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Balkan Beat Box by Balkan Beat Box
Released: Sep 2005
Label: Jdub Records
Conceptually, Balkan Beat Box draw from their progenitors, Gypsy punk outfit Gogol Bordello (former Bordello denizen Ori Kaplan heads up BBB), pairing Eastern Europe's dark circus aesthetics and dissonant melodies with Western pop. But Gogol's squalling punk is replaced here with hip hop beats, while the melodic material travels a bit further south on the continent: taut, nasal harmonizing; drunken, slippery reeds; belching brass. It's all expertly remixed into tracks that toy variously with Balkan, Arabic, Hassidic and Rom styles and languages, resulting in some of the sickest dance grooves this side of Zagreb. Complex time signatures never sounded so hot.
Rachel Devitt

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