Dušan Jevtović 2020
When sonic invisibility is not an option, ignoring guitar experiments might be risky.
The unpredictability of this Serbia-born-Barcelona-based artist’s oeuvre could have been arresting if it wasn’t in the state of constant flux – and not because improv must be moving by default but because one never knows what style will find their way into Dušan Jevtović’s music next time around. In the two and a half years after "No Answer" saw the light of day, he released no less than three concert albums to stress the perpetual flow of creative juices yet, laid down live in a studio, “If You See Me” should take things further by throwing agenda to the wind which would bring back deceptively out-of-the-blue influences. With a footloose, if sympathetic, team of Bernat Hernandez, Markus Reuter and Gary Husband on board, the guitarist could never go wrong anyway, only the ways explored here are deeply individual – bold and graceful in equal measure.
The airy passages of opener “Walking Seven” may seem cautious, of course, but once the six-string strum and cymbals’ rustle start bristle with a half-hidden riff, surface tension increases and a tune is born. Soon it’s blurred into kaleidoscopic swirls of multilayered, and mutilated, bits, for the romantic buzz behind the record’s title track – ticking with urgency and sporting Latin stripes – to produce a strangely orchestral, though claustrophobic, panorama. Herded by tapan, various strands come together in “Babe (Grannies)” where the village choir gets entangled in meandering drama and electronic loops don’t let go of Dušan’s serrated lines that, smoothed over and tightened to form a twang, crawl in “Blue” towards Louisiana swamps. Still, the elegiac abstractness of “Something In Between” can’t linger so, on the fretless bass’ prompt, guitar pierces the piece with acidic attack which will subside and allow “Once Ocho” unfold a Catalan-flavored tapestry.
Yet nothing stings and sticks as strong as “Si Pooro” that, insistent and often stripped of accompaniment, is grooving with exotic, funky gusto, contrasting the vesper-like calm of “Ending”: the quiet finale of a disturbingly beauteous album. Twelve years since his debut, Dušan Jevtović has bloomed enough to reach the pinnacle of his career.