Dušan Jevtović & Vasil Hadžimanov 2021
Tremendously tremulous yet extremely robust sonic experiment from Eastern European instrumentalists who develop telepathy in order to reach out to the listener.
Hailing from Serbia, Dušan Jevtović and Vasil Hadžimanovn share a lot of ground, and not in strictly geographic terms – unless you don’t try and map their individual releases against each other. But there’s no need to do so, as this record picks up where 2017’s "No Answer" by the former, featuring the latter, left off, and the two albums’ artwork suggest such continuity, even though the pieces under the covers differ from the groove standpoint. “Duo” is just that: nine numbers which have no percussion – no counting Vasil’s hammering the piano and Dušan’s tapping the strings, a rare occurrence here – and which look for rhythm within a tune, reaching for the feel rather than the punch.
That’s why the twangy impact of “Searching For New” will be deferred until the ripple of Hadžimanov’s keys and the strum of Jevtović’s guitar reveal the entire dynamic hidden between their instruments and compress this room to the point where notes bounce out of sonic surface to create a sparsely exotic motifs, before the elegiac wonder of “Olas de Anhelo” brings forth serenity and lets the players weave their magic into a tight melodic filigree – with volume knob given a slight swirl and pedals a delicate push. And while “Coming Back From Yesterday” promises to offer a nostalgic jazzy unison, it’s bound to surprisingly resolve first in a passionate acoustic lace and then in stinging electric passages – redolent of prog rock in their marriage of synthesizers and effects – for the searing “El Raval” to display demonic romance.
That’s when “Space Salchicha” is allowed to speed up the drift and deliver a crazy fandango – caged and aiming to break free, fretboard vibrating and ivories trying to rein it all in only to derail the order too, thus creating contrast with “Carried By The Wind” whose troubled calm hints at cosmic storm that may follow in these fusion-informed waters. However, the chamber-like “Mente Pura” threads heartbreak through Dušan and Vasil’s simultaneous soloing, and “Third Second Step” doesn’t hold thunder either – on the contrary, the track’s improvisatory moves, merry as they are, embrace bliss in the end – but the nervous “Gipsy” does, in spades, splicing Hadžimanovn and Jevtović’s licks and shades of vocals into magnificent sketches of Serbian landscape.
As a result, “Duo” is much more than a sum of two parts: it’s a multidimensional portal into the enchanting unknown.