David Maxim Micic
12th July 2015 – Self-released
Outside of his main gig with pop-djenters Destiny Potato, amiable Serbian oddball David Maxim Micic has carved out an outlet for his (even more) experimental side with his solo work. Up until now, these lone adventures have been packaged as three instalments in his intriguing and enthralling Bilo series, the last of which was released at the end of 2013. This time around however, David has left the Bilo label to one side to release the first of a pair of short EPs – the first one of which is called Ego.
Running a shade over twenty minutes, the divisions between the four tracks – each titled with a single word beginning with D – are practically invisible. This results in a piece of music closer in form to the movements of a classical piece, rather than the individual tracks of an average metal EP. This thought is further compounded by the swift realisation that those track titles are fundamentally descriptive.
So Ego begins in a relatively straightforward fashion, deep in instrumental prog-metal territory that will be familiar to anyone who has encountered David’s work previously. “Define” sets the mood of the EP, and introduces motifs that will reappear later on. “Develop” takes these themes and runs with them, broadening the scope and bringing more instruments into the mix. Most notably, towards the end of the track the introduction of Larissa Terescenko’s violins coincides with an upping of the craziness factor, drawing as much influence from folk music as from metal.
So when “Disorder” rolls around, practically anything is fair game. From oompah brass to an inspired and utterly hilarious ‘vocal solo’ from Vladimir Lalic (who has previously appeared on the Bilo releases), the track would not be out of place on a Mr. Bungle album. It’s absolutely as chaotic as the name suggests. Devin Townsend riffs with djentier tones and an accompanying accordion? Why not? It is left to “Devise” to draw everything back together again, building to into a triumphant climax before finally being overwhelmed by distortion. What a ride.
As the EP’s title sort of acknowledges, Ego is just a little self-indulgent. It would probably be impractical to ever consider it being performed live – especially with Destiny Potato gigs being so few and far between themselves – but given the depth and breadth of David’s talents, we should probably be happy that they’ve been indulged in this manner. Ego is really very clever indeed but – guest guitar solo from Canadian Nick Johnston aside – is rarely showy with it.
Above everything else, Ego is characterised by a playfulness of spirit that is tremendously endearing. The biography on David’s Facebook page simply says “music for the sake of music”, and that’s exactly what Ego delivers. There’s also the not inconsiderable achievement of creating, essentially, a 20+ minute progressive work out that reaches such a length without disappearing down a catastrophically tedious cul-de-sac of directionless twiddle for half its duration. Prog bands take note.
For fans hungry for a full-length excursion into David’s mind, Ego may be something of a short trip, but one that is damn near perfectly formed – and what’s more, Ego‘s companion piece, Eco, will be with us very soon indeed.
Ego, as well as David’s previous solo releases, are available from his bandcamp page.