June 7, 2012

Kottarashky & The Rain Dogs | Demoni

ARTIST:  Kottarashky & The Rain Dogs
TITLE:  Demoni
LABEL:  Asphalt Tango 
Kottarashky (“Tomcat”) is a Bulgarian electronic musician whose specialty is integrating Balkan and Roma music samples (everything from contemporary tracks to his own field recordings) into the 21st century laptop-music palate.
On his second album, he’s formed a band (clarinet, guitar, bass and drums) to complement the electronics – they’ve borrowed their name from a classic Tom Waits album, and indeed the band has the bluesy, elegiac character associated with Waits.  Instead of Waits’ raspy voice narrating tales of life’s unlucky losers, you get a variety of sounds woven through the band’s soulful groove – snippets of Roma singing, fiddle playing and overblown flute; Balkan accordions and brass; clarinetist Aleksandar Dobrev’s jazzy solos and drummer Atanas Popov’s jazzy breaks.  It’s very hard to tell where the band ends and the samples begin, which is undoubtedly by design and adds immeasurably to the listener’s pleasure.  French-Kiwi singer Tui Mamaki contributes an English-language spoken word vocal to track 4; this update on the jazz-poetry format is one of the album’s highlights.  Don’t miss this beyond-category beauty. 
TOP TRACKS:    1    4    8    10    12
ALSO RECOMMENDED:    2    3    5    6    7    9    11

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