The first new Oberkrainer/Narodnozabavna album on vinyl in several years has been released by Andrej Toplišek Septett, called Postkarte aus Slowenien (Postcard from Slovenia). It features top Oberkrainer style musicians and vocalists from Slovenia and Austria; Andrej Toplišek (formerly Okrogli Muzikanti, accordion), Sandi Jug (Quintett Juchee, lead vocalist), Mojca Bitenc Križaj (formerly Mitja Kvintet, vocals), Mike Orešar (Igor in Zlati Zvoki, guitar), Nejc Merc (Oberkrainer Power, baritone), Tomaž Zevnik (formerly Ansambel Saša Avsenika, clarinet). It was entirely produced in Toplišek’s studio.
The compositions are Toplišek’s originals and are inventive, and the musicianship is full of heart and quality. The sound is very natural and not too bright or compressed or loud, compared to many recent recordings produced in Slovenia and Austria. The clarity and natural quality reminds me of some 1960s and 1970s Avsenik recordings. I can listen through the whole album without skipping a single song, unlike some several recent albums to have come out of Slovenia. This album isn’t trying to make this genre into something it’s not, while it still brings something new to Oberkrainer music that will make you want to listen to it again and again. Meanwhile, you will hear something you haven’t heard done before in this space.
The only reason I’m writing about this, is because a lot of new recordings from Slovenia and Austria sound too similar to one another, and don’t stand out from one another. The same goes for the songs themselves. Perhaps a lot of them are made for the sake of merely having an album and some self promotion.
This sort of creativity and quality is worth a listen for any Oberkrainer fan, and I hope this album inspires more creativity and quality in this genre, which is currently facing a bit of a personality crisis; the Slovenian TV and Radio space seem to be trying to turn it into something that this music is not, and are taking away from the music itself. Maybe this is the start of an ‘underground’ Oberkrainer/Narodnozabavna, that focuses on the soul of the music instead of marketing, sexiness or gimmicks.
How many recent albums in this genre come out, that actually make you want to recommend it to others, and listen to every single song, again and again?
You won’t be able to find this album for purchase online, but can order it directly from Andrej Toplišek (he speaks English, Slovenian and German) through Facebook, and he has no problem sending it anywhere. It comes with an mp3 download code so you can listen to it anywhere you want, but it’s a great experience just listening to the vinyl, without your phone, with no distractions.