The subject of a future Exposé magazine
article, Tadic has been quietly churning out some innovative music on the hermetic
MA Records label, as well as CMP and others, for about ten years now. From the
crunching blast of his "Let's be Generous" collaboration with Joachim Kuhn, Tony
Newton, and Mark Nauseef; to this recent offering of pieces based on Macedonian
songs, pairing his acoustic guitars with those of Stefanovski, Tadic is someone
deserving of a definite helping of recognition by a larger audience. All aspects
of the perfomer's craft are on display on "Krushevo", showing both players' ability
to blend and swing soulfully, whether soloing, accompanying, or in unison. Along
the way they capture every nuance of style: jazz, rock, blues, and traditional
forays all interweave and connect the dots to a work of true mastery and significance,
while in the process tossing off odd-meter passages as if they were playing 4/4
in their sleep. And yes, Tadic and Stefanovski can - and often do - play fast.
Blistering fast. If you were impressed by the John McLaughlin/Paco De Lucia projects,
then feast the ears on something a little less conventional, more exotic, but
equally inspiring. I won't give away too many details here and spoil all the fun.
Look for a future article to go into more depth. The only problem with Miroslav's
work has been laying gloves on his fiendishly elusive recordings. (Release a second-rate
neo-prog CD though and get distributed by every Tom, Dick and Harry with a web
site!). It took some searching; but check the addresses following this review
for reliable sources to track down this absolutely recommended work.
- Mike Ezzo, Exposé
Magazine; May, 1999
P R E S S R E V I E W
Vlatko Stefanovski & Miroslav Tadic, “Krushevo”
[MA Recordings MO44A]
Ancient Soil, Ancient Blues
Nelson Brill, The Stereo Times
January 2006 l
“Little by little
empties its pockets-
foam and fluff;
and the long, tangled ornateness
Excerpt from Morning Walk, poem by Mary Oliver (Houghton Mifflin 1997)
If you are not familiar with the audiophile gems of MA Recordings (www.marecordings.com) I hope to introduce a snippet of this great recording catalogue to you in this review of one of my favorites, the evocative and expressive guitar duo of Vlatko and Miroslav in “Krushevo.” MA Recordings was founded in Japan in 1988 and its catalogue reflects the truly world-folk aspirations of its engineer, producer and designer, Todd Garfinkle. Garfinkle has taken his custom built recording equipment to all corners of the globe, seeking to record acoustic music performed in unique and significant acoustic spaces, whose sonic footprint leaves as much a trace on MA Recordings as the individual artists represented. Indeed, MA Recordings exists to promote the quality of sound, the importance of solitary sounds, their musicality and diversity, as much as the overall melodies and compositions presented. In the same way as Mary Oliver describes in her poem how gifts are bestowed by the sea, I find that when I listen to the MA Recordings I own, I am always rewarded with new sonic gifts provided by way of Garfinkle’s recording techniques in these grand and unusual acoustic spaces, partnered with the sheer artistry of the musicians he has collected under their roofs.
“Krushevo” is the name of the town in central Macedonia where, high in the mountains, a large stone monument was built in the mid-1970’s, to commemorate the Macedonians that rebelled against the Ottoman Empire. Garfinkle’s beautifully designed photos of this unique “space-ship” building on the disc’s jacket belie the beauty that lies within: the profound interplay of two great guitarists playing “Balkan Blues” reverberating in an astonishing acoustic environment. From the opening lines of the swirling traditional dance, “Gajdarsko Oro” (“Bagpipe Reel”), we are treated to Vlatko’s fleet footed solos on his Sakura nylon guitar, perfectly foiled by Miroslav’s punctuations on his classical guitar. Back and forth they go, masterfully climbing the steps of this furious melody until they come to a feverish climax. Once the last note is struck, your system will be tested to its maximum to convey the glorious decay of this last punctuated note reverberating off the stone walls of this unique, rounded acoustic space, ad infinitum. I have never heard such wonderful ambience of both recorded space as well as the body of the instruments employed.
We move from shimmering dance melody to a sweet, lilting melody of “Jovano, Jovanke,” with both players lightly and oh so delicately improvisating, pushing the envelope of jazz riffs, Eastern rhythms and sprightly chord changes. Where this exploration goes is anyone’s guess, but there is no doubt as to the mastery of the players, the inner beauty of the song and the way the unique acoustic space colors and intertwines with this creation. At the song’s conclusion, there remains a solitary note from a guitar, delicately lingering in the air and walls of this round acoustic space. This same acoustic portal provides the vessel in which Vlatko and Miroslav forge an involving chemistry of give and take, rock and roll and pulsating earthy melodies, spun from songs in the Macedonian folk tradition.
On “Ni Prela Gora Ni Tkala” (“The Forest Doesn’t Weave and It Doesn’t Knit”), each guitarist takes a turn with a glowing soft melody, turning it around and around, employing sweet caresses and long held notes that reverberate deep into the acoustic space. Harmonics trail away as smoke and then we are set off to see “Dafina With Cheeks Like Red Wine,” an ancient song from the East, with a rounded, warm melody that will stay in your head for a while. Here, Vlatko shows off his razor sharp plucks on string, where (if your system is up to it), each quick transcient echos off into the corners of the acoustic space, deep inside this unique chamber. Finally, we come upon the dobro and its magical resonant qualities played by Vlatko on “Ajde Dali Znaes Pametic Milice (“Do You Remember Milica”), partnered with the strums and beats placed upon the wood body of Miroslav’s guitar. Once again, I have never heard such a beautiful recording of the acoustic body of a wooden instrument as when Miroslav lightly taps his guitar in accompaniment, or how the strums on Vlatko’s dobro extend into the air, leaving the sound to permeate and literally dance upon the walls of this unique recording space. This culminates a very special sonic journey these two masters of the string in their pilgrimage to this hillside village in Macedonia. Garfinkle’s brilliant capturing of this musical event will indeed resonate in your heart and mind long after the last note is struck.
We welcome any suggestions for audiophile recording gems. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
MA RECORDINGS INTRODUCES THE "EMERALD AUDIOPHILE SERIES"
In our efforts to make for a more colorful sonic and musical experience, MA Recordings introduces the "Emerald Audiophile Series". It is well known among concerned audiophiles that light refractions of the optical laser thru the polycarbonate universally used in compact discs can make for a less than accurate reading of the digital musical content.
MA's "Emerald Audiophile Series" discs are actually made with a dark green polycarbonate, to help alleviate the potential problems associated with internal light refraction and enable a more accurate reading of the digital data from the optical disc, delivering the music with more finesse, and ultimately the original intention of the performer(s) and producer.
For an enhanced musical experience, MA invites you to audition our "Emerald Audiophile Series"