artist: ARSENIJE JOVANOVIĆ
title: Galiola - Works For Radio, 1967- 2000
catalog number: and/all2
release year: 2008
status: sold out
1. Prayer For One Galiola (1967)
2. Tombstones Along The Roadside (1967)
3. Prophecy Of The Village Kremna * (1990)
4. Les Vents Du Camargue (2000)
* Portions of this piece were used in "The Thin Red Line", a film directed by
FO A RM Projects, in collaboration with and/OAR and Alluvial Recordings, is
pleased to present this 80 minute collection of sound works, newly remastered and
accompanied by extensive notes by the composer.
Over the last 40 years, Serbian radio-art composer and film director Arsenije
Jovanović has developed a deeply personal style of sound art for radio broadcast.
His compositions are imbued with natural environments and human-centered
activities. They feel rooted in place - whether real, imaginary, remembered or
dreamed. Weaving voices, instruments, field recordings and manipulated sound,
Jovanović creates vivid narratives without a story. He takes full advantage of sound’
s capability for seamless morphing and far-flung association.
Comes packaged in a digipak with 12 page booklet.
Read more at the a/O blog.
- Theatre, radio and television director, born in Belgrade, Serbia 1932.
- Writer and audio-art author, university professor - he taught acting at the Faculty
of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade until the start of the war in ex-Yugoslavia.
- Fulbright scholar and visiting professor at State University of New York at Albany.
- For eleven years, he was theatre director in The National Theatre in Belgrade,
later artistic director of The Bitef Theatre (Theatre in the Church), directing plays
for theatres both in former-Yugoslavia and abroad (Sheffield in England, Sofia in
Bulgaria, Albany in USA).
- Author of different sound installations - was in Berlin as a part of SFB partici-
pation at Sonambiente event.
- Initiator of a sound workshop at Kunstradio (ÖRF, Wien).
- Initiator of a sound workshop at Media Arts Center at the University of Sydney
1999, participating sound workshops in Finland (Oulu and Helsinki), and Denmark
- Founder of the Adriatic Sound Factory, a moving sound laboratory settled for the
time being in Rovinj in Istria, Croatia.
Apart from awards in his home country (formerly Yugoslavia, now Serbia), Arsenije
received the following:
- Prix Italia in the category of stereo work for "Tombstones Along The Roadside"
- Prix Italia For "Resava Cave" (Venice, 1977)
- Premio Ondas for "Resava cave" (Barcelona, Spain, 1978)
- Premio Ondas for "Along The Long Long Street" together with Ms. Neda Depolo
- WDR Acustica International for "Faunophonia Balcanica" (Cologne, 1990.)
- Finalist award for "Homo Politikus Vulgaris" with P. Siren and A. Walligorska at
New York Radio Art Festival (New York, 1992.)
- First prize for "Concerto Grosso Balcanico", International Radio Festival in Rust
- Grand prix Radio France International with Ilinka Colic for "La parata" (Palmares,
THE STRANGER VOL. 17 #34 (MAY, 2008)
Fans of cinematic electronic music should investigate Arsenije Jovanovic's Works
For Radio 1967-2000, released by and/OAR, one of the leading labels for field
recordings and experimental electronics. A cult composer and theater director -
his "Island Of The Dying Donkeys" is a classic - Jovanovic blends everyday sounds
into abstract yet compelling soundscapes, the aural equivalent of filmmaker
Michelangelo Antonioni ("Blow Up" and "Red Desert"). (Christopher Delaurenti)
VITAL WEEKLY #631 (JUNE, 2008)
The name Arsenije Jovanovic I heard before and perhaps even his music -
vaguely I remember a CD for La Legende Des Voix - but somehow, somewhere it
didn't really stick in my mind. He creates music, film and writes books. I have no
idea which is his most well-known side, but the four pieces on this CD might serve
as an introduction to his work with music, through pieces composed for radio. That
previous La Legende Des Voix CD is no longer available, so this may bring new
interest to his work, like me, I guess. Two old works from 1967, one from 1990 and
one from 2000. There is of course a slight problem with this, which is that the texts
are sung or spoken in Serbian or Croatian (is there a difference?), which makes it
hard to follow what it is about, and that seems to be a bit of a problem with pieces
of music in which texts are important. I thought that 'Tombstones Along The
Roadside' sounded like a religious work, with the chanting of monks, but then I
read in the booklet that its about the tombstones of soldiers who died in the Balkan
wars in the 19th century (this is a 1967 piece). However listening to this I'd say it's
hardly a problem, since sound-wise this is all great stuff. Jovanovic creates very
imaginative pieces of sound - that transports the listener to another world - using
field recordings and lots of voices in the older pieces. The later pieces are
instrumental and have still a great power. Here the mind wanders out further and
can freely make associations with the music on offer. Like I said, I heard of this
composer before, but never could pin him down to something - now I can think
and I think its great. (Frans De Waard)
MONK MINK PINK PUNK #15 (JULY, 2008)
Serbian sound artist Jovanovic has been producing radio plays — known in
Germany as Hörspiel — since the 1960s. Dozens of these pieces have been only
heard by the public once, when they were aired. Seth Nehil, a friend and sound
artist formerly of Austin now based in Portland, interviewed Jovanovic for the FO A
RM publication in 2006. More importantly, he rescued 4 of Jovanovic’s treasures
onto CD, which sit nicely beside the CD of Jovanovic’s works released by Eric La
Casa in the mid-1990s. I think Seth and I both were captivated when Eric sent N D
a copy of this release. The idea of a radio play is virtually unknown in America,
where radio works are either the audio portion of theatre (Prairie Home
Companion) or boring journalistic stories with sound effects (the banal reporting of
National Public Radio). In Europe, the radio play combines all forms of sound,
music, sound effects, interviews, acting and electronics into a slippery and artistic
maze of meaning and personal reflection.
