There are but a few musical artists that can be addressed by their forename and elicit almost instant recognition from music aficionados the world over: Mozart, Beethoven, Prince, Madonna and Elvis certainly all qualify for this distinction and, if many music aficionados who more than know their way around a record player have their say, so too does classical guitarist MILOŠ Karadaglic who oft times goes under the mononym of MILOŠ.
This Universal Music recording artist who has been described alternately as “peerless” and as a “magician” is celebrating ten prolific years with the stalwart industry giant and, by way of celebration, has undertaken a project that would make lesser artists wince: An album project that is not only a premiere showcase of his own musical virtuoso, but also a grand unveiling of recent collaborations he has undertaken with two top maestros in the world of classical music and film score – Howard Shore and Joby Talbot, both of whom contributed and fashioned two groundbreaking concertos tailor made for MILOŠ’ own renowned classical guitar.
I’ve been given the daunting task of chatting with MILOŠ – one of my heroes – via the Genie-Out-of-the-Bottle device commonly known in this day and age as ZOOM. Upon receiving that bit of news from my fearless and peerless editor-in-chief, a litany of questions that I want to ask the great Maestro instantly fills my noggin: “What’s the genesis of your latest album?” “What was it specifically about Howard Shore and Joby Talbot that demanded their inclusion in your latest LP?” All of this and more swishes around in my tired grey matter and I know that it’s going to be a long wait indeed until I arrive at the actual interview day and am finally able to, if nothing else, give thanks to a man whose deeply nuanced classical guitar sounds have gotten me through many a good and a bad day ever since his 2011 freshman album – Mediterraneo – dropped from the skies like manna, a gift from the Gods if ever there were one.
When the vaunted interview day finally arrives I’m immediately faced with a huge hurdle – a bad ZOOM connection on my side of the fence that forces me into my best Harold Lloyd impersonation; after quickly establishing that 1.) I’m no Harold Lloyd and 2.) Pantomime is highly overrated – technology and MILOŠ himself put me out of my visible misery and kindly suggests we stick to an audio interview, eschewing the more Buck Rogers-like audio/visual jackhammer. I silently bless MILOŠ as I catch my last glimpse of him before switching to a strictly cameras-off mode; stylishly rumpled with a shock of salt and pepper hair that most mortals can only dream of having, the guitar virtuoso exudes warmth and sincerity. Suddenly, just moments out from my first question, the only thing I can think of asking him is “Does ZOOM make me look fat?” Wisely, I decide to stick to my prepared interview q’s, making mental note to go on a crash diet as soon as my soiree with Montenegro’s prodigal son is done and over.
With all systems-go, I dive right in, congratulating MILOŠ on his ten year anniversary with Universal and asking him about what fans can expect with the April 30 release of his newest album The Moon & The Forest.
True to his humble nature, MILOŠwaxesrhapsodic about the high-caliber of musical guests that he has joining him on The Moon & The Forest, minimizing his own hard work that I know he more than put into this passion project: “Who better to have contribute to a project than Joby Talbot and Howard Shore? They’re two of the finest composers we have and to have this opportunity to feature two brilliant and original concertos from them – It is my honor to have both gentlemen write to my guitar in such a beautiful and profound manner.”
For those keeping score, Howard Shore and Joby Talbot are indeed two of our finest living composers. Both men are musicians of the highest order with a celebrated penchant for stepping into the world of cinema to grace any number of films with their unique stamp; Talbot with such transcendent fare as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Burke and Hare while Shore is noted for work ranging from Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator and James Gray’s The Yards to The Lord of the Rings trilogy of films. The very fact that MILOŠ pulled enough weight to get these busy gents to create from whole cloth two new concertos for his nigh legendary classical guitar speaks volumes about the high esteem he is held in by his peers and contemporaries.
“Have you listened to The Moon & The Forest?” MILOŠ asks me at one point during our chat. I have.
MILOŠ delivers with The Moon & The Forest something that is altogether transcendent (not to sound too much like Shelley Duvall in Annie Hall here) and alternately dreamlike in nature. Listening to MILOŠ, a Euripides of classical guitar if ever there was one, is for this tin-eared writer akin to submerging in an ocean of endless possibilities, where the only rule to be had for a listener is to sit back and enjoy what the former Classic BRIT MasterCard Breakthrough Artist of the Year has fashioned for us, his listening audience. His interpretation of Talbot’s Ink Dark Moon comes home to me like Truth, while Shore’s equal contribution to the proceedings – The Forest – casts a spell of wonderment and rejuvenation.
“We really collaborated up to a point before both Howard and Joby went off to complete their work,” MILOŠ points out to me. After agreeing with him that the marriage between the three works quite strikingly indeed, I can’t help but blurt out how much I also enjoy the other tracks on The Moon & The Forest.
Which brings us to a salient point worth making: MILOŠ has fashioned the best album of 2021 with The Moon & The Forest. It’s also one of the artist’s most personal pieces of work. Granted, personal mileage might vary, but this new release sees a little of something for almost every musical taste under the sun without ever straying from the heartfelt and expert craftsmanship of what makes a classic MILOŠ album.
Our interview winding down (ineptitude and ZOOM do not mix, Dear and Constant Readers), I make sure to bring up a cause that I know is near and dear to the heart of MILOŠ: The Mayor of London’s Fund for Young Musicians. MILOŠ is a patron of this organization that has set about in changing young lives with the power and beauty of music. “We work really hard to work with and transform so many under-served areas by getting to the children access to a real top-notch education in music,” he informs me. I smile. If his passion for his music is evident, then his love and support for the London Music Fund is downright infectious.
And that’s a wrap. I stumble away from my short time chatting with MILOŠ affirmed in the fact that one of my musical heroes is indeed a nice guy. It’s a quality of character that is evident in every classical guitar lick the man produces and shares with us and I can’t think of a better testament.
The Moon & The Forest is out right now and is more than worth your listen. Tell ‘em Vents sent ya!