(CD mini-album, Athanor, 2011)
Released 01.11.2011. on ATHANOR www.arsregia.org
order your copy on Discogs
VJEČNI STAN occured on several surreal occasions in Sisak, Zagreb and Belgrade during 2006. It is a story of a tenant, rotting and wasting away in his "eternal tenement".
This is a soundtrack to long drunken nights, a political pathos cracking over old, cobweb-covered vinyl. In a candle-lit room, smells of red wine and remembrances of greater times dance and mingle together, until they both ignite in a mocking ridicule of zeitgeist.
Black mother earth expects us all in the end...Moment when we will exhale that last breath from our body and find out if there is eternal light at the end of the tunnel, like a straw that we try to grip already now, in a slight spasm caused by the tremendous incertitude of life.
Hiding behind the obscure name Zagrob - Dražen Kuljiš is a versatile young artist and a creator of frighteningly dark humorous music which reconciles earthly and the afterlife. The name Zagrob appears for the first time in year 2006. Choosing death as his favorite leitmotif, Kuljiš creates slow but powerful musical image, intertwined with romance and patine of light earth, in embrace in which he likes to entrap and torture his auditorium.
For symbolic parallel, we could mention „Scream“ by Munch which is visually so strong and penetrating, while on the other hand its frame is mercilessly frozen in attempt to recreate that silent moment of horror and hysteria. Zagrob music has the identical power.
This unusual Croatian author marks his beginnings with famous demo – “Zagrob“, published in early 2006., followed by exclusive live performances in underground clubs throughout the region (Zagreb, Sisak, Belgrade). In the end of that year, in Močvara Zagreb, Zagrob performed the controversial album “Vječni Stan“. This piece clearly defined Zagrob as entity which constantly transforms through conceptual exploration of sound in a manner of post-mortem condition of spirit and body. In year 2007 Dražen Kuljiš is joined by Karla Lulić, his muse and life partner, who contributed with her voice and lyrics to the atmosphere in the forthcoming single “Le Soleil Noir“ – a song enveloped by inexplicable sorrow, which to this day remains lost in space and time.
After four years of resting in peace, Zagrob's “Vječni Stan“ is perpetuated by renowned French publisher Athanor, specialized in obscure ritual music. The date of publishing was symbolically designated – exactly at midnight, 1.11.2011., on Samhain. Accordingly, on the same date in “Tvornica kulture“ in Zagreb, Zagrob once again resurrected from the dead, and unveiled “Vječni Stan“ in full brilliance of red light and funeral scenery.
It is a master-piece consisting of posthumous remains – it's a place where the eternal rest and peace have absolutely no significance. In thirty minutes, the listener is confronted with one creative, suffering soul, accompanying it in a darkly humorous grotesquerie, which author uses to evoke certain morbid exoticism. In that way Zagrob is skillfully playing with stale traditional values. Beneath the tombstone enveloped by layers of sediment and sound patine there lies a creature with sincere viewpoint on death – entrapped, wicked and humorous, precisely aiming at vulnerability of humanity on the subject of death, decomposition, grief, compassion and questioning – but not manipulation – of (moral) boundaries of ones physical endurance (not necessarily fear of death by itself, but fear of expectation/slow death, fear of the fact that we are already “buried alive“).
Names of themes offered, many will accept with repugnance, but that is clearly the intention of Zagrob – however, behind such brutally offered phrases, there lies a subtle, dark humorous monologue in which the author expresses his contempt towards eternal mourning of deceased, through lamentation of old women dressed in black, in combination with “scent of lavender and death“, while the cadaver resting inside the coffin just represents one bizarre showpiece (“on the black table, the rot is vaporizing“). Furthermore, author has ingeniously criticized eternally present moment of mourning, revealing it not as a sincere emotion- but as a mere formality from passersby (“230 people dressed in black, stand in queue to say – 'My condolences'“).
Slow, musical scenery in which somber, spectral sounds float, is not something you would want to hear alone in complete darkness, but “Vječni Stan“ is so damn well conceived work by which Zagrob among rare ones managed to capture exactly that moment – departing this world and entrapment in posthumous transition, wandering in between the sky and earth, suffering of lost soul which haunts with its morbid charm.
- by Muzika.hr
Letting the scent of a rotting corpse and incense overcome Athanor's world of the obscure, Zagrob is death's finest mystery well worth discovering its wail in the latest of after-midnight hours.
- by Halfreleases
Debut full length from this Croatian project, who create some rather mysterious, but intriguing sounds.
Someone somewhere I saw wrote that it's like Novy Svet playing music with human bones in a crypt,
and I thought was totally apt. It's got that eastern European, off-jazz, Novy Svet,
psychedlia feel (must be the vocals and the accordian), but this moves into darker,
more ritualistic and post-industrial areas, at times reminiscent of something off the Nekrophile label;
slow, almost drugged, ceremonial percussion, with bowls and chimes, and otherwise obscure sounds
that sound like they're performed in a catacomb. Hard to accurately describe, other than the above
description, and other than to say it's just really good, strange, and engaging. A great new discovery..
- by Malignant Records
ivresse occulte / décadence fantomatique
Oserai-je, ma mie, vous convier à cheminer avec moi à l'ombre des tombes de Zagreb ? Tels des vampires de notre siècle, nous errerons dans les allées silencieuses, nous reposerons dans la fraîcheur des marbres et des pierres, les pieds lascivement égarés dans les herbes. Quand la vie se tait, ce sont les esprits qui nous murmurent à l'oreille les images d'autres temps que nos yeux ne contempleront jamais. N'ayez crainte, la mort n'est qu'une courtisane parmi d'autres en ces lieux et son pouvoir y est somme toute limité...Nous sommes en 2006 à Zagreb et selon les notes de livret, le duo croate Zagrob y aurait enregistré les morceaux de cet album parmi les tombes. Oeuvrant dans une veine dark ambient rituelle hypnotique à la Ain Soph, le groupe y ajoute des vocaux monocordes comme prisonniers d'une torpeur ivre telle qu'on la retrouve chez Novy Svet, à tel point qu'on pourrait aisément imaginer qu'il s'agit là d'un de leurs travaux. Atmosphères nostalgiques, décadentes comme un bouquet de visions se noyant dans les brumes d'un vin rouge légèrement âpre, occultes et légèrement effrayantes parfois quand les silhouettes se tordent étrangement à la lumière des chandelles parsemant les sentiers défoncés serpentant le cimetière. Cette étrange fête avec la mort dégage pourtant un parfum d'exorcisme semi-réussi. On trinque pour oublier, on pourrait même, si l'esprit y est, baiser le long des marbres histoire d'oublier, les sonorités répétitives, les phrases scandées en boucles, les percussions au ralenti, libèrant progressivement la conscience de cette peur qui la ronge, mais la tristesse qui gangrène le coeur, elle ne disparaitra jamais...Apocalypse tranquille...
- by Guts of Darkness