1967’s “Prayer for One Galiola” collages electronic and environmental sounds,
acoustic instruments (cello, harp) and laughing and spoken voices. Each of the
sounds seems to answer the preceding sound in a dreamlike cinematic way. I can
imagine this being the soundtrack to a Fellini film, due in part to the many
repetitions of the name Galiola (the name of one of Jovanovic's boats), which
sounds Italian to me. The at turns monkish and ominous male chorus, to my ears
sounding like a meeting of a secret Catholic society, adds to the Italian feeling.
Also from 1967, “Tombstones Along the Roadside” presents a meditation on the
deaths of the Balkan soldiers who died throughout the first half of the 20th Century
and never received proper burials. Somber voice read from their tombstones (over
empty graves) and create voices of the dead from beyond the grave over subtle
electronic drones. None of the text is in English, so much of the meaning behind
the piece is lost to me: the liner notes by Jovanovic help. The other two pieces
were made later and largely eschew text for atmosphere. 1990’s eerie “Prophecy
of the Village Kremna” was used in Malik’s film The Thin Red Line. Here drones,
rattles and wind noises merge into a slow moving mass, like a curtain separating us
from something awful. “Les Vents Du Camargue” from 2000 feels like a remix of
the previous piece, with similar elements mixed more dynamically, mixed with
bird and children noises recorded from a 12th century church.
Jovanovic’s slow-paced works are necessary listening, I think. With this CD and
releases on Kunstradio and La Casa’s La Legende des Voix labels, we have just
just scratched the surface of this radio master’s varied works. I used some of the
promotional materials sent to us by La Casa in Monk Mink Pink Punk #6, which is
now posted online. (Josh Ronsen)
GAZ- ETA #69 (OCTOBER, 2008)
From what I understand, "Galiola" is the first time Serbian theatre, radio and TV
director Arsenije Jovanovic has been made available to the public at large. Four
pieces presented here [two from 1967, one from 1990 and one from 2000] each
range in their diverse approach to the subject at hand. "Prayer for One Galiola"
 is a radio work the composer dreamt up while he was hospitalized following
a serious car crash. Recorded in mono, the piece is full of dialogue that mixes in
with effects of water crashing all around. Sense of being lost and desperation is
evident throughout. Composed the same year, "Tombstones Along the Roadside"
is taken from a theatre production put on in a small, provincial theatre. Many of
the texts are taken from tombstones of soldiers killed in battlefields, while others
were borrowed from popular children's games and songs. Barren in its appearance,
the piece is a call out for reflection and points the way to the holocaust that
occurred in Serbia two decades later. 1990's "Prophecy of the Village Kremna"
was used by Terrance Malik in the soundtrack to his film "The Thin Red Line".
Based on an old prophecy that foretells future catastrophes, the piece is overtly
ominous, dappled in nothing but the blackest shades of black. Its eerie sounds
prop the listener to pay close attention to the illusive gathering of sounds that
unpredictably appear out of nowhere. Final piece on the album is "Les Vents du
Camargue". Composed in 2000, this is a chapter of the Jovanovic's acoustic diary.
