The Balkans groove? Yes, indeed. What started almost twenty years ago with the first releases of mostly Romanian gypsy ensembles, dug up and recorded by Western field researchers behind the just fallen Iron Curtain, has now turned into a global club movement. Nevermind the disco trash productions of turbo folk and manele starlets in the Balkans, it was mostly Western producers and djs who, fascinated by the raw energy of the Balkan rhythms and the sweet melancholy and wild passion of Slavic and gypsy melodies, made the whole thing compatible for the dancefloor. Well, those neckbreaking Balkan tunes had always been danceable as one could witness at concerts of the leading balkan brass bands. Now it is about putting these speedniks in fancy club wear, dragging them out of the folklore corner to make it cool for the kids. Those Balkan beats get groovy. Oriental passion meets four-to-the-floor. Chilly dubstep cellars now shine with warm ornaments.
How did this mutant upgrade happen? Still many Western djs set the status quo. But the formula has also arrived in the Balkans. Especially as meanwhile the gipsy kings finally also get honered in their mother lands. Their success as musicians abroad earned them respect back home. And the electronic musicians have global opportunities of interaction and reasonable home production costs. There exists a vital network of musicians, djs and fans. The music come directly from Pro Tools to the net. Nowadays you find the hits in blogs. There is a creative competition in real time. Many tracks are not even officially released or only put out as download or on vinyl for specialists and collectors. Countless Balkan dj sets and mash ups (non-authorized song collages that, for instance, mix something like Madonna with a Jewish folk song) are circulating. Balkan play lists on internet radios count up to a many hundred tracks.
Now this is also infecting other music scenes. While so-called world music djs have been jumping on the balkan train for some time now, even hip electro producers have discovered the balkan energy and the anarchistic Eastern fun - first only with timid brass samples, but now even as pimped up Balkanbeats dancehall. Still the West is setting the pace with turntable wizards like Vienna's dunkelbunt or Stefano Miele (aka Riva Starr) from Italy. There are also immigration-related culture meltings like the Bosnian-Danish project Fagget Fairys or the now Berliner Valentino Valente. Or Dobranotch from St.Petersburg and DJ Click from Paris who swap files between East and West. The West remixes the East or vice versa as with Shazalakazoo from Serbia and Watcha Clan from France. Kiril from Macedonia invites Rocker Hi-Fi's toaster to the studio. The message, that only half of the West is shiny and the future lies in the mix of both worlds, has now also arrived in the Eastern metropols. Leni Kravac (funny name, isn't?) in Ljubljana or Kottarashky in Sofia have their roots in their blood, but as modern city dwellers they help themselves from the electronic building set of Western club culture. The times of strictly separate scenes are almost over - crossover on all fronts.
What was the new musical style of the last decade? There was none. Instead there were a dozen hybrids and sub genres. And that's the way it will be. Anything goes. Brass meets drum'n'bass, folk meets minimal. Everything is out there – you just have to find it and separate the wheat from the chaff. So you can skip half a year of blog surfing and instead just enjoy these nuggets that passed the Eastblok quality check. By the way, more than half of the tracks here are exclusive and previously unreleased.
Eastblok proudly presents Balkanbeats 2.0 = BALKAN GROOVES.