The self-titled debut of IZVIR, their only LP to date, is quite a phenomenon of the Yugoslavian Slovenian 1970s jazz-rock. It is one of the rarest albums to find on the market. If you happen to trace it at some Web music online sellers, it is likely that the price will be extremely high. www.gemm.com for instance, offers this vinyl record for a mere 440 USD, while www.kalemegdan-disk.de used to have it in their 2001 catalogue priced - 400 EUR! Is "Izvir" worth it? - a logical question arises.
According to very few information I gathered, the band that would soon be called IZVIR (En. "Source", "Spring" of water) was formed around 1971 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, at that time part of Yugoslavia. They appeared at several minor rock festivals in Ljubljana, Sarajevo, Subotica... in the period from 1972-76. They managed to record two singles prior to this LP album in 1977, which seemed to have been circulated in a limited number of copies. Therefore, a rarity nature and the enormous prices mentioned above.
The music is excellent and wonderfully performed jazz-rock with strong funk and progressive rock influences. Dual electric guitars, effective Andrej Konjajev's use of various keyboards like clavinet, organ, el. piano and strong tenor of vocalist Marko Bitenc are main ingredients of this music. Lyrics are mixed in Slovene and Serbo- Croatian languages (a typical combination of many Slovene artists of the time). The sound is fairly similar to some other Yugoslavian bands of the same era like SEPTEMBER or SMAK, who on the other hand were informed by American jazz-funk and improvisational jam bands, from Herbie Hancock to ALLMAN BROTHERS to hard rock. But in "Izvir" in addition one can also hear several interesting spacey moments which reminds of Krautrock treatments of the fusion, like the post-1974 phase of GURU GURU, or KRAAN. This is especially evident in 12-minutes opening "Sel je popotnik skozi atomski vek" which contains several parts of different tempo and arrangement, and in the closing "Vibrolux". This is extremely listenable but also very rewarding music for genre-oriented fans. Bitenc is excellent singer although at certain moments he cannot keep from crossing to high-pitched falsetto range, which can be annoying. The same objection I have for SMAK's singer Boris Arandjelovic. On the other hand, since all songs are with vocals (except instrumental "Vibrolux"), this album is not meant only for die-hard jazz elite who enjoy instrumental improvisations. It could have probably match other Yugoslavian commercially successful albums of the era, like SMAK's "Crna dama" or SEPTEMBER's "Domovina moja", had it only been released for wider public. Since until now this album has not been re-issued on CD (at least to my knowledge), it seems doomed for devoted collectors who can afford to pay its value. The mp3 version ripped from vinyl can be occasionally found at some blogs, but its sound is fairly poor (here 256 kbs ;). Better anything than nothing.
Upon releasing this album IZVIR broke-up in 1977, never to be assembled again. However, four members that played on "Izvir" joined another jazz-rock band of the Ljubljana scene, PREDMESTJE, for their third album "Hazard" released in 1980. By Seyo Taken from here
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