Blesok no. 64, January-February, 2009
Cheap Fabric and Miracle Socks
On “This Transplanted Typewriter…” album of Foltin band, first issue of the Cultural and Information Centre from Skopje
The avant-garde band from Bitola, Foltin, has recently released another impressive music issue with a very interesting and an unusually long title “This Transplanted Typewriter Has Never Typed a Love Letter”. Unlike the title, the album has an unusually short duration of some 22 minutes. There are only five pieces, which pulsate in a single impressive, complex and rounded whole, as variations on the same theme. The productive quartet (Branislav Nikolov – voice and guitar, Pece Trajkovski – clarinet, chaos pad, Goce Jovanovski – base, and Slave Jovev – drums) were joined in their fifth album by a Slovenian guest Marjan Stanić, who has enriched the sound with typical and less typical instruments (percussion): cahon, zil, spoons, cabassa, compact konga, ambiental percussions.
The electro-acoustic sound metamorphoses and love lyrics (themes) are the specific features of the new album of the always innovative “Foltin”. These music conceptualists who can freely be defined as such because of the sound mixtures, that is, the usage of several related alternatives of the traditional sound forms, which is a feature that has marked their previous four issues, in “This Transplanted Typewriter…” offer a mixture of various music styles. The album is full of surprises, and although it is different than the previous ones, it has the recognizable atmosphere typical of Foltin, energy, and even euphoria which makes the band separate from the others as one of the most attractive music occurrences on the Macedonian music skies.
The first thing that one notices while listening to the new album of Foltin is the lyrics. The quotes for the title and the subtitles of this text are used from them, not as a metaphor. They make a beautiful, emotional, love and seemingly simple poetry that makes you memorize it by heart. Foltin is one of the Macedonian bands (along with Mizar, Arhangel, Anastasija…) which does not let the lyrics serve the music and the sound, but vice-versa, or on equal grounds.
The poetic gift as one of the features of “Foltin” is actually not a novelty when it comes to Bitola Music attraction. In their past four albums, Foltin was also recognizable for their lyric background on top of their innovative sound. Their pieces were created and later sung in an authentic Foltinian language, they were a phonetic imitation or an imaginary collage made of several different world languages. However, in this latest album (just like in part of the previous album “Lo-li-ta-too”), Foltin sing in Macedonia, with ornaments of the Bitola dialect, which is minimal, but certainly not accidental.
Besides the fact that it esthetically approaches the Macedonian love poetry of the last century (motifs of Koneski's “Vezilka” and Racin's “Lenka” have been perfectly fitted in Foltin's lyrics), the lyric is again individual, abstract, spiced with humor, just as we can expect from Foltin, thus being impressive, suggestive, filled with secretive messages, it evokes nostalgic images and it definitely wakes up your emotions.
The inspiration for this latest project, as Foltin say, are the SMS messages. This is of course one of the inexplicable phenomena these days which really demands to be processed in every way, even at an artistic level. The contemporary “poetry” in which there are love and romantic themes makes us wonder whether it is a dump of our poetics of life and when it will finally bring new hope…
The connection of the electronic and classical instrument is present in the fifth album of Foltin, just as it was in “Autre-mair” (1997), “Archimedes” (2000), “Donkey Hot” (2003), and “Lo-Li-Ta-Tu” (2005). “This Transplanted Typewriter…” also provides for a wealth of stylistic, even genre-like expressions. The recognizable sound image of “Foltin” – the colors of jazz, improvisations, boss-a-nova, even the calgia and cabaret or the theatre expression. But all of these esthetic directions are on the edge, that is, they are expressed in a subtle and only seemingly minimal way. A bit deeper, the album makes an energetic, pulsating atmosphere, an effective sound impulse that comes from the fascinating transformation of the instrument – from acoustic to electronic and vice versa, and especially a rich rhythmic diversity.
What is especially specific for “This Transplanted Typewriter…” is the impressive design made by “Arts & Crafts” studio, as well as the excellent production (it was made in “Tra-la-la” studio of Mite Dimovski).
Translated by: Elizabeta Bakovska