Boomkat Product Review:
Morphine back with this distinctive new set from acclaimed Serbian singer Svetlana Spajić (Antony and the Johnsons, William Basinski, Marina Abramović) alongside drummer Andi Stecher and Dekorder's Guido Möbius on this border-breaking debut album, fusing traditional Serbian folk elements with experimental electronics and expressive drumming. There are few comparisons here, but it should be essential listening for anyone into the Stroom axis.
The trio's unusual world-building meshes Möbius's abstract electonics and Stecher's intuitive, almost Krautrock-esque drumming with Spajic's distinct and moving vocals. Spajic is an Serbian icon, and has performed with artists such as Marina Abramović and Robert Wilson. She's best known for her contemporary realizations of Serbian traditional music, and here she dips seamlessly from old standards into personal improvisations. All the lyrics are taken from traditional music, allowing her own interpretations of extinct forms in line with the customs of traditional village singers.
On the opener Spajic reworks a love song from Odevce, a village in what's now eastern Kosovo, wailing mournfully over Möbius's drones and loose rhythms from Stecher, who slowly builds into a ritual thrum. 'Oh My Rose Flowers' is even more unusual: Spajic sings a song from southwestern Serbia in a scale known as 'kopaonički glas' or Kopaonik mountain air, modulating long tones while Möbius adds metallic feedback and Stecher drives forward with a pounding thud. Somehow, this music has the intensity of doom metal - think early Earth or Sunn O))) - and yet exists in entirely its own musical landscape.