Incredible sounds from a longtime fringe music creator out of the great north of New England. TOM KOVACEVIC of Portland, ME (hell of a town) passes along a secret note to lucky us in the form of his exquisite new record on IMMUNE RECORDS, UNIVERSE THIN AS SKIN. As a member of wonderful, creative music makers such as FIRE ON FIRE, CERBERUS SHOAL, and tarpigh we @ the Hassle have come into close and personal contact with Kovacevic on a number of occasions. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that the music found here, an Arab music informed folk, is so utterly mind blowing (and soul stirring). But it is just that. Why? Because the music just moves beyond what could reasonably have been expected. Songs have been crafted with Kovacevic’s voice being paired with his playing of the oud, and the nay flute, as well as both the djembe and tchung drums. After many years of masterful guitar playing Kovacevic turned to learning the ins and outs of the guitar’s ancestor, the oud. Further along into his 20+ years of studying Arab music he turned to the nay flute, one of the oldest instruments in continual use (4,000+ years). It goes without saying that these instruments lend an otherworldly feel to the proceedings. Such feeling would be meaningless and rudderless without finely crafted songs with which to guide them. Thankfully, TOM KOVACEVIC provided just that, and so this thing called UNIVERSE THIN AS SKIN is whole.
“Steady Stream of Course” is a shambling, beautiful, and strange sounding ramble along the Maine shore. Plaintive, and and mournful sounding the song shuffles along, a gorgeous guitar line winding around the minimal percussion. Our bard’s voice soaring above, occupying unusual spaces, at least to ears not used to listening to the intervals on display in this music. Sparse, and haunting this is just some of the most beautiful music that I’ve heard all year. In spirit with your better mid-60s experimental/ psychedelic folk or the more song oriented among the New Weird America set, which of course makes sense because the incredible CERBERUS SHOAL has to be considered part of that thing, right? Great to know that TOM KOVASEVIC is there lurking somewhere in my New England backyard, playing beneath some tree, light provided by the moon.
IMMUNE RECORDS is also responsible for the latest MICAH BLUE SMALDONE album, so you know that they know, and you can feel safe in this shared knowing.