Blesok no. 41, March-April, 2005
Zoran Madžirov – Nomad-Musician
I’m Not Afraid of Anything
As an artist and performer of special kind, Madžirov has all the attributes of a big international attraction. With his own skill in vibraphone performance and especially with his splendid playing with the rhythms rooted out of the surface of plain glass bottles, he has been around. Wherever they have listened and seen him, wherever they felt his performing magnetism, from his native Strumica to New York… they were fascinated. He has issued several albums, and since recently he has invested part of his energy in the new project Dalnovod, with his fellow citizen Petar Tasev.
How did the Dalnovod duo happen?
Dalnovod is a typical made in Strumica project. The meeting with Petar Tasev happened in already legendary magical circumstances in our native town. I would not explain it sociologically or philosophically, but my meeting him was “one of those big things.” When I heard his music, I knew that a predestined meeting of two extraordinary personalities would happen. Petar is an unusual artist. His is certain in what he does. By taste and aesthetics he is a typical representative of the current modern trend and he sticks to it uncompromisingly. He plays the computer and makes music that metaphysically explains the future. He has a free spirit and kamikaze-like brave sources of fantasies. In our unavoidable work together he was a real professional ready to work on “long run”. Together, trying to move the limits and borders of the modern music, I found out that he can also make the music that he(we) has(have) never heard… Something that each avant-garde strives towards.
How much will the work in the duo interrupt the activities of the musical nomad as a solo performer? Will there be time to seriously dedicate to the activities of the Dalnovod project?
I’m known for controlling several things at the same time. Being involved in more than one project makes me happy. Having in mind that the day has 24 hours, and the year 52 weeks, really, everything is possible. After several extravagant performances in Munich around Christmas, we were flown over to Stuttgart to a concert there by helicopter. Our promoter Klemintz Zipke called it a relaxing flight between two concerts, spiced out with couple of glasses of champagne. When you are well organised, everything really functions as it should. For me, Dalnovod is an absolutely serious move. Even its very name [Power Line] says that we want it to take us very far.
How did you come to the Fat-Cat label with Dalnovod and how much do the people from the company seriously support you when reaching the discography market?
After the incredibly creative period we had with Petar last spring in Strumica, at one of my regular visits to New York, a producer friend of mine, Skip La Plantei, listened to the demo material. Following his recommendation, we sent the recordings to Dave Howell, to Fat-Cat, in Brayton, Great Britain. In order to avoid the bureaucratic obstacles when waiting to print the material, because of the modern and beautiful music, he decided to immediately release two pieces, Glasstica and Momichka, in the archive of their artists that is on the Internet. Just as it happened, our two pieces became the ones that were the most downloaded from the Internet page, which is kind of a top-list for the visitors of the site. For more than eight weeks now, nobody can take us lower than the first two places.
Are there chances to have a more serious breakthrough when there are so many things in the air? What does it take to succeed in the West?
The chances are real as much as you think they are!!! I think that everyone has enough chances under these skies. The key to success, not only there, in the West, is in persistent work!
Still, what does it take to excite the “average western listener’s ear”? Are you scared by the fact that maybe only the “exotic” will be stressed in your music, signed as Dalnovod?
I’m not afraid of ANYTHING! Especially not of what I am!!! Neither I, nor my music, are “just exotic”. I never run till the end with one ace only. Both in Glasstica and Momichka, as well as in the other material, besides the huge dose of exotic in the crystal clear sound, there is a visible weight of the pieces, my respect to old masters such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Stravinsky, and others. One can also hear the fact that we cross the threshold of the contemporary modern music of today with a direct exit from the jazz tradition and the ability to improvise. In its structure, Dalnovod is a perfect and logically cosmic merge of the intellect and intuition with a big and bright dose of humour. This is how I challenge the average and above-the-average ears of listeners from almost all sides of the world.
How far is the duo in its preparations for the debut album? Will the spirit of our original tradition be felt in the new material?
Dalnovod is ready as a gun. We have the material not for one, but for two albums. Still, I have to say that at this moment it is still unclear when the act of their releasing would happen. I can only claim with certainty that this year we will participate at several festivals of modern and electronic music. I can say that stylistically we move somewhere in the area where the electronics and analogue meet, the sound of unusual acoustic instruments with the synthetics of the computers. The Fat-Cut people, in our esthetics and melodious sensibility saw us as people who are close to what Squarepusher or Autechre make. In this whole story, the spirit of our original tradition is deeply present. But, in no case can there be taking over or quoting complete phrases or melodies. We did not want to mess with tradition in the old wasted way – you take Jovano, Jovanke… and you make variations of it. Why? Reaching for traditional music is a serious thing.
How do you see the modern movements in jazz, and the contemporary music in general?
More or less, what Dalnovod does can freely be called a new modern (electronic) movement in the contemporary jazz as still the freest music form. Music today is globalise much faster than the politicians can globalise the world.
You’ve been the hero of the commercials for a local beer in Macedonia? Many people have almost forgotten the appearance of the Kitanovski – Madžirov duo at the Skopje Jazz Festival. Nothing special is played from the album you made for MRTV Production? When can we expect you with a new release or co-operation in your fatherland?
I consider the fact that I am recognised by the commercials a privilege. It is a result of the exceptional achievements of a musician. Besides this, quietly, but safely, Dalnovod also becomes close to our listeners. Besides the Internet, there is the individual exchange of the new material of the man with the bottles, so, as they write to me, the duo has been becoming a cult band in some environments. I would not exclude the possibility for a Dalnovod release in Macedonia, then concerts, etc. I honestly love and respect the Macedonian audience very much. They have the ear for beautiful and quality things. I would not agree that I have been “forgotten”. The concert with Toni Kitanovski at the Skopje Jazz Festival and my jazz albums for MRTV are of historical value for the modern Macedonian music and culture in general.
Translated by: Elizabeta Bakovska