Album: Srećna tuga
Label: NarRator Records
Release date: November 27, 2021.
powerful playing • beauty of melody • band from Serbia • instrumental music • the Balkans • free jazz • punk • odd rhythms
Srećna tuga (Happy Sadness) is Naked's fifth album and their new vision of the concept of love. It is a specific point of view based on the musicians’ experience of continual travel, concerts, exciting tours and professional joys, but through which, over time, feelings of lack, emptiness, longing for loved ones, sadness begin to unfold.
Srećna tuga is an album of maturity. Twelve original compositions, which can be described more than ever as songs without words, place the power of feeling above the playing itself. Finding the moment when happiness and sadness, strength and melancholy breathe equally – that was exactly the idea of the group members. It has been on their minds for the last few years and now they have managed to fully realize it. And in their special musical language, in which different experiences are merged – those from their homeland, Serbia and, more broadly, the Balkans, as well as experiences of listening to and playing punk, jazz and other global traditions. This is also Naked's first album mixed by the band members.
"The division between happiness and sorrow is something that makes life. You are never 100% happy or 100% sad. On one side is the happiness that overwhelms us while we are on tour, doing our job and living our dream, and on the other is what we lack – the nearness of our wives and children, private life.ˮ
Naked was founded in 2006 in Belgrade. They have performed at concerts, festivals and clubs on four continents. They are a band in the true sense of the word. They work, think and sound like one. Although most of the compositions are created by Branislav re-examining his musical motives and "germs" on the bass for days, it is the band that later expands and develops the idea.
Srećna tuga is an album of intoxicating melodies, interesting colors, wonderful improvisations, attractive unisons... A solid, imaginative playing that sings and talks.
The album begins in a rhythmic and picturesque way (Belmondo), like a kind of grotesque waltz that is danced enchantingly by clowns with a sad expression on their face at the peak of the cabaret party. But, the singing of the violin and saxophone does not adorn the next song (No Preassure), in which the atmosphere is "heavier". Psychedelic motifs on two clarinets, followed by an inventive section of percussion, lead through sharp, gloomy musical sentences and strong sound structures, further to the clarinet monologue – which explains its anxiety in the dialect of musical Epirus – and to the angry conclusion of the amplified violin. But the band gives the final, fierce word.
What follows is a confirmation of uncompromisingness and a complete demystification of life, perhaps the life of a musician (Istina će izaći na videlo/The truth will come out), through the full, bitter sound of the band. And then, as if through smoke, the dancing figures of now even sadder clowns appear, in a melancholic, but precise pulsation of the beat 3/4 (Neka suze prestanu/Let the tears stop).
So much for tears, because with the next bars comes renewed life energy (Ti si sad daleko/You are now far away). The band is playful, the rhythmic pattern is attractive, the winds heartily "sing" the theme of new self-confidence, the violin decisively improvises supported by the strong movement of the rest of the band…
Everything is ready for a short break from torn and permanent changes: Stan ljubavi (Where love dwells) continues with an impressive rhythm, but brings greater airiness, light and relaxation in expression. Just for a while. Naked is already packing their suitcases for further travels and is leaving, renewed, refreshed, with a new drive (Pada mrak/It’s getting dark). The bass guitar and drums are brilliantly intertwined in a harmonic-rhythmic pattern, which is an excellent background for violins and wind instruments to vividly describe the state of excitement and joy. The violin masterfully improvises.
The musicians have arrived. Routine things follow – hotel, lunch, sound check… Fatigue, pleasure and indifference merge into one (Patos/A bit down) aided by an unusual dialogue, and even a discussion of a serious saxophone and a brighter, more humorous violin.
And change again (Ubava/Pretty). The band is cheerful, movable, with the most of the Balkan elements so far on this very rhythmic and poetic album.
The next song (Beduin/Bedouin) is also moving briskly, in a recognizable Naked style, built by a moving rhythm and a developed bass section, together with a parallel melody in the violin and wind sections. But still, this is a complex song, in which the rhythm is getting lost in the rubato episode of calmness and re-examination, only to begin to appear again, aided by the growing dynamics. The period of confusion leads to the resolve of thoughts through the initial motive of the song.
The musicians return, with the ringing, which is both solemn and tense (Južna kapija/South Gate), following the smell of the South, the Balkans, the home… Saxophones improvise widely. This is their space to use the jazz and free jazz vocabulary to explain everything that has come together, good and bad.
The most what came together was fatigue. The sharp pulsation of the bass and drums is very cinematic, just like the sentimental, reflective violin, and then the same saxophone (Zauvek voleću te/I will love you forever). They sing that last song about happy sadness, which constantly varies, showing its multicolored face from countless angles. Once again, merriment appeared, towards the end. And once again it was an elegiac march, for the very end, with applause of understanding.
. . .
Branislav Radojković (bass guitar),
Goran Milošević (drums, percussion),
Đordje Mijušković (violin),
Petar Hristov (soprano/alto/tenor saxophone, clarinet),
Ivan Teofilović (tenor saxophone).
It was recorded at the NarRator Records Studio (Hungary), in December 2019.
02 No Pressure
03 Istina će izaći na videlo
04 Neka suze prestanu
05 Ti si sad daleko
06 Stan ljubavi
07 Pada mrak
11 Južna kapija
12 Zauvek voleću te
booking: Juliana Volož / email@example.com