Balkan Beat Box

Balkan Beat Box

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by Balkan Beat Box
     
 

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If saxophonist Ori Kaplan left the shambolic Gogol Bordello for any particular reason, it wasn’t for a more sedate musical setting. His band with fellow Israeli expat Tamir Muskat is a frenetically paced Eastern Bloc party in Gogol’s anarchic, multiculti spirit -- the difference is that where Eugene Hutz’s Ukrainian mob favored

Overview

If saxophonist Ori Kaplan left the shambolic Gogol Bordello for any particular reason, it wasn’t for a more sedate musical setting. His band with fellow Israeli expat Tamir Muskat is a frenetically paced Eastern Bloc party in Gogol’s anarchic, multiculti spirit -- the difference is that where Eugene Hutz’s Ukrainian mob favored Gypsy-flavored speed metal, BBB is inspired by Bulgarian polyphony and Jamaican dancehall. Muskat, drummer with New York’s Big Lazy, spins a panoply of rhythms, from martial brass-band bombast to hip-hop, Moroccan trance, samba, and beyond while Kaplan leads a fiery horn section that slides from Eastern wedding music to New Orleans second-line shenanigans. Dropping primitive samples -- sirens, radio blasts, teakettles -- and employing a merry-go-round of singers and rappers in English, Arabic, Spanish, and Bulgarian, the BBB is a bracing barrage, something of a world encyclopedia of noise. In addition to the prodigious musicianship displayed, the key to the band’s success, both live and on record, is the utter lack of irony and self-consciousness. Confrontational, rude, and extremely fun, Balkan Beat Box is a bull in a world-music china shop -- breaking out soon to a venue near you.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Rob Theakston
With the tag "world music" applying to everything in an easy catch-all umbrella category, it's hard to disseminate between a quality exercise in the fusion of cultures and a bargain-bin, second-rate throwaway imitation. Beyond some sort of run-of-the-mill world music act, Balkan Beat Box's eponymous debut fuses Arabic, Hassidic, and other traditional music with hip-hop beats without sounding generic and obvious. The opening number, "Cha Cha," is easily a standout among this session with its dubbed-out beats and blend of tension and release. The haunting Middle East-inspired guitar playing on "Adir Adirim" is another highlight. But like Fela Kuti, Sun Ra, and other large ensembles, the energy from this group stems from its vibrant and high-energy live performances, where songs are stretched and twisted every which way and the improvisation runs high. Sometimes albums are only documents that attempt to capture the essence of the performances and the results fall flat, doing the groups a slight disservice by misrepresenting what they're all about. Thankfully this is not the case here.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/26/2007
Label:
Imports
UPC:
0881390200825
catalogNumber:
937464
Rank:
116006

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Balkan Beat Box 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For us Middle Americans, Balkan Beat Box is one fun ride. Alternately hip, edgy and traditional-bordering-on-ancient, these beats will make you smile and get you bumping along with them - as in a camel ride, or is it the New York subway?
TribalDancer More than 1 year ago
Great music to belly dance to. The music makes me smile.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago