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Review: Shazalakazoo, Speaking Balkanian

Shazalakazoo
Speaking Balkanian
[Self Released (2009)]

Milan Djuric and Uros Petkovic, as Shazalakazoo, have intertwined traditional Balkan music with tub-thumping electronica to give us their debut album, Speaking Balkanian. Although the tracks from time to time fall into by-the-numbers electronic music, more reminiscent of Kraftwerk or countless jungle DJs, there is nothing on the CD that is less than exuberant and frenetic. The tracks that focus more on the traditional Balkan music, however, remain legitimately intriguing and more than fun to listen to. The songs that expertly mix Balkan melodies and instruments with scratches and break-beats are by far the most compelling tracks and make up the majority of the album (and make you wonder just how difficult it might be to dance to). Tracks 5 (“Sarmagedon”) and 11 (“In Oro We Trust”) are particularly fantastic examples.

While perhaps not for everyone, Speaking Balkanian is an example of just how stimulating music can be when the Old and New World aesthetics combine.

Here’s a good live cut of “In Oro We Trust”:

—Mike Tager (Baltimore, MD)

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