I. is the debut album of the Širom trio, comprised of Ana Kravanja, Samo Kutin and Iztok Koren, who stem from the Slovenian regions of Kras, Tolminsko and Prekmurje and are members of various other groups, such as Najoua or ŠKM banda. Their form of expression is original, stylistically homogeneous, incorporating a wide array of folk sounds on one side and contemporary acoustic rock style meditations on the other. The end result is grounded yet still mystical minimalism. Širom’s music is contemplative, but can get harder when necessary, it is closer to being band- than chamber-like, to being street as opposed to urban in nature.

It is mostly instrumental and features miniature combinations of folk, classical and improvisational elements to make for an original and very moving experience. It is already interesting enough to look at the building blocs of Širom’s sound, since the musicians use a wide range of instruments from around the world, including the banjo, ukulele and balafon, as well as homemade instruments and bells. It is unbelievable what a world of sound they conjure up, how many nuances of sound, how quickly this penetrates the ears and cuts into the subconscious.

The creating of patterns and entwining of delicate musical pastels calls for a focused listener, since there is a feeling that the fragile edifice can be blown away in any moment. The lyrical and sophisticated album reveals an unfathomable beauty of dichotomies – it is sophisticated but at the same time never finished, unobtrusive but still principled, improvisational and collective, curious and simultaneously fatigued, restless and ethereal. Širom have released a record which unveils the personal while discovering new worlds and which deserves to be celebrated as a gem of the Slovenian music scene, notwithstanding or maybe precisely because of all the misguided attempts at defining “slovenianhood”.

1. The Lonesome Has to Scent 05:32
2. A Passage of Light on Return 15:31
3. Trilogy 17:44
4. Roar’s Soft Steps 07:27
5. Tomorrow, Each Day is a New Day 02:12

Iztok Koren – banjo, bass drum, chimes, balafon
Ana Kravanja – violin, viola, ribab, kalimba, bendir, balafon
Samo Kutin – ukulele, kalimba, homemade harps and steel drum, balafon

Painting: Marko Jakše
Photo: Nada Žgank
Cover design: Eva Kosel
Recording, mixing and mastering: Iztok Zupan
Recorded without overdubbing in Posavec, Slovenia, 2015

Label: ZARŠ in Klopotec