Jordan Kostov isn’t pushing a new album at the moment, but he makes brilliant music. The Macedonian-born accordionist and composer is a big part of clarinet virtuoso Vasko Dukovski’s deliciously diverse Amniotic Fluid album reviewed here earlier this year, and the songs on Kostov’s Revebnation page are just as smart and eclectic. There’s over an hour worth of music there from throughout his career – haunting film pieces, accordion jazz, Balkan songs, and works for choir and orchestra that typically go on for eight minutes or more. He writes surreal, cerebral, uncanny, dark stuff.
Farina, swaying and pulsing with clattering percussion, alternates accordion and many clarinet voices into a hypnotically psychedelic, lively stew: wheat flour has never been so much fun. Salsa’s Truck, from Kostov’s 2010 album Salsa’s Journeys with his Ensemble Moderne, is a strange epic, its big choruses carried first by an oud and then a big choir, Kostov’s accordion moving between swirling, rapidfire righthand lines and rich, haunting washes of chords. The nine-minute In the Guest House works its way slowly from rainy day ambience to sheer horror.
Unpredictable as the jazzier stuff here is, Kostov still grounds it in the otherworldly chromatic roots of his native region. Cveta, a piece for accordion, bass, drums and brass alternates between a spacious, suspenseful dirge and a jaunty shuffle. Friendship features lots of wryly noisy improvisation from Kostov and a delicious stereo mix that separates his accordion’s many voicings.
There’s also a gorgeously lush, Middle Eastern-tinged, orchestrated theme for accordion, choir and percussion; a moody, windswept ballad with stark cello and bubbly clarinet; an apprehensive nocturne that sets accordion and trumpet over pillowy strings; an uneasy Balkan James Bond theme of sorts (Kostov gets a lot of film work); a tango-tinged piece for accordion and bassoon; a brief, bustling Keystone Kops theme that morphs into a surreal waltz; and a spacy miniature for solo accordion titled Univers. If we ever needed a reminder that some of the world’s most exciting music is coming out of the Balkans, this is it. Check out his bio page for all the projects he’s played with. And for what it’s worth, Reverbnation ranks Kostov and his ensembles as #2 among bands in Kavadarci, Macedonia, raising the intriguing question: who’s #1?