Unconscious in Brazil

Unconscious in Brazil
Maker/Manufacturer: BOGDANOVIC, DUSAN

Regular Price: $14.98

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dreams abandoned, savage landscapes reveal themselves: among the wild rocks, caverns under the bridges, deserted streets, unknown lives. under the concrete a huge river flows. every move we make, it makes, every move it makes, we make.

Three African Sketches is a meeting place of two realities: West African instrumental tradition and XVIth century European contrapuntal technique. More concretely: the first movement superposes the ricercar form of “Il Divino” Canova da Milano to rhythmical arpeggio played on the Gambian harp-lute Kora; the second uses an African lullaby as the ground bass for a mini-passacaglia; the third is an exuberant dance relying on a simple bass ostinato.

When composing and improvising I have often encountered a musical world which despite its mysterious origins, has a definite profile—it naturally evolves through vocal lines that are mode-based and rhythmically flexible. Its elusively archaic quality makes me wonder if there is a bridge from the bottomless past to an equally bottomless present. Lacking other markers, I have called it Levantine—a name denoting its origin in the East Mediterranean region.

Little Café Suite expresses my affinity for the homey, cozy, familiar, and small-scale; an afternoon in a coffee shop, walking in the autumn leaves or going to an early show of an Italian movie. Every movement is based on the same harmonic scheme which reappears in different guises: Cappuccino con brio is a funky, early morning piece of music; Kwaffee, swing moderato is an obvious reference to Nu Ywak and its jazz clubs; Decaf malinconico was the original inspiration for the whole suite; Molto espresso is a quick-paced, almost improvised piece.

Lonely travelers that they are, the earth and the moon occasionally coincide in their individual paths to produce what we know as an eclipse. Although less celestial, the polymetric cycle works much the same way: it begins and ends at the point where at least two different meters coincide. All of my Polymetric Studies are based on such cycles: the first interlocks 3/4 and 12/16, which is very common to Ghana; the second simultaneously combines 5/8 and 3/8 with two Balinese pentatonic scales; the third presents a two-voice canon based on Balkan modes, alternating 11/8 with 7/8; the fourth superposes a freely structured to a constant 9/16; the fifth is a three-voice choral based on 3/16 and 1/4 cycle.

In one of his poems of Beasts, Birds and Flowers, D.H. Lawrence talks of a “green, muddy, web-foot, utterly songless world.” This is the world of Unconscious in Brazil. Of course, Brazil is not Brazil. And unconscious is equally questionable.

The chaos of life temporarily suspended, in Winter Garden things become as they really are: crystal-like, timeless, and ultimately unreachable. This is a place of clarity and melancholy over life’s elusiveness. Like an abandoned Zen garden secluded in its solitude, it waits to be discovered.

Result of another cross-temporal fertilization, Diferencias Diferentes is a hybrid of one of the earliest known variation sets by Luis de Narvaez and contemporary idioms. While some of the links in the variation chain stay constant, some undergo melodic, occasional harmonic and improvised changes. Mischievously, the piece ends on the quote of the original Diferencias.

Intimations. All of these entirely improvised pieces express the never-to-be-repeated moments of comfort, nostalgia of bygone times, watching the shadows on the wall, a tender touch on the hair, a multitude of colored autumn leaves. Two soft notes—not more, not less.

Dusan Bogdanovic, 1998

produced by Dean Kamei
recorded by Teja Bell at Samurai Sound, Petaluma, Ca.
mixed by John Strother at Penguin Recording, Eagle Rock, Ca.
assisted by Rose Landauer
additional mixing by Dean Kamei at GSP, San Francisco, Ca.
digital master by Bob Fischer at Digital Domain, Granada Hills, Ca.

La Charmeuse de Serpents painting by Henri Rousseau used with permission of Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France

graphics & layout by GSP

special thanks to:
Dean Kamei and Angelo Gilardino, for their faith and dedication to my music; to Stephen Freedman, James Smith, Ksenija Gostiljac, Vismaya Lhi, Georgia Kelly, and Nadav Eldar for their friendship and support in these trying times; and to my father Caslav Bogdanovic, for inspiring me to become an artist, and to think logically under pressure.


A richly gifted composer, improviser and guitarist, Dusan Bogdanovic has explored musical languages that are reflected in his style today- a unique synthesis of classical, jazz and ethnic music. As a soloist and in collaboration with other artists, Bogdanovic has toured extensively throughout Europe, Asia and the United States. His performing and recording activities include work with chamber groups of diverse stylistic orientations including The Falla Guitar Trio and jazz collaborations with James Newton, Milcho Leviev, Charlie Haden, Miroslav Tadic, Mark Nauseef, Anthony Cox and others. He has over fifty published compositions ranging from guitar and piano solo works to chamber and orchestral ensembles (Berben, GSP, Doberman-Yppan et al.), as well as close to twenty recordings ranging from Bach Trio Sonatas to contemporary works (Intuition, GSP, Doberman-Yppan, M.A. Recordings et al.).

