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Eyot: Innate

Bruce Lindsay By

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The drama of prog, the heft of rock and the subtleties of the jazz quartet all combine on Innate, the fourth album from Serbian quartet Eyot. This time round, the group has decamped to Chicago for recording purposes. Courtesy of big-name engineer/producer Steve Albini Innate benefits from excellent sound quality, which enhances the drama of much of the music.

The seven tunes are all written and arranged by the band, led by pianist Dejan Ilijic. Eyot has the hard-to-achieve command of the slow-burn: the ability to build tension at a languid pace, almost imperceptibly. "Mountain" epitomises this. It opens with Ilijic on his own, his gentle piano figures taking inspiration from the European classical tradition. The sudden entry of the rest of the band, especially Sladjan Milenovic on guitar (with more than a hint of Frippertronics in his sound), shifts the tune into ambient rock territory. As the volume builds and Milos Vojvodic's drums add power the tune becomes more tense but just before the tension threatens to take over completely bass, drums and guitar drop out and Ilijic is left alone once again.

"Mountain" has moments of great beauty, but the overall mood is melancholy. "Perun" is a happier affair—the title refers to the Slavic god of thunder—a prog-rock piece of drama driven by Vojvodic's pounding (thunderous) percussion. "Canon Of Isolation" might be dedicated to a Serbian scientist, but it's much lighter than this dedication and its rather ponderous title suggest—it has an oddly danceable rhythm too. Ilijic's lyrical approach to the piano is clear on the introductory section of "Veer." Such variation—of mood, inspiration, energy, rhythms—is another strength of this impressive release.

Track Listing: Veer; Helm; Mountain; Perun; Canon Of Isolation; Ramonda Serbica; Innate.

Personnel: Dejan Ilijic: piano; Sladjan Milenovic: guitar; Marko Stojiljkovic: bass; Milos Vojvodic: drums.

Title: Innate | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Ninety and Nine Records

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