Eclectic Fusion / Fusion • Serbia
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“Hashima, an unusual confluence of classicism, Balkan folk forms, avant garde racket and lyricism.”

- Thomas Conrad - JazzTimes, New York City Jazz Record, Stereophile

The members of young Belgrade quartet Hashima combine various musical experiences from the past into a new adventure that is difficult to define stylistically. Among musicians that inspire them, they prefer Wayne Shorter, Vasilije Mokranjac, Igor Stravinsky, improv, rock and folklore. Their poetics draws on European arthouse film and literature, which are subliminally intertwined with the core of their original music giving it a programmatic character. The themes of Igor Mišković’s compositions mainly consist of musical motives that are fully developed through arrangements and free improvisations, without restraining from noise or subtle lyrical miniatures. Four different instruments and sensibilities convene in form, stripped from traditional stylistic features, its content inspired by the distant abandoned island in Japan – Hashima. The group recently released its debut album Tideland,
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HASHIMA albums / top albums

HASHIMA Tideland album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Fusion 2015
HASHIMA The Haywain album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
The Haywain
Eclectic Fusion 2017
HASHIMA Starry Night album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Starry Night
Eclectic Fusion 2021

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HASHIMA Starry Night

Album · 2021 · Eclectic Fusion
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"Starry Night" is Serbian quartet Hashima's third album, and their second release for American label Odradek Records (who previously re-released Hashima's second, originally Serbia-released album "The Haywain", in 2019). It contains more eclectic material than their previous one, and muically it moves noticeably towards prog/post rock.

Above mentioned eclecticism is not strange at all, knowing that the compositions presented come from some very different sources. "Glaciers", "Eclipse" and "Muriel" are all recorded in the renown La Buissonne Studios in France and are rooted in the band leader Igor Mišković's childhood memories about some nights in 1999 when NATO planes bombed his hometown of Belgrade. These contain short lyrics and Igor's vocals.

NATO bombings of Serbia in 1999 is one of the most dramatic events in the country's last decade, and the memories about it are very fresh and emotive there till now. I haven't been there during the bombings, but my wife, who is native Serbian, was there and these nights in her hometown of Loznica where some military objects were bombed as well, are very fresh in her memory. I spent some years in early 00' living around Western Balkans, and I heard from many different people their memories about these days. One can see the building in a centre of Belgrade, half-destroyed by the bombings, still today, and it is obviously left unrepaired as a monument for the drama. As a result, in today's Serbia we have radically separated population by their opinion about the future - some see their future in modern Western world, as part of European civilization, and others - believing in some mystical "special way" (far not for the first time in the country's history), furiously proposed by Eurasian-Orthodox Russia.

Mišković himself, who is of a younger generation and saw these events more with child eyes, says in liner notes: "It had been a very odd and difficult situation and emotional experience to spend strangely beautiful childhood days during a period of bombing in Belgrade, Serbia in 1999". What I really like in these three songs there is some sadness, and some darkness, and a bit of melancholy, but there is no hate or hysteria, or pain. The world is more difficult than we would like it being, and sometimes things go not the way we would like them going, but we must to find the way to live in this real world.

Rest of the songs are all different but generally fit together with the first trilogy (which is obviously responsible for the album's title) quite well. "Dance No.1" is possibly the jazziest piece on the album with trombone soloing from guest star Italian Gianluca Petrella, still with very recognizable Hashima's mid-tempo slightly melancholic sound. "Release" is a live version of their debut album's song, presented here in collaboration with choir which builds a very church-like pastoral atmosphere.

The closer, "Junkopedia", is a soundtrack to a short movie about Serbian painter Leonid Šeika, an almost eight-minute long freer jazz piece.

In all, it's great to evidence that Hashima found their own recognizable sound, and continues releasing strong music and doesn't avoid some new searches.

HASHIMA The Haywain

Album · 2017 · Eclectic Fusion
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Serbians Hashima debuted two years ago with album which sounded like chamber rock band play fusion, with precisely composed and executed songs and calculated sound. The only imperfection in their music was very static,almost academic take on jazz/rock, the music which by its origin is dynamic and vibrant.

