Aleksandar Vrhovec writes and produces the entirety of this latest EP release under Hegemony Quintet. Bringing together his own guitar and compositional skills with the work of musicians Giò Maucieri (drums), Luca Cacucciolo (piano), Josué García (trumpet), and Issar Shulman (double bass), Roundabout is an EP that has been pristinely crafted and expertly boxed up; ready to gift you a nostalgic and soul-soothing walk through the jazz-soaked streets of yesteryear.
Vice Manners kicks things off and the immediately crisp and personal finish on the recording allows you to simply turn up the volume and lose yourself in the moment. What begins as a free-flowing yet engaging, calming groove, soon grows to become a structured and significantly expressive, passionate journey – taking cues from each instrument, step by step, yet uniting as this whole and compelling experience for a full five minutes. Beautiful, raw, real – musically impressive and completely seductive.
It’s difficult to pigeon-hole a project like this, and unnecessary – these aren’t songs, nor mere soundscapes, they feel like genuine moments in time; soulful jams – intentional, emotional, and blissfully fluid as they pour through the speakers.
Bentonite follows the opener and kicks up a more intriguing and mysterious vibe but follows on with grace and ease. Melody moves alongside of energetic rhythm and creative freedom in an unusually striking way for this genre, creating a mood that’s all at once classic and notably refreshing.
Framed Water takes a more cinematic pathway – experimental sounds and moments create a drunken vibe as the music drizzles down around you. The mellow swagger here works perfectly at this mid-section of the playlist. There’s a story at work, and the changing energy draws the listener right into the heart of it. Afterwards, Tackle Agenda furthers that sense of conceptual depth, offering intrigue and mystery again by means of these scattered hints of detail, these flickers of intensity amidst an otherwise peaceful, spacious ambiance.
Bringing things back to the stage, the busy bar, Alter Blotter leads with a sentimental crowd feel and makes for an easy one to simply turn up loud and let play as you settle into the moment. A smooth and quickly satisfying performance that’s close to impossible not to find yourself moving to.
Bringing things to a thoughtful finish, reminding you of the intention of the project yet again – the consideration, the heart, the skill that went into all of this – Whip Hand takes full advantage of every last second; leading you through the smokey streets with a mellow confidence that’s blissfully calming as the end approaches. Following the light energy and mild yet beautiful chaos from before, this piece soothes and seduces in a whole new way – settling the mind and the body with an array of delicate and purposeful dashes of music and ideas. The perfect track for the end of the night, for the end of the project, and simply to see you through whatever it is that’s been weighing heavy on your mind.
Real soul still exists, without a doubt. To showcase that through instrumental gatherings alone is incredibly impressive and absolutely something to be thankful for right now. Roundabout is a dream to spend time with – let the mind wander and the body ease into a peaceful, necessary rest. I’m making my way into a third run-through of this audio experience and it just doesn’t get tiresome – on the contrary, the music seems to connect more profoundly the longer you let it play for. Authentic, honest, immersive, soulful contemporary jazz. Treat yourself.
Roundabout was mixed by Alex Scott, mastered by Nathan Reiner. Artwork by Aleksandar Veselić & Dragana Veselić.