Monday 11 May 2015

Miki Petkovski 1979 Ko zna (Who Knows) [lossless]

There is a review on rateyourmusic that absolutely nails it:

Miki Petkovski is a great yet unnoticed classically trained pianist and keyboardist from Macedonia. Being member of some top notch bands from mid to late '70's from back then Yugoslavia as Smak, and Leb i Sol he managing to release his first solo album [and only album so far as I know --ed.] in 1979 named Ko zna ( Who knows), who gone totally under the radar of jazz rock/ prog movement of that time, despite some excellent musicianship and great ideas overall. On this release the musicians involved here are from Smak and Leb I Sol,  it sounded and performed at highest calibre not far in places of aformentioned bands in terms of instrumental arrangements. It has some commercial aura on some pieces and for that reason gone unnoticed in prog/jazz rock listeners of the time. The opening Igra (The game) is simply excellent, is short, positive and catchy in vibes and is a good opener, is little commercial in approach, but who cares is great. The highlights are for sure the instrumental tracks,  "luminacija (Illumination), Katarza (Catharsis) , and another two who was already played with his bands where he was involved with Leb I Sol - Sinteza (Synthesis) and with Smak - Budjenje (Awakening) , all these pieces are top notch showing Petkovski high skills and inventive ideas. He bordering very well jazz rock elements with progressive parts to create some outstanding  passages, easy memorable and full of character. All in all a very worthy release, I remember I got this one from Yugoslavia around 1991 and since then was a real delight. It's a shame that this release is not issued on CD yet, he deserve a far more recognition. Miki Petkovski moved to Canada soon after releasing this album and become quite popular among pianists and musicians from there releasing as well some album under his same or in collaboration. Ko zna deserves attention in the prime excellency this album is not far from the masterpieces of Leb I Sol or Smak. Easy 4 stars from me. I forgot nice female vocals.

Right on the money there...!   I will feature the long track called Illuminations (of course mentioned above) from the end of side a, a true stunner of a composition:

So, starting with a basic D minor (with added 2 to add that always-plaintive sound), very simply the melody is first dictated by the flute and another piano, and as the tension builds, you feel it increasing to a crescendo, the repeat pattern gets more intense on electric keys, and boom, just when you can't handle the dramatic intensity, it goes over the edge with a woman's la-la-la singing the melody, almost screaming it, in operatic style.  As if that weren't enough-- the song would have been a 5-star one up to that point-- Miki then plays a keyless, almost atonal but more Stravinskyesque polytonal series of chords as a bridge that reminds me a lot of the piano segues played I think by Chotem on Harmonium's Heptade 2-LP (could he have heard that work?): there is no definable key-- it really requires a lot of talent to play something like that, being groundless in musical education and thus pure genius, then there is a second stage to the song returning to the D minor, you think you're in a waltz tempo but in reality there is a beat missing from each fourth bar, so you get something like 3/4 twice then 3/4 then 3/4-- leading to an unfinished, almost chopped quality to the melody.  Pure genius!!! Have a listen through to the end and enjoy the many changes in this one unique composition.  All hail prog!


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  4. I really enjoyed the 'Illuminations' track - in a strange way, the vocals almost feels like the Eastern European reply to Dark Side Of The Moon and though I know nothing about the structural composition of music, nor can I play an instrument, I do enjoy reading your more technical reviews.

    I'm a big fan of Eastern Bloc era Yugoslavian films and music, though sound wise, I have more tended to concentrate on the electronic/pop/disco of things like Kim Band, Zana, Denis & Denis, Kornelije Kovac, Start and Cice-Mace etc.

    So discovering more of the progressive side of the former Yugoslavia, like this album is a real treat - One thing I do love is the Trio Dag album 'Secanja' which is considered a progressive-folk classic (and it has a great cover!).

    I thought I would be quicker off the mark this time with the FLAC version, but it looks like it has not lasted a week! So of course you know what is coming next request wise....!

    One thought would be to put the FLAC on Mega and have an encryption key up for a limited time - though really it is up me to be quicker on the download draw!

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