Words by Kim Burton
Bulgarian singer Gergana Dimitrova will be familiar to many as a member of the women’s vocal ensemble, the Eva Quartet. For this solo project, she has retained the Bulgarian singing style, sensibility and harmonic language developed over the second half of the last century, while setting it in a floating, impressionistic sonic space, cunningly combining and confusing acoustic sounds with electronic ones, her affecting voice emerging from flickering sonic backdrops of animal-like moans and whines, chiming keyboard sonorities and instrumental flurries. It’s a contemplative music that takes its time; even when a groove takes hold, the music never hurries, and Dimitrova and her collaborator Aleks Nushev set fragmented accordion and gadulka (bowed lute) lines against lush, sometimes grandiose textures, developing slowly and surely over the duration of the piece.
The musicians are unafraid to mix styles, native and otherwise. ‘Shopski Yenge’, for example, juxtaposes fragments of rural song, typified by grinding close harmonies and piercing drones, with didgeridoo, the dark boom and rattle of a frame drum, and fluttering sampled nonsense syllables spun into a sequenced line. Each level of the music moves at a different speed. It’s a highly effective, beautifully imagined and refreshing recording, and a worthy successor to previous releases by this pioneering label.
TRACK TO TRY: ‘A Wedding at the Camel Caravan’