There are very few record labels in the world run solely by someone who does so just because of his love of music, but that is the case with Moonjune Records and Leonardo Pavkovic. Leonardo left his beloved New York to move to Europe where he has set up a new festival which took place at the end of September this year, with this album (‘Fountain of Plenitude’ in English being part of the fundraiser for that). It contains twelve pieces by twelve of the main artists involved in the MoonJune Festival Toledo 2023. In a somewhat typical fashion of Leo, only three come from recordings previously released by MoonJune Records, Soft Machine’s “Penny Hitch” (from ‘Other Doors’), Dwiki Dharmawan’s “Paris Barantai” (from ‘Rumah Batu’) and Dennis Rea’s “Kan Hai De Re Zi” (from his stunning 2010 album ‘Views from Chicheng Precipice’ which I still regularly listen to today). There are also tunes from both Beledo and Anchor & Burden which will be on Moonjune albums released later this year.
The others involved have either provided music which has been released on non-Moonjune albums, or is brand new, and there is the expectation that they will all be working with Leonardo at some point in the future. What is interesting is that while Leo’s main focus has always been JRF, progressive rock, jazz, and the way it all comes together in unexpected ways, these bands are incredibly diverse while all somehow fitting well together. Some I have reviewed multiple times, while others are new to me, but just knowing they have been vetted and approved by Leo is a very simple mark of quality. Some of the artists combine influences from their own culture, some are highly scored and greatly rehearsed, while others have just seen musicians get into a studio and press record, then see what happens. It is difficult for me to highlight just one person, but it is impossible for me to look past Dennis Rea and his incredible work with Chinese music, based on the years he lived there (I also highly recommend his book ‘Live at the Forbidden City: Musical Encounters in China and Taiwan’) as this fusion of cultures and his guitar is truly remarkable, yet there is always something very special about Anchor & Burden.
The festival may have passed but this album is still available and definitely worthy of investigation.
By Kev Rowland