GB 145LP GB 145LP

LP version. Vladimir Lenhart will happily drop Ethno-Noise on you, then leave you to work out what that might mean. You'll have a pretty good idea after about a minute of this record -- or indeed if you've spent any time in the Balkans generally, surrounded by folk music in all its incarnations, and in Belgrade specifically, which yields up the ghosts of the Yugoslav punk and industrial scenes of the 1980s and the city's current experimental excursions to anyone with time to listen and explore. The interrogation of folk and the national songbook has gained considerable currency in the last several years (think Damir Imamović in Bosnia, Richard Dawson in the UK or labelmates Altın Gün), but Lenhart Tapes are taking a slightly different path. Vladimir Lenhart is only one half of the story here, however. Enter Tijana Stanković: singer, classically trained violinist, ethnomusicologist and Radio Belgrade music editor. By Vladimir's own admission, her encyclopedic knowledge of the music he had grown up with turned the project from something somewhat ironic to something very sincere. He recalls an immediate connection, over a shared love of that music, and it's a connection that has since developed in perhaps unforeseen directions, with Tijana herself pushing Vladimir into an even more uncompromising sonic stance. The slow burn of Lenhart Tapes' emergence has been built upon a set of scorching small-venue performances, with Vladimir's Walkmans laying down a collage of beat, noise and tune for Tijana's voice and violin to respond to and, at times, work against. A decade of sporadic releases, frequently on cassette, was followed by 2021's Duets. Now comes Dens, which hits a different kind of stride. The loops and samples of the previous record are still there, but are joined by an expanded roster of musicians and bolstered by the return of Tijana after a musical sojourn in Budapest. It's denser, more considered, but still spacious. There's a lot going on in this record, and you'll want time (and your biggest ears) to catch it all. Expertly produced and mastered, with superb vocal presence courtesy of Tijana Stanković, Zoja Borovčanin and Svetlana Spajić, it's an endlessly fascinating analogue journey that rewards repeated and close listening.