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Album Review

Kristijan Krajnčan: Zabučale Gore: The Mountains Roared


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Kristijan Krajnčan: Zabučale Gore: The Mountains Roared
The drumming cellist is not as common a species as perhaps it should be, judging by Zabučale Gore (The Mountains Roared), the third full-length album by multi-instrumentalist Kristijan Krajnčan. The Slovenian drummer and cellist spent two years exploring his country's folk music and mythology to better understand the national identity. That the results are emotionally engaging yet mysterious, traditional and modern, suggests that his search for the soul of Slovenia has returned, if not quite a chimera, then a shifting narrative that belongs as much to the idea of past as to the cultural signposts of song, sound and place.

Besides cello and drums, layered in tandem, Krajnčan adds wordless vocals, ghostly whistling and other miscellaneous sound effects. Percussion too, is employed for atmosphere rather than for rhythmic purposes—a scrunching of pebbles under feet here, the unobtrusive wash of a small gong there, or the simulation of cascading water. In what is essentially a solo outing by Krajnčan, Andrej Kobal is credited with sound design. Though most of the compositions take as their starting point traditional Slovenian folk songs, Krajnčan's singular vision, allied to significant post-production sculpting, frames the music in a timeless continuum.

This seam manifests itself from the outset, where the thundering tribal rhythms, reverb-heavy cello riffs and shamanistic cry of "Vodnja (The Well)" bleed into a sampling of a 1914 wax-cylinder recording of the traditional harvesting song "Tri Jetrve." This nostalgic window onto the past, filtered through Krajnčan's modern prism, provides the launching pad for a deeply bluesy cello solo. Sequencing this harvest work-song ahead of the rhythmically churning "Rasti Mi, Psenica (Grow, my Wheat)" may seem like placing the cart before the horse, but it serves to create a sense of the endless cycle of nature.

The music would work a treat as the soundtrack to a Slovenian road trip documentary, which, given Krajnčan's other credentials as a film maker is perhaps not surprising. The brooding title track, a Moravian song in origin, with Slovenian lyrics, sees Krajnčan's yearning bow give way to a more skewed, wrenching impressionism worthy of the most dramatic landscapes.

On "De Göra Plazina Mojä (Plazina, My Mountain)," the chant-like vocals of Marcellina Chinese and Anna Pusca, from a 1982 recording, repeat, mantra-like, against the cello's twisted siren and rumbling drums. This slightly unsettling atmosphere resolves peacefully in the self-penned "Requiem," a haunting cello coda of plaintive lyricism.

Krajnčan's search for the soul of Slovenia is a compelling tapestry of myriad musical threads that refuses to sit neatly in a box. Just as a nation's identity cannot be easily reduced to tangibles, or deny the influences of its neighbors, Krajnčan's language embraces the fluidity of music. And its mystery. A singular album of bold vision.

Track Listing

Vodnjak / The Well; Tri Jetrve / Three Sisters In Law; Rasti Mi, Pšenica / Grow, My Wheat; Zabučale Gore / The Mountains Roared; De Göra Plazina Mojä / Plazina, My Mountain; Requiem.


Kristijan Krajncan: cello.

Additional Instrumentation

Kristijan Krajnčan: drums; percussion; voice; effects; Andrej Kobal: sound design.

Album information

Title: Zabučale Gore: The Mountains Roared | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Hrošč Records

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