Sirom: A Universe that Roasts Blossoms for a Horse LP
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Slovenian "imaginary folk" instrumental trio return with a kaleidoscopic third album. Handmade and global instrumentation meets fearless sound exploration. There's a sequence in Memoryscapes, a lovely French-made short film, in which Sirom set about fashioning music from a pile of pots, pans, saucepan lids and empty cans of supermarket lager on the kitchen table. The three members of the band -- Ana Kravanja, Samo Kutin, and Iztok Koren, in any order you like for this is a collective endeavor -- are gently fending off any question that attempts to reduce their music to type. "Imaginary folk" is Samo's preferred description, but the word "preferred" is doing some heavy lifting here. The band are more than happy to bust two myths that seem to have grown up in the last couple of years. First, this is not Slovenian traditional (or traditional Slovenian) music. It might be produced from and by each of the three landscapes in which the band were raised -- the Karst, the hills of Tolmin, the eastern plains of Prekmurje -- but unpicking what came from where is an impossible endeavor. That leads you to the second misconception: that Sirom are an improvisational band. For sure, improvisation is an indispensable part of the initial songwriting process; but it's an expression of their collective manner of working rather than any musical statement per se. Keen-eared listeners will hear a continuation of the last song on Clay Snapper (GB 051CD, LP) in the first song of the new record: a nod, perhaps, to the fact that they began work on the new record immediately after the last. But whatever has gone into the music, from the band's home landscapes to their previous and in some cases still current musical projects (classical, hardcore, flatlands post-rock), Sirom sound like no one else. The world of the new record -- A Universe that Roasts Blossoms for a Horse -- is indeed subtly different to that of the last: the viola still teases and tugs at the percussion and the banjo still periodically tries to break free and set up on its own, but there's a glimpse of electricity in "A Pulse Expels Its Brothers and Sisters", courtesy of Samo's homemade tampura brač, more vocals, albeit as unsettling as ever, and a new sense of spaces being pried open.