Blesok no. 59, March-April, 2008
Sound Reviews

“Project Žlust” Concert with the Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra

Dojrana Prokopieva

Project Žlust is a music group which speaks with a particular complex and diverse music language. A language which at the same time suggests aesthetics of a close, but distant time. In that language, the Balkan roots come across jazz, classical across contemporary, new wave across minimalism. All together, these elements form a unique music expression and style, according to the principle of diversity and independence. In “Project Žlust” every element is non conventional, which does not necessarily mean out of order: unconventional is the combination of musical instruments, unconventional are the musical forms, and the treatment of the “borrowed” music materials.
    Emin Džijan (French horn and keyboards) and Ivan Bejkov (double bass) represent the creative core of the band and its concept. They are joined by Gazmend Berisha (violin), Vladimir Krstev (violin), Vladimir Pop-Hristov (violoncello), Zdravko Angelov (clarinet and bass clarinet), Aleksandar Serafimov (saxophone), Mihail Josifov (trumpet), Goce Stefkovski (percussion) and Aleksandar Sekulovski (drums). The idea that one can immediately notice is that this band presents a musical reflection of the different ethnic influences which are the bases on what other elements are built on. Their biography consists of several projects, among which are “Margina”, “Project Žlust – Live at the Kumanovo Jazz Festival”, as well as the album “Reverse of a Solitude Soldier”, recorded in collaboration with the composer Nikola Kodjabašija. They are authors of the music soundtrack for the movie “How I Killed a Saint”, directed by Teona Mitevska. In addition to this, they have written the music for the documentary film “The Children of 1948”, directed by Suzi Dinevski and are authors of the musical part of the multimedia performance “A Page Out of Ordinary”, by Yoshiko Chuma. The band collaborated with William Parker, Fran London, Greg Hopkins, Malcolm Burn, Toni Kitanovski, Akosh Szveleni, Sizl Otaka, Kiril Džajkovski.

    On January 17th “Project Žlust” held a concert together with the Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra, which was conducted by Borjan Canev, performing ten new compositions. This concert was the second one from the cycle “Jazz Symphonic Concert”, a cycle that began the concert with the artist on fife, Teodosij Spasov. The purpose of these concerts which include alternative music genres is to bring the symphonic music closer to the broader audience.
    The concert was opened by the composition “Someone There”, which mainly underlines the virtuosity of Berisha’s playing and the richness of his interpretation. We heard “Samba”, “Ace Buljoto”, “Bosanska”, “El Zhmese Pasa”, that revealed the deep expression of the solo parts of Džijan, Serafimov, Josifov and Angelov. The simple melodic lines were fluctuating with more complex structures, the harmony with the polyphony. The untypical instrumental timbres were brought by different instrumental groups that lightened the idea of “collision” between the acoustic and the electronic sound, as well as between tonality and dissonant sounds. The orchestration of the pieces made by Džijan and Bejkov “escaped” the rules established in the classical orchestration technique, and drew itself towards a new, contemporary sound of the symphonic orchestra. In the orchestration, in spite of the use of pedal tones, one could recognize the attempt of the equal treatment of the musical material in the corpus of strings and wind instruments.

    The composition “1948” brought a different sound landscape, where the “game” of the solo violin did not give the chance to be conquered. The most significant pieces of the concert were “Falcer” and “Goat Killed Valerij”. “Falcer” discovers a wide range of the sound, making an allusion of the old dancing genres. “Goat Killed Valerij” began with an pizzicato intro of the strings, accompanied by the rhythm of the drums, and the glissando effects on the keyboard. The main theme was brought by the trumpet, harmonically accompanied by long string notes, with a characteristic rhythm pattern in the percussion corpus “borrowed” from the folklore. The contrast in this composition with a triple form was made in the middle part, where in the melodic line we recognized the tango of Astor Piazzolla. The last piece in the official part of the programme, “Tri osmin jasmin” was a game of rhythm patterns and accents among the percussion instruments in the orchestra: drums – xylophone, vibraphone and timpani.
    This concert of “Project Žlust” confirmed their energy and musical creativity, their inclination towards innovations, as well as the fact that they are not accidentally popular among the audience in Macedonia and abroad.

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