Das Instrumental Folk-Trio aus Slowenien mit seinem dritten Album, auf dem sie abermals mit ihrem handgemachten Sound die Grenzen herkömmlichen Klangs und Instrumentierung überschreiten. THE WIRE bezeichnet das als "genuinely strange music", was als ganz große Auszeichnung zu verstehen ist!
There’s a sequence in Memoryscapes, a lovely French-made short film, in which Širom set about fashioning music from a pile of pots, pans, saucepan lids and empty cans of supermarket lager on the kitchen table. It’s the band in microcosm: cracked, insistent beats, rhythm chasing rhythm, a deadly serious playfulness, and the intimacy of close friendship undercut by the sense of emergency of a flashing torch. Širom are all about the head and the hand, and the dark that always pushes against the light.
We’re around another kitchen table now, and the three members of the band – Ana Kravanja, Samo Kutin and Iztok Koren, in any order you like for this is a collective endeavour – are gently fending off any question that attempts to reduce their music to type. It’s not the first time they’ve had to suffer a conversation like this since their highly acclaimed second record, I Can Be A Clay Snapper, became one of tak:til’s first releases two years ago. ‘Imaginary folk’ is Samo’s preferred description, but the word ‘preferred’ is doing some heavy lifting here. You get the sense that the band don’t much care for labels. ‘It’s also good not to know everything,’ he says. ‘We don’t want to play something that sounds like it already exists.’ (Although fans of psych, outernational field recordings, folk horror, Don Cherry’s Organic Music Society, Rileyesque minimalism or mutant country might find a home, however fleeting, in Širom’s world.)
But whatever has gone into the music, from the band’s home landscapes to their previous and in some cases still current musical projects (classical, hardcore, flatlands post-rock), Širom sound like no one else – and that’s the point: ‘When we make music, it’s like making a new world,’ says Samo. The world of the new record – A Universe that Roasts Blossoms for a Horse– is indeed subtly different to that of the last: the viola still teases and tugs at the percussion (or is it the other way round?) and the banjo still periodically tries to break free and set up on its own, but there’s a glimpse of electricity (that rarest of beasts in the Širom catalogue) in ‘A Pulse Expels Its Brothers and Sisters’, courtesy of Samo’s homemade tampura brac, more vocals, albeit as unsettling as ever, and a new sense of spaces being prised open. What remains is that strange and unmistakeable Širom groove, which exists to be broken down, and the dark joy that runs through all their work.