In early XXI century, the Balkan region was completely devastated by removing socialism quickly and entered into a wild, weird and very aggressive transition that’s still ongoing today. We’ll keep politics aside very quickly – I promise, however when this album was released, Macedonia was just about to enter a civil war of nationalist character only two years after, Kosovo was under terrorization from the nationalist Serbs, and the whole war and chaos coming from Bosnia has just ended back in 1995.
The year is 1999, and a very talented producer Kiril (Kiril Dzajkovski) drops an atomic bomb of our kind. An album of breakbeat and trip-hop music transfused with traditional folklore elements and electronic signatures all throughout that shook the grounds and standards when it was released, and it’s one of those albums that will always hold a position in the ‘hall of fame’ from electronic releases from the region. Kiril goes beyond politics, religion and language. He uses the power of melody, rhythm and his own music taste to bring something of his own, a perfected blend of styles backed up with serious production behind him.
The production is completely on a different level than most of the stuff released during that time, but Kiril goes way beyond his technical abilities. The power of transferring the emotion of the people while using vocal samples from traditional Macedonian and Balkan folklore music, the rawness and beauty in the battle of all Balkan people, and the dynamics of the tracks that introduced many young people to genres that they haven’t even heard prior.
Discogs (CD) / Deezer (Streaming)
Unfortunately all the YouTube links are of lesser quality, either purchase the CD, stream it online or use your ways to get the best quality audio from this release, because it’s worth it and it makes a difference when listening.
It enters with Hereafter, a slow-paced trip-hop track that holds a very strong groove constantly. He introduces us with the ethnic folklore elements straight away, however the bassline and the whole base is first class electronic music that makes this track a very interesting painting of his.
It follows with Primitive Science, a track that will continue to be the junglist anthem of Macedonia, and perhaps one of the most popular tracks that was ever to be released from here. The simplicity and his ability to introduce us to the soundscape he created is beyond magical, a very fine blend of old school jungle, with once again, a folklore rich world with samples that could be selected and crafted like they’re through lots of years and passion for the people’s music, if I may.
When you’ll reach Swimmer, you’ll get introduced into a very emotional ambience intro, to be followed by amazingly programmed break that only continues to evolve effortlessly as the track proceeds to develop. Close to Comfort introduces you to his sound universe on a similar way, however the break is completely different, and provides a huge energy change after it enters.
Sweet Darkness of Solitude is slow, steady and bittersweet all-throughout. If somebody uploaded this one as ‘Massive Attack’ wrongly on YouTube, it would definitely pass without any suspicions from the most. Only after he introduces the traditional instruments would someone say: Wait, this definitely came from someone else… And yeah, Kiril uses a traditional folklore bagpipe that spices up things, but manages to keep everything very neatly packed and not go overboard with anything. This is one of those things that separates very good producers from the rest.
Continuing onto the second half of the album, Balkan Spy changes the atmosphere and brings light, with a very fast rhythm and more cheerful ambience setting, however the next track Rise & Fall again slows us down and puts us into a more serious universe. A Walk Through The Craters enters with a very raw bass-line with percussion elements just appearing at instances at first, like they’re shy, and as the track progresses, it enriches the whole experience with blending his very interesting electronic effects and melodies that follow.
1 Min, 04 Sec delivers the exact length, and is an interlude prior to the ending of this release. A soundscape that just explains how serious and deep this album is, behind all of those melodies and rhythms that he gave us so far. Matej is a thing I won’t try to describe very much with words, but following the interlude, it blends into something that I’m pretty certain has a deeper meaning for Kiril himself, that he wanted to share with all of us. The blend of positivity, inner child happiness and the disharmonies he infuses are something that you can decipher for yourself.