Monday, 5 June 2017

Ivana Stefanović - Inner Landscape (1996 compi of works 1979-1992)

Handy three-work intro to Serbian composer Ivana Stefanović (b. 1948 in Belgrade), who studied at IRCAM in Paris before starting work at Radio Belgrade, where she founded a Sound Workshop in 1985.  She's frequently described as a primarily radiophonic composer (the CD booklet uses the phrase multiple times), so we'll go for that as the category for this fascinating album.

First up is Interpretation Of A Dream (1983/4) for solo flute, tape and female speaking voices.  Starting out with pure flute tones, the piece quickly goes a bit Maggi Payne with the effects, before introducing urgent whispered voices a la Homotopy-era NWW - the more percussive noises of the flute and other odd, echoing sounds also have a bit of Stapletonian feel.  The voices in this unsettling dream recount fragments of The Poet's Prayer by Vesna Krmpotić and Rosa Luxemburg's Letters From Prison.  The second work, Whither With A Bird In The Palm (1979/80), for percussion and tape, has a similarly dark atmosphere, sometimes recalling the Bartok Adagio made famous by Stanley Kubrick (in The Shining) and others.  The great range of percussive sounds is bit like a tape-manipulated reduction of that Yoshihiro Kanno album I posted a little while ago.

The most epic work is saved for last - 32 minutes of Metropolis Of Silence/Ancient Ras (1991/2), described as a radiophonic sound poem.  According to the sleevenotes, "This composition was taped in the recording studio after a year of field research of live sound fossils etched into the remnants of the medieval Serbian town of Ras and its surroundings."  After opening with sounds of nature, the sonic landscape comes to life with the voices of the Renaissance Ensemble, who performed vocal and musical improvisations in the open spaces of the town remnants and the Sopoćani and Crna Reka monasteries.  Fascinating stuff to listen to on headphones, with the extended length letting the concept really take effect, before it all ends by a flowing river.



  1. Thanks for this. That last piece is amazing. reminded me a bit of 'A Quiet Gathering' by Steve Moore...

    1. Thanks for the link Peter, that album's phenomenal! ReR totally need to reissue it.

  2. thanks! it sounds right up my street - nice one!

  3. thanks - this is wonderful, a real find!

  4. Looks interesting, got to give it a listen. Always on the lookout for electronic/electroacoustic/computer/tape. Thanks!