Stefan Kristinkov

Music speaks for itself and you can ask anything. The answer would differ composer to composer, but a true musician could answer even the weirdest questions. To the genre question, Stefan Kristinkov’s latest album called “Ask Me Anything” offers Any Answer right off the bat. Abstract in interpretation, yet concrete in deliberately presenting music which is to go well with various range of visuals. Stefan is a clarinetist with rich working experience ranging from music composition, production, orchestra, and movie scores. He is of a curious nature and finds hidden ways to spice up progressions and to combine unusual elements together.

The very nature of how the instruments used were incorporated and played comes from Stefan Kristinkov’s classical music background, but what dressing included differentiates it bristles with particular undertones, a sci-fi to the real world of classical instruments. Strongly suggestive in their universality of interpretation, they lend to Stefan’s compositions a heavy presence, creeping variation, deep set seriousness, sonic fullness, and spacious scale. Tracks seesaw between moments of serenity and building tension, making them ideal to accompany the silver screen through the speakers. This was proven by Kristinkov winning numerous music awards at Garden State Film Festival, and most recently winning Best Original Music Score at Bare Bones International Film & Music Festival in 2019.

A.M.A. is dipped in EDM until it drips it all out and it can, with playful sound combinations, reminders of the likes of Aphex Twin. At times, when EDM steps into the background, however, tinges of minimalism and jazziness seep through to provide respite from uncompromising, hypnotic, backdrops. It’s the even and complementary relationship between instrumental and electronic elements which makes Kristinkov’s music unique, and their masterful fusion lets the listener stay in the moment. A.M.A. has enough variation to go around for multiple projects, but all of the shifts are entirely seamless, because the sounds used are easily suggestive and even non-musicians could easily envision a situation unraveling in their heads, with individual tracks for characters stepping onto the stage to progress the plot.

It gets busy and chaotic and then suddenly the sound’s business is retracted for theatre like catharsis in a tempo which doesn’t let the listener stop following, yet doesn’t overwhelm. Pacing is really the name of the game for the album, and Kristinkov does a perfect job in tying a mood-wise varied anthology of scores together into an entirely natural arc of abstract awe, just waiting for a mind to pick from near infinity of proposed images and meanings before being taken away on a joyride of pure tones, atmospheric coos, and dissociative noises which, ironically, imprint the most concrete of imagery from the universal. Whether as music for studying, meditation, pump-up of a chase scene, or a Berlin underground party background, it could even be the same track from “Ask Me Anything” that would make a scene work sonically, without the need for adding dialogue.

Honza Luhan