Exposé Online banner

Kristo Rodzevski — The Rabbit and the Fallen Sycamore
(Much Prefer MPR-003, 2018, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2018-07-03

The Rabbit and the Fallen Sycamore Cover art

The Rabbit and the Fallen Sycamore is an album that takes many listens to reveal itself, and even after maybe a dozen times through, I’m still not really sure what to make of it. Obviously I don’t dislike it, or I would have been able to write a negative review after one or two listens. On a conceptual level, I rather like it. Kristo Rodzevski strikes me primarily as a poet who sets his words to music, rather than a singer-songwriter. In this respect, he can be compared to Peter Blegvad or even Jim Carroll, and like those two, his voice is not the kind to win singing contests, being on the thin side and slightly quivery. What really sets him apart, and provides much of the album’s appeal, is the group of musicians he’s recruited to fill out the arrangements. In addition to his own acoustic guitar, we hear Mary Halvorson on electric guitar, Kris Davis on piano, Ingrid Laubrock on tenor sax, Brian Drye on trombone, Michael Blanco on double bass, and Tomas Fujiwara on drums. Halvorson and Fujiwara we know from Thumbscrew, and the others are also known from the New York avant-jazz scene. Rodzevski (properly Rodževski) is from Macedonia, and there are hints of unusual phrasing and an accent in his English singing, though in general the lyrics are good — I think he repeats “Ralph Lipschitz, why did you change your name?” a few too many times in “Your Name,” but other songs feature many interesting turns of phrase. Musically, it’s Halvorson whose playing most defines the sound of the album, full of unusual voicings, dissonant intervals, and freaky effects, though with her signature semi-clean tone. The rhythmic backing from Blanco and Fujiwara is jazzy in an unclichéd way, with nods to rock rhythms due to the songs’ straight eighth notes. The horns put it firmly in the jazz camp, with parts that stray well outside what you’d normally hear in a singer-songwriter context. The really interesting thing about this music is that Rodzevski is not really a jazz singer, and the songs don’t really feel like jazz songs (admittedly a highly subjective statement), with some elements of Eastern European folk and a touch of art-punk in the mix. In short The Rabbit and the Fallen Sycamore is unlike anything you’re likely to have heard unless you’re familiar with Rodzevski’s two previous recordings with Halvorson, Blanco, and Fujiwara. Just don’t expect to get it on the first hearing, and give it the time to sink in.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Mary Halvorson, Kristo Rodževski

More info
http://store.cdbaby.com/cd/kristorodzevski3

Latest news

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Walter Hill - Popjazz – There are a few important reasons to consider why slick jazz is still popular, emphasizing passionate sax lines and comfortable grooves. One is that the best session musicians are on tap to record a...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues