Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Arsenije Jovanović - s/t (1994 compi of works 1977-1993)

Four remarkable and engrossing works from Serbian radiophonic composer (and theatre, radio and television director, and author/professor) Arsenije Jovanović, b. 1932.  We're in similar sonic and conceptual territory here to Ivana Stefanović, who I posted last year - they even shared an album once, which I'll need to track down.

For today, we join Jovanović on a few of his many travels, first of all in a cave in an old abandoned Serbian village.  Invasions (1978) is certainly an apt primer for what an accomplished sound recordist and mixer Jovanović is - goes without saying this a headphones turned up the max album - as the sounds for voice, percussion and a wind instrument bounce around the eerie space.  We stay underground for Resava Cave (1977), where the percussive sounds apparently include the stalagmites and stalagtites in Jovanović's search for the natural, timeless acoustic.  He also wanted the vocal performers to sound as primally liberated as possible, the unsettling results suggesting that million-year-old spirits have been summoned.

Back on the earth's surface, Jovanović hears some very strange seagulls on an uninhabited island, and learns that elderly donkeys were once abandoned there, the birds over time mimicking their forlorn cries.  His liner note then veers off into an unrelated donkey encounter, and doesn't clarify whether or not the sound sources for Island Of The Dying Donkeys (1988) feature authentic field recordings and/or recreations - most of the voices sound suspiciously human.  Either way, the 20-minute piece is so head-spinningly bizarre that it simply has to be heard to be believed.

Finally, Jovanović returns home, and reflects on some of the many odd objects and strange sounds that he's collected over the years. (This is as much as I could figure out from the description, the French record label's liner note translator having apparently given up at this point.)  Ma Maison (1993) certainly sounds like an extended inventory of interesting sounds, from voice, percussion, wind instruments and all kinds of environmental recordings.  As with everything on this collection, the end result just sounds phenomenal, which is probably the main reason I keep going back to it repeatedly.  Highly recommended.


1 comment:

  1. One of the great relatively unknowns. Now someone needs to stream capture all the unreleased recordings from Kunst Radio's website. I only wish I knew how.