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Novi Sad
Misguided heart pulses, a hammer, she, and the clock
(Tilt Recordings) CD

 This poetically titled disc is the first full-length release by Greek musician Thanasis Kaproulias, aka Novi_Sad, and it is an exceptionally strong debut. Suffused with tension and a sense of dark foreboding, each of the three long pieces is composed using a few simple, but finely wrought elements — field recordings, organ drones, a voice, sine tones, and the like. The disc opens in near silence with the sounds of a trickling stream emerging out of the murk and then, gradually, more sounds enter the mix, accreting and evolving into a richly detailed, gently pulsing drone. Overall, the structure of the pieces is relatively straightforward, but the care with which they’re put together and the quality of each individual ingredient, sets them apart and above. This is never more true than on the closing track, “Crawling on the Pavements of Your Skull.” Clocking in at almost 23 minutes, it’s a two-part epic that begins as a warm harmonic drone overlaid with an angst-ridden monologue by Liv Ullmann from the Ingmar Bergman film The Passion of Anna. After Ullmann’s voice fades to black, there is quiet until a sine tone pierces the silence, and another, more abrasive drone takes hold amidst a sea of haze and distortion. The piece builds to an ear-wrenching cacophony, and then, just as you can bear it no longer, drops out, leaving only the comparably soft sounds of traffic and street noise in its wake. Stunning.


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