" of the evening went to Druyd:

 They are, and that can plainly be seen and heard here on their bandcamp page, world music at its best, that can go hand in hand with best of them in the business.This music is not something I really enjoy as it unnerves and troubles me to listen to it at home but it was a thrilling and enlivening experience to hear them live. I have not been aware that didgeridoo could be used as de facto percussion section; I always felt that it is a wind instrument and that it adds melody rather than rhythm - which did not appear to be the case here.

Druyd also have strong sense of knowledge and respect for world music lore and they were a sight to be seen and remembered; they wore stage clothes, had painted themselves with intricate nature-like details (singer wore wings!), performed bare-footed, were surrounded with the aura of obligatory nonconformism (to mainstream culture, that is) and wore perplexing smiles of deeply satisfied people.

Lot remains to be said about popularization of knitting through their work.

There is lovely photo gallery here on MIMO facebook page where you can see more clearly happenings of last Friday. More will be served in two weeks time, on Friday April 26th, presented by MIMO at wonderful Gorgona hall of MSU Zagreb.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Music Thursday - Japan, My Love

Recently somebody asked me what do I listen to most, what kind of music is dearest to me now.

I opened my mouth and out came:

"Well, I listen to a lot of Japanese music."

And that is true. I do listen to a lot of Japanese music.

I first started listening to it when I found Bleach. There were lovely, catchy tunes on the beginning and the end of anime episodes and I read the credits and researched the bands and listened to their discographies and there were awesome songs there. After some scrobling of J-rock and J-pop started offering other Japanese artists and clicking through YouTube revealed more finds. As my skill with Japanese increased, understanding phrases pushed me to tinkering with kanas and my research widened to specialised and band pages in Japanese. I'm still very far from being proficient in Nihongo but that's not stopping me to fall madly in love with certain Japanese songs. Like this one:

Wine red no kokoro

This is kind of equivalent of "Košulja Plava" from Croatian music heritage. Contemporary Adult love song being just what it is and not taking itself either lightly nor too serious. It was written by Yosui Inoue (lyrics) and Koji Tamaki (composed) and after band Anzen Chitai (Safety Zone) released it in 1983. it reached number 1. at Oricon charts in 1984. and was soon followed by many more Anzen Chitai songs as their popularity soared sky high.

This is the same song in 2007. in a slower, more emotional and nicely orchestrated live performance.

I love how Mr. Tamaki sings expressively and emotionally, that even if you would not know a word of Japanese you'd be able to see the angst and dischord. I love how the lyrics are so catchy that you can almost predict what he's going to say next just like we can in Croatian popular music. This is also great song to notice that there is literally no rhyming in Japanese, no make-break, no Banana-Havana, no Afrika-Paprika. They make do with singing in tune, adjusting the length of pauses and bridges to accomodate the words. To this day I have heard A LOT of J-music with lyrics - pop, rock, jazz, fusions, crossovers, heavy metal, visual kei, even some traditional music and it seems to be the rule. As great singing and sparing no effort is the rule and as it is a rule that one performer or a band will play many different musical genre with zero condescending or taking oneself too seriously.

Like these two;

Koji Ueno from The HIATUS (rock, post-rock, punk) and Shohei Muto from Katteni-Shiyagare (swing/jazz, punk) cover Wine red no kokoro in cool flamenco tradition.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Music Thursday - Top Three Breakup Songs

As it happens I am actively engaged in mood management using  music in the past few days so when interesting question about favorite breakup songs emerged I was more than eager to jump to list making (I can almost see myself as Rob Gordon) so here are the winners:

Second runner up: Matchbox 20 - Rest Stop

This great video holds a prelude to the story but even without it this song (and wonderful music arrangement) is one of the best on the subject.

"She said, while you were sleeping
I was listening to the radio
And wondering what you're dreaming when
It came to mind that I didn't care
So I thought, hell if it's over
I had better end it quick
Or I could lose my nerve
Are you listening, can you hear me"

We brew our discontent for longest times, but breakup itself is a mere moment of courage, to open mouth and let the words that are already inside flow out and do their thing. As I sampled both giving and receiving end of this setup I can tell you that this is no small feat - to see and hear this firsthand and live to tell the tale. Wise-asses selling the story of being given lemons and making a lemonade should wish to make this their starting point.

You can find rest of the lyrics here if you care to make sure you get what he's saying.

First runner up: A Fine Frenzy - Almost Lover

I'll let you in on a secret: I really dislike female vocals. I almost never listen to any and there are few (single digit number) female vocals I do listen to and that can be only characterised as tepid tolerance. But I love A Fine Frenzy and I love this song. It is very feminine and gives real impression of pragmatic side of the story, which is - Just like with Lotto: "You Got To Be In It To Win It!"

Half-hearted attempts are wasteful and detrimental.

