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Strikingly unusual

KEITH BRAMICH samples D'Divaz

Bruka    973-1

D'DIVAZ. (p) 2000 Bruka Production

Tribal conflict, blood-curdling ancient chant [listen -- track 1, 0:00-1:11], insects, machinery, violence, classical and prepared piano ... just some of the concepts entering my head whilst listening to three young female Juilliard graduates, originally from Belgrade -- Milica Paranosic, Danijela Popovic and Aleksandra Vojcic. Teaming up to form D'Divaz, they throw some disturbingly original sounds at us, and, in their own words, 'create and perform music relevant to our present and our future'.

Based around various noises produced with pianos, the trio also play synths and percussion and produce their own strikingly unusual vocals. Much of the music is very original, with the best of it, arguably, with its chanting, crying, wailing and percussive piano sounds, in the first track, crne oci ('dark eyes').

go/kolo begins with quiet, percussive, repetitive, piano noises which continue for nearly six minutes before breaking into a Yugoslavian folk tune on piano. It's a species of advanced musical humour that could risk alienating some listeners, but I doubt that D'Divaz (who left their lives in Yugoslavia at the beginning of the conflict in 1991 for a new start in New York) lose much sleep worrying about such things.

A suite of five short tracks entitled nobody's begins with some plucked low piano strings and electronica, then stabs of sampled piano and effects, includes a weird waltz with an allargando feel and concludes with an electronics number featuring artificial birdsong sounds.

panasonik is constructed from more electronica -- bright high sounds and water droplet noises -- and then piano. The shimmering pitch shifting effects here are a bit over the top, and this is probably intentional.

I wonder what s'x is about ... long, gentle and haunting, beginning on one note, picking up pace as it continues, then climaxing [listen -- track 9, 5:26-6:26] at about six minutes in. Is it significant that it's on this track that D'Divaz are first joined by male musicians -- the electric guitar of 'Bale' and drums of Brian Resnick?

boo-bah/go is a wild one, with a soft start -- low piano and drums, leading into saran with its strongly Balkan-sounding theme. We end with d'divaz 884.7 -- an ambient type track with bird song, percussion, and those unmistakeable D'Divaz vocals again. Mostly light, upbeat and repetitive, there's a Jungle-type atmosphere with laughter, looped vocal effects, snatches of conversation and expletives in Serbian, and, finally, just birdsong.

Superbly played and sung by D'Divaz and friends, there's an immediacy to Eric Somers' recording, and a stylishly designed CD sleeve in yellow, black and white by Zoran Belic.

Copyright © 17 August 2002 Keith Bramich, Worcestershire, UK



973-1 DDD Stereo 52'14" 2000 D'Divaz

D'DIVAZ, pianos, synthesisers, percussion, vocals; Bale, electric guitar; Brian Resnick, drums

crne oci; go/kolo; nobody's; panasonik; s'x; boo-bah/go; saran; d'divaz 884.7




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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular Saturday series of shorter CD reviews