Zhivko Vasilev is a popular Bulgarian kaval player. He is well known for his experiments with the kaval and the constant seeking for unexplored paths in music. His recent release Places contains eleven songs and has a runtime of about fifty-three minutes.
There’s a lot to this album and it's a bit hard to know where to begin. There’s so many different moods and flavors to the songs all of which contain exceptional musicianship. Take for instance the ominous and sparse “The Emigrant” which is thematic and felt a bit like music that would create tension in a movie. As the song progresses it begins it begins to solidify and energy begins to emerge. It’s jazzy and elegant. There’s some fantastic piano and drumming and overalls an impressive song.
The sweeping “It’s Raining in 7” is action packed with sound. There’s so much movement. I was wanting someone to dance to the song. There are also a lot of different sections. Great stuff.
Then you have the beautiful melancholy “Rotterdam Rooftop” which contains sweeping sad strings. Similar to the previous songs it felt thematic and then suddenly it shifts to midnight jazz that is absolutely serene and calming.
That’s followed by “Transcendence” which just has exceptional playing. The piano in particular sounded incredible but really everyone sounded top notch. As the album progresses there’s so much more to appreciate. The woodwind on “Rachensita” which sounds like a flute and the cello on “Eight Sheep” are a master class on playing.
One of the most beautiful songs and perhaps the most emotive song was “Sunrise with Zori.”This song in particular sounded spiritual. There are lots of interesting things happening all around this song from the synths to the strings. It’s also a very cinematic song.
This is an album that contains amazing musicians and definitely one that benefits from appreciating the technical aspects. It’s musicians' music in a lot of ways but at the same time I hope everyone can appreciate this exceptional album. Highly recommended.
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