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Electric Gypsyland
     

Electric Gypsyland

 
The frenetic dance music of the Balkans has many parts -- a whiff of Eastern melodies, the blare of European brass bands, and the swinging virtuosity of American jazz. But until recently, the thump and thud of electronic dance music was not one of its components. This rollicking new release is the corrective, and if it's not necessarily a needed one, that doesn't stop

Overview

The frenetic dance music of the Balkans has many parts -- a whiff of Eastern melodies, the blare of European brass bands, and the swinging virtuosity of American jazz. But until recently, the thump and thud of electronic dance music was not one of its components. This rollicking new release is the corrective, and if it's not necessarily a needed one, that doesn't stop the surprising Electric Gypsyland from being a whole lot of fun. From the opener, a remixed Gypsy rendition of the reggae favorite "Oh Carolina" -- Shaggy's "Boombastic" seems to be mixed in there, too -- it's obvious that this is no ordinary Balkan collection. That first number features the storied Taraf de Haidouks, of oh-so-serious Nonesuch fame, taken apart by German producer Shantal's Bucovina Club, and it's indicative of the irreverent attitude of the set. But Gypsyland is wider ranging, counting on producers from Brazil, France, Chile, Brussels, and Turkey to recast the music of the Taraf, the Macedonian brass band Kocani Orkestar, and the Romanians Mahala Rai Banda. That Bucharest collective contributes "Iest Sexy," another rambunctious, contemporary take on the traditional sound. The rhythms range from reggae to trip-hop, but the unrestrained funk of these ensembles will surely send listeners back to the source -- high praise for any compilation.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Chris Nickson
It's rare to find a remix album that really works, but this does. Four Balkan gypsy groups reworked in any number of ways might sound limiting, but the studio wizards here have managed to retain the spirit of the original tracks while taking them in very eclectic directions. From the work of Arto Lindsay and Melvin Gibbs on "Mugur Mugurel," which recalls the adventurous no wave era of downtown New York, to the glory of Lightning Head's "L'Orient Est Rouge," where African soukous and house music mix gloriously with the original, this is a delight. Turkey's Mercan Dede brings his hypnotic sensibilities to "Siki, Siki Baba," while Olaf Hund's "Are You Gypsified?" medley is nothing less than mad, creating a jam session among three of the bands that veers with loving drunkenness all over the road. The musicianship of the gypsy musicians isn't in question when they include the worldbeating Taraf de Haidouks and Kocani Orkestar, although the virtuosity isn't the important element here. Instead, the remixers exploit the melodies and the feel while surprising with context, as Bucovina Club do on "Carolina" -- a dancehall/Balkan mash-up no one could have anticipated, but which whets the appetite for the rest of the disc. Where the European version contains 13 tracks, the North American release adds two bonus cuts, including Taraf de Haidouks' "A la Turk" given the full house treatment by Cop & Thief in a manner that could make it a club favorite. This is the kind of disc that renews your faith in the possibilities of the remix.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/06/2004
Label:
Six Degrees
UPC:
0657036109827
catalogNumber:
1098

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