Perunko (Nikola Milosevic)
Perunko (Nikola Milosevic)
Above all, these songs represent the solitary standpoint of a true visionaire, the one who will surely mark the beginning of new era of Balkans avantgarde music. Songs also draw upon the tone and sentiment of an abstract mission statement, and struggle to overcome an introverted sense of suicidal desperation with audacious anthems that combine a driving pop beat, ominous guitar assault, and sprightly glockenspiel decoration into a passionate, fist-pumping album manifesto. So long as we're unable or unwilling to fully recognize the healing aspect of embracing honest emotion in avantgarde music, we will always approach the sincerity of a demo like "Izgubljeno vreme" from a clinical distance. Still, that it's so easy to embrace this demo's operatic proclamation of love and redemption speaks to the scope of Perunko's vision.
It's taken perhaps too long for us to reach this point where a demo is at last capable of completely and successfully restoring the tainted phrase "emotional" to its true origin. Dissecting how we got here now seems unimportant. It's simply comforting to know that we finally have arrived. Comparing this to other albums is like comparing an aquarium to blue construction paper. And not because it's jazz or fusion or ambient or electronic.
Classifications don't come to mind once deep inside this expansive, hypnotic world. Ransom, the philologist hero of C.S. Lewis' Out of the Silent Planet who is kidnapped and taken to another planet, initially finds his scholarship useless in his new surroundings, and just tries to survive the beautiful new world. The experience and emotions tied to listening to Perunko - Izgubljena Zemlja are like witnessing the stillborn birth of a child while simultaneously having the opportunity to see her play in the afterlife on Imax.
It's an album of sparking paradox. It's cacophonous yet tranquil, experimental yet familiar, foreign yet womb-like, spacious yet visceral, textured yet vaporous, awakening yet dreamlike, infinite yet 39 minutes. As with David Toop's book Ocean of Sound, it all starts with the gamelan. "Prologue" takes the resonance of a cymbal and slows it to gong speed, conveying the ritual of the Javanese form with clouds of metallic harmonics that seem to hang in the air. Parts one and three of "Bojiste" use a sound palette pulled Pierre Schaeffer et al., at the Radiodiffusion-Television Francaise, with white noise electro-wind and jarring squelches from outer space that allow you to see knobs being twisted by human hands.
These are the sounds that sent sci-fi film composers in search of the future of music. By the time we get to "Mag" Izgubljeno vreme hits its minimalism phase, as an opening burse of noise dissolves into a looped series of piano notes that brings immediately to mind Steve Reich's late-60s phase pieces. The influence of Reich, Glass and Riley is everywhere in the last ten years, obviously, but "Mag" is a neat demonstration of how Perunko is able to put such familiar influences to original use. As the piece builds and the layers of piano begin to overlap he introduces a subtle melancholy melody that starts low but eventually overwhelms the loops. Though its roots come from carefully applied formalism, the piece develops a tactile theatrical drama. "Atila" has the same sort of neo-tribal Popol Vuh feel as the Antithesis EP's "Schnee", using a dark, gothic organ a simple drum groove.
The tracks flow one into the next over the course of next 16 minutes, moving from the minimalism hinted at earlier in the record into a sublime distillation of the possibilities in modern signal processing. Another repetitive melodic pattern, this time on acoustic guitar, gradually transforms into a primordial soup of computer bleeps, clicks, and eventually, thin tendrils of gauzy drone. Here forbearers are Markus Popp and Nobukazu Takemura, though again Perunko's spin is carefully designed to maximize emotional impact. The tail end of this long piece is the most purely beautiful five minutes of sound I've heard in a couple years at least.
Throughout the record Perunko, while using the hardware and approach of early electronic masters, has a songwriter's ear for structure and a commitment to human warmth. Whatever their vintage these machines sing. www.perunko.co.sr Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..