Clash of Civilizations: Counter Propaganda - Progressions Magazine

Revolutionary. That’s the best way to describe the music and mission of this eclectic Boston collective. Headed by Serbian natives Milan Kovacev and Nikola Radan, Clash of Civilizations blends an encyclopedic knowledge of world music with a rebellious knack for challenging conventions.

Counter Propanganda, Clash’s debut release, is a collage of traditional West African music, Middle Eastern folk, American gospel (and other sacred musics) and progressive techno. Most tracks could be classified as protest songs – decrying racism, human rights violations, war – and many feature excerpts from historical speeches (from Truman, Ford, JFK, Carter and Reagan).

Kovacev and Radan, and a host of musical collaborators from Boston and New York, are clearly aiming for a bridge of musical styles that underscores a key theme: Music is a universal language that speaks to the human condition. Like the Afro-Celt System, Clash of Civilizations creates a strangely beautiful mix of styles that is wholly unexpected, transcendent and lovely.

The duo seamless stitches together traditional Ghanan music and gospel (“Declaration of Independence”), house music and 18th century Christian hymns (“Metamorphosis”), Persian sacred music and Turkish Islamic texts (“Les Cites”), and Serbian and Albanian folk (“Heavy Duty”).

In less-skilled hands, this project could have devolved into a silly hodge-podge of pretentious protest prog. But Kovacev and Radan manage to deliver an enchanting and sophisticated exploration of the possibilities of world beat music that offers soul-deep satisfaction. Well done, gentlemen.

by Nick Tate

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