Now, two years after, they return with their second release - Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch's "The Haywain" inspired work which seriously differs from their debut. Dark and pessimistic as Northern European painter's art, Hashima's music is low-tempo and liquid, but contains lot of internal energy and sharpness. Closest example are Finnish Black Motor playing avant-garde jazz like if they were blues-rooted heavy metal power trio. Still Hashima music's roots are quite different and on "The Haywain" they sound more like unusual post-rock quartet with double bassist and tenor sax player on board playing avant-garde jazz.

The opener (and longest album's song) "Dance No.3" is a true bomb. Spiced with Portuguese rising star Susana Santos Silva trumpet vibrato soling (which surprisingly adds more Balkan feel to music then rest of the band) it blows your minds away. Everyone familiar with Nordic project "Angles" music can think about "Dance No.3" as minimalist "Angles'" hit with better controlled emotional coloring, like walking on the edge but never crossing the danger border.(Susana Santos Silva's fans have possibility to see her as part of probably best European progressive big band Fire! Orchestra just a few month ago; Angles and Fire! Orchestra both have some same musicians on board).

Rest of the album is played by quartet themselves and without free trumpet solos they become even slower,darker and more...chamber. Similarly as on their debut, music here develops as on rock and not a jazz album. Songs all are perfectly composed and precisely played/recorded, just rhythm/melody changes right in the middle of any composition without even a trace of preparation for such a change moves all music somewhere towards modern avant-garde field. Still, all components are such melodic and never too long-lasting, that quite complex music in whole sounds as good contemporary avant-rock album (think Kayo Dot) rather than the avant-garde jazz one.

There even are a shredding guitar sounds and thunder-like drums dueling with tenor sax, and whole album lasts just forty minutes - as good rock album from the times when good rock albums still existed (and we all know that it was such times when music has been released on vinyl since CDs were just something from futurologists dreams). Guys don't try to demonstrate technical abilities or speed at all, music sounds quite simple (but is far not so simple!), but at the end of the day I felt like I'm back in 70s and just listened to my another new great rock album.

Is jazz a new rock in 2017? I am not sure but I can seriously recommend "The Haywain" to open ears progressive rock fans unsuccessfully trying to find a new King Crimson during last two or three decades.

Not really a jazz album (from jazz purists point of view), this is the music I listened again and again last few days and one of the biggest discovery of last years. Balkans' jazz has their heroes from now.

P.S. And - I imagine that Hashima and Susana Santos Silva's whole common album could be a great thing as well!

HASHIMA Tideland

Album · 2015 · Fusion
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Hashima is a quartet from Serbia - land with rich jazz history coming from previous century's 60s,70s and 80s, but becoming a terra incognita for European jazz fans starting from 90s and generally up to nowadays.

In a few words,Hashima is a semi-acoustic band where members with classic/folk/jazz background play music which by its aesthetics is closer to progressive rock than to any other genre.Their debut album "Tideland" contains six precisely executed compositions where almost classic attention to details is successfully mixed with free jazz elements and rock energy. Band's leader and main composer Igor Mišković plays semi-acoustic guitar on a manner one can rarely hear in jazz or rock. There are not many solos or shredding,often guitar sounds almost classical but regular drones build high energy "rockish" atmosphere.

Srđan Mijalković on tenor adds lot of folksy Balkan accents which never dominates though. Almost every composition contains some hotter moments with all instruments going to the limit but very soon returning back under full control. That full control on emotional flow is rare for jazz of any form and comes most probably from post rock of last decades.

The feeling of internal freedom and almost pedantic external control is probably the strongest impression which left after listening to whole album for few times. It builds very specific and quite unique atmosphere which radically differs from everything what Western Balkan jazz,traditionally known by its strong fusion guitarists, is presented before.

Natural question is how Hashima sounds live on gigs - recorded videos demonstrates more freedom and not so strictly controlled sound what adds more blood and adventure what is obviously for good.

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