If You See Me

by Dusan Jevtovic

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Blue 05:53
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Si Pooro 04:06
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Ending 02:46 video

about

Some albums tease and caress as they envelop a listener in an enchanting embrace. Some albums just enthusiastically grip their audience by the collar and will not let go. Some albums like Dusan Jetovic’s If You See Me are able to satisfy in many ways and straddle both extremes.
Frenzy and discord are set against and juxtaposed with musical passages that possess elegance and gentle harmony. If You See Me, has the rare ability to vigorously, bludgeon the senses and delicately stroke the emotions as it simmers, snaps, boils, and bristles with imaginative creativity.
In tunes such as, the exciting SiPooro, it possesses a feral unpredictability that quickens the pulse and heightens every aspect of the senses. On occasions, in tunes like Endings, it has a flickering fragile beauty that provides a reflective balm for the spirit. Therefore, this is an album that will soothe the heart, knuckle wrap the fingers, satisfy the mind and much more.
If You See Me is a superbly crafted fusion master class. Boulder peaks, sparse rocky outcrops and verdant valleys all have a role within a musical landscape that is infused with bulging bass parts, percussive rock falls and riff laden melodies. These elements effortlessly combine and reside within the complex, shifting rhythmic patterns displayed.
If You See Me bursts enigmatically with heartfelt emotion, containing intricate solo lines and enticing instrumental passages. If You See Me has a capricious quality that is gratifying on many different levels. It is never clichéd nor trite. It can be strikingly aggressive, but can also be beguiling and placid. It is frequently beautiful, but can also be disturbingly discordant. However, above all else, If You See Me has a unique melodious core.
I am confident that the ear friendly melody of the opening piece, Walking Seven will move listeners. I also suspect that they will be equally shocked and impressed by Jevtovic’s heavily distorted guitar tones that dominate the tracks middle section. This album’s-satisfying aftertaste wafts and lingers, long after its last notes, with a final sustained ripple, disperse and fade from brightness into grey.
If You See Me was recorded in a live manner at la Casa Murada Studios, Spain 2017 and was mixed and mastered by Juan Pablo Alcaro, Buenos Aires Argentina. Jevtovic composed the pieces, but the manner in which the album was created, offers many opportunities for imaginative improvisation and innovation to occur.
The album has an infectious spirit that often makes it simply irresistible. It features Dusan Jevtovic, guitar, Marcus Reuter stick guitar, Bernat Hernandez fretless bass, and Gary Husband drums. Guest Musician Aleksandar Petrov plays the Tapan, which is a traditional Macedonian type of drum, on six of the eight tracks. His parts were overdubbed in the studio. They are the only parts of this outstanding album that were not recorded live.
With contributions by such eminent and outstanding musicians, it is not surprising that If You See Me oozes with class and quality. Gary Husband and Marcus Reuter need little introduction. Gary Husband has been at the cutting edge of progressive jazz and jazz fusion for many years and has worked with such notable musicians as Allan Holdsworth, Dewa Budjana and Antoine Fafard.

Marcus Reuter is a much sought after player. In 2019 alone, he featured on albums by artists as diverse as Stephan Thelan, Nocturne Blue and Mark Wingfield, as well as touring extensively with his band the Stick Men and composing his String Quartet No. 1 'Heartland' album.
Reuter’s sensitive use of his touch guitar and the higher frequency tones that he regularly frequents offers a perfect foil to Jevtovic’s gruff heavy tones and excellent choice of various effects. His flowing contribution in the opening passages of the superb title track is particularly impressive. Fans of Robert Fripp will no doubt, be enthused by Reuter’s flowing style and milk-silk tone.
Bernat Hernandez is a Barcelona based bassist, composer and producer. For over twenty years, Hernandez has been developing his own idiosyncratic use of tone and textures to create a memorable bottom end sound and style. He has mostly worked within the field of jazz and jazz fusion and was once a student of the acclaimed bassist Gary Willis, whose contribution to Tribal Tech. is renowned by fusion aficionados. Hernandez performance on the bass is impressive throughout, but his beautifully constructed contribution during Blue is particularly notable
Aleksandar Petrov is a Macedonian born percussionist and a composer. His instrument of choice is the Tapan. He has been involved in tradition Balkan music since the age of 12 and was the percussionist in the free jazz album Фемили Reunion released in 2007
Jevtovic’s excellence on the guitar is in evidence throughout the album. In the past, he has worked with Xavi Reija and Vasil Hadzimanov amongst others. If You See Me is the guitarists 5th solo album. This release is probably his most important album to date and his fretted performance is often extraordinary.
During If You See Me, Jevtovic extends and arguably perfects a style that mixes western jazz fusion with Balkan folk music. Previously, there were colourful hints and subtle suggestions of this stylistic approach in Jevtovic’s No Answer and Live at Home release. However, his artistic vision to amalgamate progressive jazz fusion with a taste of the Balkans is fully realised to great effect in this album.
Much of the folk flavours stem from the rhythmic nature of the compositions and in this respect, Petrov plays his part fully and helps to meld the tunes, so that a new flavour of music is obtained that draws equally from both Balkan folk and contemporary and musical forms
This is apparent during the superb Babe. It is probably the most innovative and intriguing piece of the release and highlights Jevtovic’s strengths as a guitarist and as a composer. It is brimming with complex shape shifting rhythms and heavy discordant passages. The sampled voices of Serbian folk singing at the beginning, middle and end of the piece, give the track an added ethnic appeal and provides a gratifying fusion of genres and styles that works on every level.
One of my favourite pieces on the album is Onceocho and for many listeners it will undoubtedly be one of the albums many highlights. The introduction is sublime and features Reuters Fripp like tones, which counter balanced in a majestic manner by Jevtovic’s gentle embellishments. However, it is only when the tune fully develops that its genius is fully revealed. Its collision and subsequent blending of Western Jazz and ethnic influences creates a memorable piece that explores a variety of moods and styles and is satisfying in every respect.

If You See Me is an important and exciting release. It should appeal to fans of instrumental jazz fusion music that enjoy albums that are intense and sometimes full of dark foreboding. Its enviable ability to convey a kaleidoscope of auditory moods offers a warm vision of green shrouded Balkan forests radiantly distorted by the ruddy glow of a summer haze. However, the menace of ink black clouds distantly perched on far away rock-strewn summits is never far away.
Consequently, moments of tranquillity and reflection, aggression and gentleness, harmony and discord frequently merge and coexist. Jevtovic’s memorable compositions explore these feelings in an imaginative and original manner. This creates an album that is often utterly compelling and convincing in every way.
Owen Davis

credits

released March 20, 2020

Dusan Jevtovic guitar
Markus Reuter Touch guitars® AU8, live looping
Bernat Hernandez fretless bass
Gary Husband drums
Special guest:
Aleksandar Petrov tapan (Macedonian traditional drums)

All songs composed and arranged by Dusan Jevtovic.

Produced by Dusan Jevtovic

Recorded live in studio by Jesus Rovira, at La Casa Murada Studio, Banyeres del Penedes, Spain, on may 2017. Tapan overdubed in studio Podrumot, Skoplje, Macedonia.
All tracks mixed and mastered by Juan Pablo Alcaro, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Design:Aleksandar Popovic
Cover photo: Endika Ussia

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Dusan Jevtovic Barcelona, Spain

Dusan Jevtovic is a guitar hero for those with little patience for the cliché histrionics that have come to define the field. While most ultra practitioners continually punctuate bold statements with speed and excess, Dusan tickles the ears with an overabundance of surprises and restraint. From a review for the Modmove by Rob Hudson Australia ... more

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