Recorded in Arles at the church of St. Trophime, the sounds contained within the
piece feature hollering winds, cricket sounds, rattling of metal cans and muffled
voices. Rich experience has led each piece to stand completely well on its own
accord. Kudos to Seth Nehil for the fine work on excavating these long-forgotten
works. I'm salivating at the mere thought, knowing there's more in the vaults.
Perhaps someone will dig up further treasures soon? (Tom Sekowski)
BRAIN DEAD ETERNITY (NOVEMBER, 2008)
Criminally under-recorded, the music of composer and director Arsenije Jovanović
possesses the kind of remarkable qualities that, love it or hate it, are going to finger
the nerves of those who listen conscientiously. The nearest thing to a blurred
concept of “notoriety” for this artist derives from the involvement in the soundtrack
to Terrence Malick’s movie “The Thin Red Line”, which in fact features Jovanović’
s “Prophecy of the Village Kremna”. That’s the longest and most suggestive vision
in this four-episode compilation, based as it is on an ancient Serbian prediction, a
numinous foretelling about “catastrophic events and apocalyptic occurrences
which will fall upon the homeland and its people”. A sequence of haunting
female voices, lingering nocturnal appearances, distant moans, sighs and
mumbles, humming low frequencies chipping away at the tranquillity of a candid
latecomer, likely to have impressionable audiences sleeping rather uncomfortably
should this track be played at late evening.
Strikingly emotional as well is 1967’s “Tombstones Along The Roadside”,
described as a “national Danse Macabre” by the originator; initially conceived as
a theatrical stage act, the composition honours the innocent victims of the Balkan
wars from the end of 19th century to WWII, portions of the texts taken from the
gravestones of deceased soldiers and subsequently transformed in monologues
and hypothetical dialogues between the sufferers and their tormentors. The
remaining tracks are, to some extent, not as much of evil-boding - but
extraordinary nonetheless. “Prayer For One Galiola” was born from an unpleasant
incident as, many years back, Jovanović found himself lost at sea in the dead of
night, his boat’s engine not working (he landed on a small island named Galiola
after hours of wandering in the waters), and also from an assortment of
hallucinations following a car accident that, somehow, were all associated with
this name. “Les Vents du Camargue” is the most concrete-sounding affair, the
main source being the Mistral that made impossible an external recording at first
and took the leading role afterwards, either through its forceful blowing or via the
psychological mechanisms that were set in motion by the wind’s influence, the
whole taped at the Cathedral of St. Trophime in Arles. Still, this depiction doesn’t
even acquaint with a tiny bit of what this great piece sounds like.
Jovanović’s particulars are uniquely vivid, having the large part of this music been
written for radio broadcasts (and, in general, rarely performed). The dramatic
aspects are definitely predominant, often disturbing; there’s a sort of bloodcurdling
magnificence emerging in several fractions of these sonic constructions which is
both illogical and inescapable, analogously to the attraction for the gruesome
details of a scene of death that many people experience. Here’s to hoping that
more of this body of work is unearthed, especially if the standards of inventiveness
are confirmed at this level of impressive consistency. (Massimo Ricci)
THE WIRE (JANUARY, 2009)
Pulling together four pieces from 1967-2000 by Serbian radio composer Arsenije
Jovanovic, Galiola is a brilliant but frustrating collection. The two earliest works
here, "Prayer For One Galiola" and "Tombstones Along The Roadside", both
produced for state broadcaster Radio Belgrade in 1967, are richly dense, emotive
works, collaging imposing liturgical incantations, orchestral fragments and
clattering everyday sound effects.
Unfortunately, the texts, which are clearly integral to these radio pieces are
completely untranslated. This would be an oversight with an opera, but here,
where much is simply spoken word, it is maddening. The liner notes are
reasonably helpful on subject matter, explaining the works in Jovanovic's own
words - "Prayer For One Galiola" is apparently inspired by a fantasy of an island in
the Adriatic, while "Tombstones" is a "national Danse Macabre" in memory of
Balkan wars - but the information just makes the linguistic impenetrability all the
Mercifully, this isn't a problem with the second half of the CD. "Prophecy Of The
Village Kremna", broadcast by Radio Belgrade in 1990, abandons text altogether
in favour of a swelling, 26 minute miasma of drones and atmospheres. It's a
tremendous, elemental piece, and the CD is worthwhile for it alone; it was later
used by Terrance Malick for The Thin Red Line, although it stands perfectly well
in isolation. The final "Les Vents Du Camargue" (2000) sounds like variations on a
similar theme, without quite the same unnerving power but with its own more
allusive qualities. In all, Galiola is a fascinating record, but an on-hand translator
would be useful. (Owen Hatherley)