Among his most recent commissions are a ballet- poeme Crow, premiered by the Pacific Dance Company at the Los Angeles Theater Center; Sevdalinka, written for the Newman- Oltman Guitar Duo with the Turtle Island Quartet, premiered at Merkin Hall, New York; Canticles, composed for the Gruber- Maklar Duo; a mix media piece To Where Does The One Return, for sixteen ceramic gongs in collaboration with sculptor Stephen Freedman, premiered in Hilo, Hawaii; Games, commissioned by the BluePrint Festival and dedicated to David Tanenbaum and Nicole Paiement; Byzantine Theme and Variations, premiered by James Smith with the Armadillo String Quartet, as well as works written for pianist Fabio Luz and numerous solo guitar compositions written for Alvaro Pierri, David Starobin, William Kanengiser, Scott Tennant, Eduardo Isaac, James Smith and others.

Bogdanovic was born in Yugoslavia in 1955. He completed his studies of composition and orchestration at the Geneva Conservatory with P. Wissmer and A. Ginastera and in guitar performance with M.L.São Marcos. Early in his career, he received the only First Prize at the Geneva Competition and gave a highly acclaimed debut recital in Carnegie Hall in 1977. After having taught at the Belgrade Academy and San Francisco Conservatory (1990-2007), he is presently engaged by the Geneva Conservatory.

His theoretical work for guitar, at Berben Editions, includes Polyrhythmic and Polymetric Studies, as well as a bilingual publication covering three- voice counterpoint and improvisation in the Renaissance style. His latest book Ex Ovo, a collection of essays for composers and improvisers published by Doberman-Yppan, is soon to be followed by Harmony for Guitar, which is in preparation by the same publisher.

Also available from GSP Recordings is another Dusan Bogdanovic solo album featuring his own highly acclaimed compositions: Mysterious Habitats (GSP1014)

Additional Information

Additional Information

Maker / Manufacturer BOGDANOVIC, DUSAN
Availability N/A
Track 1 3 African Sketches - 1) Allegro Ritmico 1:17
Track 2 3 African Sketches - 2) Misterioso 1:56
Track 3 3 African Sketches - 3) Allegro Ritmico 1:43
Track 4 Levantine Suite - 1) Prelude 0:58
Track 5 Levantine Suite - 2) Dance 1:43
Track 6 Levantine Suite - 3) Cantilena 2:00
Track 7 Levantine Suite - 4) Passacaglia 2:37
Track 8 Levantine Suite - 5) Postlude 0:59
Track 9 Little Cafe Suite - 1) Cappuccino, con brio 1:45
Track 10 Little Cafe Suite - 2) Kwaffee, swing moderato 1:32
Track 11 Little Cafe Suite - 3) Decaf malinconico 2:59
Track 12 Little Cafe Suite - 4) Molto espresso 1:03
Track 13 Polymetric Studies - 1) Molto ritmico 2:03
Track 14 Polymetric Studies - 2) Con meditazione 3:23
Track 15 Polymetric Studies - 3) Rubato, appassionato 1:36
Track 16 Polymetric Studies - 4) Ritmico, cantabile 1:15
Track 17 Polymetric Studies - 5) Semplice, ben marcato 1:17
Track 18 Unconscious in Brazil 4:45
Track 19 In Winter Garden - 1) Adagio rubato 1:46
Track 20 In Winter Garden - 2) Rubato espresso 1:17
Track 21 In Winter Garden - 3) Ad lib, spazioso 1:22
Track 22 In Winter Garden - 4) Andante caminando 1:55
Track 23 In Winter Garden - 5) Adagio rubato e transparente 1:26
Track 24 Diferencias Diferentes 4:21
Track 25 Intimations - No. 1 1:50
Track 26 Intimations - No. 2 2:56
Track 27 Intimations - No. 3 1:50
Track 28 Intimations - No. 4 1:57


"Dusan Bogdanovic continues to impress us with his prodicious compositions and stellar recordings. His latest venture, "Unconscious in Brazil," a collection of original works, is no exception. Not many composers attain skills that allow them to perform their works at the highest possible level. Fortunately for us, Bogdanovic is one of those rare individuals whose virtuosity on the guitar rivals that of most professional guitarists." - Salvatore Cosentino, Guitar Review Magazine


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