Ivan Čkonjević, Bardo.Vertep. (Noecho Records)
Andrei Tarkovsky was the great moralist and aestheticist of Brezhnev-era cinema, a master of ”sculpting in time”, as Ivan Čkonjević reminds us in his liner notes. While other Soviet directors toed the social realist party line, Tarkovsky created a very Russian, and yet universally appealing, body of work which continues to exercise huge influence abroad, exploring metaphysical themes with an inimitable cinematographic style, often featuring shots of long duration and little actual dialogue.
Čkonjević has been ”reverse-inspired” as it were by Tarkovsky´s example to make four ”photographs in music”, striving to imprint images which stick in the mind with nothing but a guitar and a small battery of effects.
”EXP. Bardo.Vertep.” was inspired by a short story by Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk, and is as gentle as long grass swaying in a meadow. The following two tracks were inspired by places Čkonjević has observed through the window of the train taking him from Belgrade to Subotica in his native Serbia, and if I understand correctly, the first ostensibly takes place at night and the second in the morning. The former resonates long and deep like a cello, the second lighter, higher and more distinctly like a guitar.
The final and most sparse track is an extended and rearranged version of music recorded in 2008 for a short film and drops single notes onto a garden of strings like the last of a rain shower spilling out of the eavestrough.
We listeners can turn Čkonjević´s reversal of Tarkvosky´s credo inside-out ourselves, since by sticking to an appealing, mininalist palette, he allows us to create our own, nostalgically-charged images to his music. Like Tarkovsky´s long, lingering takes, Čkonjević allows these images to develop slowly with his graceful and unhurried music.Posted by Stephen Fruitman at 22:46, 19 Mar 2011