"Goodbye, my almost lover
Goodbye, my hopeless dream
I'm trying not to think about you
Can't you just let me be?
So long, my luckless romance
My back is turned on you
Should've known you'd bring me heartache
Almost lovers always do"

Transgressions against trust are the worst kind of transgressions because they not just fuck the person up in future relationship realm but in every life realm there is.

First place: The Strees - Dry Your Eyes

In this one Mike Skinner has outdone himself.

The plasticity of this song is uncanny and mere observation needed to write this one is paramount. Not to mention finer notes of functional understanding of human behavior:

"Trying to pull her close out of bare desperation, 
put my arms around her to try to change what she's saying.
Put my head level with hers so she might engage in.
Look into her eyes to make her listen again"

And strings across the musical landscape leave no survivors.

This song is also the song I see  most of myself in. I also try to revert water onto my mill even when all hope is lost - tinkering, turning over, re-fitting and re-adjusting - forgeting that peple seldom value efficiency over magic. It is a lesson I learn over and over again that no matter how finely you can tune your violin it takes more than your skill to play it.

So, those are mine - Top three breakup songs - how about yours?

Usually people do not comment here but below the link on my Facebook page and you're all welcome to participate.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

MIMO - Rokambol and Marinada @ MSU 29Mar2013

MIMO or Media Inventory of Music Originals is a recent project in Zagreb that brings forth Croatian most original quality music through the (back) door of Croatian mainstream media. Every second Friday beginning 01Mar2013 they arrange concerts in MSU (Museum of Contemporary Art) Gorgona hall that are transmitted by online streaming on the Internet, broadcasted on Croatian radio HR2 and can be viewed and listened to live at Gorgona hall. As it is an interesting place and I was curious how "the indie people" are going to pull this off I went to see it.

First MIMO on March 1st 2013. featured Nina Romić and Olovni ples and they were all terrific. You can see photo gallery here and there are many reviews (in Croatian) available. Hall was full and we ended sitting on the steps but it was great as timing was perfect and acoustics in Gorgona hall so wonderful it brought tears to my eyes.

Nina was magnificent opening for this project and her velvety voice had just perfect timber there.

Olovni ples were vibrant with passion and their act had nothing of the darkness inherent to their studio albums. They also benefited immensely from brilliant acoustics as they performed last song walking around across the stage in kind of "every-man-for-himself" way and the sound was so wonderful that you could "see the movement in the sound" even if not looking at the stage.

No extraneous noise, no microphonics, no audio junk of any kind. Just bliss.

Second MIMO was held on March 15th and sadly I could not attend it due to other engagements. If featured Sara Renar  and Chui and I was later thoroughly briefed on excellence of their show by music-lovers and confidants so my heart ached (they did rub some salt there with diligence).

I went to see third MIMO featuring Rokambol and Marinada last Friday (March 29th 2013) and it was a bittersweet experience.

Rokambol was great.

He imagined his part of the show as very theatrical experience, from chosen attire to self-confidence he applied to direct the audience whether to clap or not. He greeted us; ones on the internet, ones by the radios and ones in attendance and then he just played and sung and went on playing in one awesome, super-practiced flow of songs one after another. Crystalline sound made for wonderful opportunity to discern his lyrics and stories just streamed forth from his lips and his fingers into darkness that contained the audience.

There are quite a few videos for his songs on his YouTube channel and his first studio album is apparently due this spring so I'll definitely keep my eye on Rokambol FB notifications.

And then, there was Marinada.

As many of you already know I'm in eternal love with all things from Rijeka and that heavy Fiume accent that the guy on the keyboards used to announce names of the songs and albums they were from was just a perfect ointment for my troubled soul on that fateful Friday. Every word and sound was just perfectly clear and wonderful acoustics of Gorgona hall was once again ideal partner for minimalist style and superior artistry. They played my favorite song - Instrument - in the middle of their set and that lifted my spirit and made the world bearable again.

I loved how they were just marginally connecting with the audience and I loved how the whole show was organized and orderly like browsing through books in a library: you read the label on the spine and take it out, you smell it, leaf through it, read a paragraph here - sentence there - get the feel by merely scratching the surface and then tidily return it where you found it, and pick up another. I love it because they say nothing in their songs and they say everything, they say all that matters. I love it because music, comprised of both instrumental sounds and sounds of their voices, enhances the experience. Information is added but message stays beautifully simple and intuitively understandable

Einstein once said that "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough". These guys can and they do. I'm in awe.

So where is the bitter part of "bittersweet experience" mentioned above?

Well, novelty already wore off and there were far fewer people there that I would imagine at a show like this one; perfectly organized, at a beautiful and clean place where there is no smoking and refreshments are available and that takes place so early in the evening that you can even go to with your kids or go clubbing after it. It is not expensive and there are lovely things to buy if you feel like having a memento of the evening. I would love if more people came to these events and listened and learned how to listen and to behave. It saddens me that this stays in the long tail and that it remains in the realm of "preaching to the choir".

So, prove me wrong - come and see MIMO 4 featuring Druyd and Lovely Quinces on April 14th!