Maybe Project Zlust's music is rooted in the classical tradition, but its members have always looked beyond the confines of any tradition. The band has consistently- -and sometimes, irreverentlybridged musical styles that range from jazz and rock to folk and avant-garde music; in effect, creating a powerful commentary on the different kinds of music available in our culture. Project Zlust has blurred musical categories, thus attracting an interest from audiences who might never have otherwise encountered a string ensemble. Seemingly working without any genre boundaries, the group has collaborated with luminaries including Kiril Dzajkovski, Nikola Kodzobashia, Toni Kitanovski and Bodan Arsovski. The group has created film scores like How I Killed A Saint
(Chicken Madness, 2004), contributed to other scores including Balcan-can
(Lithium, 2005) and The Great Water
(AG, 2006), and have released a slew of unique and interesting music.
Project Zlust and The Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra is the first recorded work from the group after an absence of almost five years, and consists of arranged and rearranged past material as well as new, unreleased music that has only seen the light of the day at its performances.
Arrangement-wise, the Philharmonic Orchestra doesn't act like a decorative unit, used only to add grandeur to Project Zlust's already genius compositions. Instead, there are close encounters between the two entities, interacting on a higher level. The arrangements for this big band retain the meticulous clarity and lightning reflexes of the small group. Let there be no misunderstanding: this band grooves, rocks, chills and burns; and, most impressively, it knows when to do each. But this is the beauty of the album: the orchestra provides a forum for Project Zlust's compositions to expand. The result is not merely novel or exotic, but a fresh, real and unusual musical experience.
The magic happens at a higher level when the two groups dialog with each other. Listening closely, it's possible to clearly hear the conversation and exchange between them. In terms of individual performances, there are many favorites to list, but there are also a few definite highlights: "Koza go Ubi Valerij," with its darting and stabbing brass; "Falcer," a fast-paced and swirling composition, with beautiful textures and a rhythmic roller coaster ride (as the title suggests, a waltz gone terribly wrong); and "El Zmeshe Pasa," a slow-moving, dirge-like affair with a beautiful, lyrical melody.
Project Zlust has delivered yet another masterful recording with Project Zlust and The Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra. In a career that has been defined by innovation and creativity, the Zlusts not only perform contemporary music, but invent new directions for it as well.
Personnel: Dzijan Emin: french horn, keyboards; Ivan Bejkov: doublebass; Gazmend
Berisha: violin; Mihail Josifov: trumpet; Zdravko Angelov: clarinet,
bass clarinet; Aleksandar Serafimov: alto sax; Vladimir Pop Hristov:
cello; Vladimir Krstev: violin; Aleksandar Sekulovski: drums; Goce
Stefkovski: percussion. Music composed, arranged and produced by
Dzijan Emin and Ivan Bejkov.