JAN ’17: Trobecove krušne peći “Ether” LP

It’s alive!

Sax is back. Rejoice!

tkp2015

Sex, I mean funk, is almost gone. A bit of dull pain remains. Can’t dance it all away.

I’ve managed to catch Trobecove krušne peći in concert only once since they have started playing live again in recent years. They were OK then. At this moment, or as captured on “Ether”, Trobecove krušne peći sound significantly better. I am pleasantly surprised.

Actually, the band never really disappeared into thin air. The spirit of Trobec (-ove krušne peći) was in the ether all the time, whether transformed in short lived Alpski rudar, or just buzzing around as Brujači during the 1990s, or for a brief period in time in the 2000s as seductively stylish Viva Glorio. It seems to me that minimal elements for keeping said haunting spectre active would be the throb of Bara’s bass playing and Bega’s vocal vitriol – ethereal energy of this creative bond has always been enough to attract all other dissipated band players and friends.

For those of you who are not familiar, Trobecove krušne peći are a sort of avant noise-rock band (with post-punk origins) but not the type with electric guitar in a role of lead instrument. Their newest recording “Ether” can be presented as an update of successful combination of the TKP studio album from ’85 & the live tape from ’87. In current incarnation all the instrumentalists – bassist Barišin, guitarist Vinski and (welcome) sax player Prica – compete for the space or coexist in the void above steady rock rhythm of drummer Dorvak. The songs mainly follow the tension building pattern without cathartic release in sight (or hearing range) apart from arresting sax squeals, slightly more dominant guitar parts or/and propulsive bass playing that can interchangeably bear elusive liberating role for a moment or two. Frontman Begić is in a dour mood from the very start. However, this time (or just for the LP song selection) his vocals are under control. With mature coolness that doesn’t allow straying into chaotic roar, Begić’s voice simply commands in mean monotone hovering above the simmering band. Black bile put into words and loudly pronounced may even have the therapeutic cleansing effect if one is in appropriate contemplative mood (for example pacing back and forth around an empty and cold apartment while music is playing, warming up the chilly air). The angry and bitter allure might pull you inside the vortex and then let you drift along with the tempo of music. It does soothe my soul, my unending case history. The truth is cruel. It hurts. Like that heavily prostituted word “love”. Take it in and spit it out. Once the record stops spinning, the ominous silence stays hanging there for a while. It can’t leave the room easily. Certainly this album is not a perfect present for the weak of heart or for those with short attention span or penchant for cheerful sing-alongs. Why do I like it. Am I just a masochist? A sadist!? Perhaps both!!

Potential foreign listeners that don’t understand Croatian language will definitely miss out an important TKP aspect. Nevertheless, the rhythm / sound of music, enriched with harsh Slavonic voice flavor, speaks for itself more than enough. “Ether” for sure deserves some attention outside the Croatian borders as well.

I had two passing associations while listening to the record: recent reissue of Grč “Sloboda narodu” & the latest album by Blurt “Beneath Discordant Skies”.

The sound of “Ether” (recorded live in Split in winter ’15) is massive and impressive.

Great album. Highly recommended, yet again.

Step in. Don’t be afraid.

(the first impressions review, in Eastern European broken English, is intended for accidental foreign visitors of this site that are curious enough to give it a try!)

the Renderers: A Dream of the Sea

renderers

Amidst their stellar discography, The Renderers are best known for their album A Dream Of The Sea, released in the mid-nineties by  Siltbreeze, and now issued for the first time ever on vinyl in a gatefold jacket on the band’s own label. Various forces were at work – a revered label, increased attention towards New Zealand artists – but the greatest achievements were within the band itself. Maryrose and Brian Crook reached a new level of insight and honesty with their lyrics, forming a wave of insight and metaphor that is as forceful today as when first written. Songs draw from ghostly sea tales and personal demons, where the specters as much rise from the waters as emerge from within oneself. The forceful songs are propelled by tornados of guitar play, always rumbling and screeching underneath the singing. There’s a connection to be heard between The Renderers and Dead Moon, both bands dedicated wholly to the music they create, a fact clear in every note they play. When Buzzfeed gets around to making a list for it, A Dream Of The Sea will inevitably be listed amongst the greatest New Zealand rock albums of all time.