Bratko Bibič & the Madleys

Bratko Bibič & the Madleys of Bridko Bebič

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This album is Bratko Bibič's first solo effort after years spent in East-European avant-folk groups Begnagrad and Nimal. Although titled Bratko Bibič & the Madleys of Bridko Bebič, it doesn't feature the accordionist's backup band -- the "real" Madleys had yet to be found. Accompanying him are ex-Begnagrad clarinetist Bogo Pečnikar, violinist Matjaž Sekne, and L'Ensemble Rayé's trombonist, Shirley Hofmann. Nimal drummer Momo Rossel engineered the sessions, which stretched over two years, but he doesn't play on the album. The only percussive sounds heard come from the accordion -- Bibič is a master at exploiting every click and knock the instrument can produce. He also has a unique talent at writing heartwarming melodies and setting them to twisted stop-and-go rhythms. Drawing inspiration from Slovenian folk, he pushes the music further into avant-garde territory, using odd meters, atonality, and occasional free improv passages to find new paths to modern folk. All of this exploration is constantly pursued in a playful manner. This is music to hum along or dance to, although you may want to watch your step. Tunes like "Sackamra," "Jane," and "Madley" are simply beautiful -- some would find their way into the repertoire of the supergroup Accordion Tribe a few years later. This album is not as strong as Na Domacem Vrtu, but it remains genuinely lovable, albeit hard to find.

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