Monday, 9 February 2009

Vladimir Cetkar - We Will Never End

I was fortunate to hear a snippet from this album a few weeks ago from Di-Lee at Soulchoonz who was so excited about this CD that she could not send me the album fast enough for review! I can honestly say that I was more than impressed, and totally understood all the excitement, and certainly shared shared her enthusiasm. Now the album has arrived and I have to say That I simply cannot heap enough praise on it. Since first play I have absorbed the album like a sponge; every note, every nuance, every inflection, and my adoration of it just grows. Every track, and I do mean every track, is essential. Of Macedonian extraction, Vladimir took his life-long love of music to the US where he spent 5 years at the Berklee School of Music. The result is an album painstakingly crafted, deliciously rich in soulful vocals, jazzy roots and a dash of dance floor panache.

The first four songs are pure, out and out 70s jams of the highest order. Vladimir has his own unique style, but has absorbed all that is best about the Greats that he grew up admiring. I hear the sheer poetry of a Rod Temperton / Quincy Jones collaboration, the jazzy dynamism of late 70s George Benson and the harmonies of Earth, Wind & Fire...I can also discern late 70s Roy Ayers – think “Sweet Tears” and you are not a million miles from where Vladimir has set out his stall. We have 100% real instrumentation, swirling strings, warm 70s keys and an unmistakeable GROOVE. Its clear that this man is ultra-talented and I think we're only seeing a mere fraction of what he can offer. The title song has a 70s sound that makes the groove warmly familiar, but the clean, crisp and immaculate recording has all the hallmarks of a 21st Century appreciation.
The first single is “In The Open Space”, and this will floor you, I promise. This AMAZING “Sweet Tears” or what?! “Born For The Screen” could easily be spinning on my turntable on the Fantasy label! “All For You” hits me like a wonderful fusion of Tuomo and Remy Shand and is blinding. It is from here that Vladimir showcases his talents for Jazz Fusion: “Soul Splendour” is straight from the CTI catalogue; a warm 70s Earl Klugh affair with warm, summery West Coast flavours that we can all relate to. This really is lovely. “The Magic Hill Of Lihnd” is even warmer, the dreamy rhodes, the bluesy guitar and jaunty percussion create images of cruising along the coast with the top down. The final cut, “Ocean Of Love”, easily meets the standard of Masters At Work. This should be a massive, massive crossover hit given the right exposure. I love this song, indeed the entire CD, and cannot get enough of it. We are at the end of February and have had a lot of quality releases – but so far it is this that stands above them all.

Barry Towler

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