There isn’t any particular style to the recordings on Balkan Grooves; rather anything that can get people dancing seems to be the principle.
Another magnificent release from Eastblok music, Balkan Grooves is a truly sonic mash up, and a brilliant overview of what has been fermenting in the last 10 years or so. There isn’t any particular style to the recordings on Balkan Grooves; rather anything that can get people dancing seems to be the principle. And anyway, how anyone could fail to love a track entitled I Was Drunk (Riva Starr feat Nôze) is beyond me, regardless what it sounds like (marvellous, in case you were wondering).
Of course, this record draws a great deal on the Balkans’ musical heritage; brass instruments are bloody everywhere in the mix. As are traditional folk tunes. A very sentimental folk song and what can very loosely be described as drum'n'bass (though it’s closer to a good old fashioned knees up) combine to great effect on Goulash Exotica’s Kotyaka. You’ll enjoy the rustic singing on Kottarashky’s urbane mix Cheteri, too. There are also some beautifully melodic inventions; Leni Kravac’s Zajednica boasts the most enjoyable, most effective sampling of brass instruments I think I have heard, all over a spacey drum’n’bass backdrop.
Elsewhere, Shazalakazoo, from Serbia, has two magnificent tracks to his name here; the daft Sarmageddon which almost gets into Oliver Postgate territory, and the tremendous (and I mean tremendous) collaboration with France’s Watcha Clan, Balkan Qoulou.
And that leads me onto the other point: the mix of East and West a hackneyed phrase I know, and possibly one of the laziest journalistic props in reviews of this sort. But it has to be said; the mix of Western urban DJ culture and Eastern rhythms and brio is quite phenomenal. This can be seen in the funny-stately Oci by Bosnian-Danish project Fagget Fairys. A bit of research revealed that Dobranotch from St.Petersburg and Paris’s DJ Click regularly “swap files” (a marvellous phrase is it not?) between Mysterious East and Decadent West… The skanky, poppy Batuta is the marvellous result of said cultural exchange.
Big thanks must go to Eastblok for their patience and skill in putting this together. It must have been some task.