It has been a good while since I’ve opened the door to hear more music from the realms of MoonJune Records. And as for me, it is now a good time that I’ve decided to open that door again once more to hear some incredible good music from the label. And this time, it is the Vasil Hadzimanov Band. They have released their new album last year entitled, Lines In Sand.
Now I first became aware of Vasil’s music back in February of 2016 when I first heard him with his band featuring alto saxophonist David Binney on their live album, Alive. When I first heard his music, I wasn’t just blown away by their sound, but how he and his bandmates would take you on their magic carpet and be a part of their concert in Belgrade in October, 2014. And you can just close your eyes and imagine yourself being at that venue.
With Lines in Sand, the Vasil Hadzimanov Band go into structures that are Avant-Garde, Trance, Pop, and Psychedelic to name a few. They’re going the beyond the Jazz genre. For them, it’s about moving forwards and seeing where the next yellow brick road will take them into by seeing, hearing, and understanding to go beyond that genre.
When you listen to Kazi, you can almost imagine Vasil tipping his hat to the late great Edgar Froese and channeling the master himself, Klaus Schulze. He takes you into these passages by going into these mournful sounds of the organ with swarming synths, and going into the depths of Tangerine Dream’s Zeit and Atem with bits and pieces of Camel’s Moonmadness into the kitchen, and featuring some sampling drum loops done by Peda Milutinovic.
It switches into the funk on Maklik as he gives bassist Miroslav Tovirac a chance to delve into those funky sounds from his wah-wah pedal. Bojan’s spacey fusion delay effects gives some ideas that he and Miroslav travel through space and time as Vasil goes into the waters of the Headhunters-era of Herbie Hancock while Dean Bowman’s vocals on For Clara, shows this nod that he gives between R&B singer Lou Rawls and Chicago’s Terry Kath.
But it has these echoing sounds that the band do. They channel these mysterious tones from the future of bringing both the Bebop and Atmospheric voyages with an ominous approach to Kind of Blue. Now on Mr. MoonJune, Vasil shows his appreciation by writing a composition about the master behind the label for 18 years, Leonardo Pavkovic. Bojan and Tovirac show those funky-fusion improvisations as Vasil’s synths fly upwards to the sky before going into a Vince Guaraldi concerto.
Rastko Obradovic’s sax fill up the missing puzzle pieces as Branko’s chords and Borjan’s percussion lend the saxophonist a helping hand. When I was listening to this track, I could tell that they honor the chord melodies in the styles of Miles Davis’ Freddie Freeloader. The beautiful vocals done by Marta Hadzimanov on Lost are sung in the melodic structures of Robert Wyatt’s arrangements of Calyx from Hatfield and the North’s self-titled debut.
She channels Wyatt’s voice as if honoring him to go through the scales that he would do on the track as the opening piece goes into this Brazilian bossa-nova intro from Vasil’s piano. From the major and minor chords as it sets up this sun-rising atmosphere before the tribal drumming by Milutinovic and Tovirac’s bass lend Vasil goes into this groove-like quality on the piano.
It can really get you up to speed before they would come up with next by walking across the hottest part of the city to enjoy those delicious ice cold teas. Ratinici Podzemlja (Warriors of the Underworld) sees the band going into a....disco phrase? Okay, well that really took me by surprise, but it does have this dancing vibration to carry the beat around with a chugging twist by having the disco ball shining brightly on them.
This was my fourth time listening to Lines in Sand. Vasil and his team have come around to bring more ideas to life. Now for me, this was quite the challenge to hear what Vasil has done on his new album by going into different formats of music that is on here. As I’ve mentioned earlier, this is not just a jazz album, but bringing different structures to life. And I hope that he will continue to do more on the next adventures that awaits him.
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