Balkan Beats Soundlab
The brainchild of Berlin-based Yugoslavian immigrant Robert Soko, “Balkan Beats Soundlab” offers lavish proof that gypsy punk and Eastern European dance music are hardly the exclusive province of popular U.S. bands such as Gogol Bordello and DeVotchKa. On these 17 tracks, Soko (a.k.a. the “Godfather of Balkan Beats”) remixes club favorites by just about anybody who’s anybody on the contemporary Slavic music scene, fusing tradition and technology to consistently galvanizing effect.
He reimagines London duo Gypsy Hill’s “Balkan Beast,” for example, by giving it a deeper, spongier bottom and intensifying its surf guitar and Middle Eastern intrigue. He retrofits “I Like to Move It” by Ukrainian accordion-rockers Los Colorados with ping-ponging dance-hall beats, and he adds swirling flourishes to the melody and rhythms of “We Are One,” an electro-pop anthem by the multilingual French four-piece Watcha Clan.