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Balkan Beat Box

4.5 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 20, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

BALKAN BEAT BOX

Review

This is not your mother's klezmer...this is the dance party of the new millennium. --Paste

This cross-cultural crew of New York musicians...is guaranteed to propel any party into a hedonistic, sweaty mess. --Entertainment Weekly

If Mr. Scruff and Nickodemus manned the decks at a Bar Mitzvah the results would probably mirror the festive dance floor flavor of this debut by Israelis Tamir Muskat and Ori Kaplan. Enjoy a slice of next level worldliness. --urb

This cross-cultural crew of New York musicians...is guaranteed to propel any party into a hedonistic, sweaty mess. --Entertainment Weekly

If Mr. Scruff and Nickodemus manned the decks at a Bar Mitzvah the results would probably mirror the festive dance floor flavor of this debut by Israelis Tamir Muskat and Ori Kaplan. Enjoy a slice of next level worldliness. --urb
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 20, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: JDub Records
  • ASIN: B000AQKYMI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,746 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 25, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Not every album kicks off with a rooster crowing. But then, not every band is brave enough for some quirky folk/hip-hop as their main sound.

Much like their sister band Gogol Bordello, Balkan Beat Box creates a funky mishmash of cultural influences. But their music ends up sounding like a gypsy electronica musician who just got back from a Middle-Eastern tour. Yup, it's really as wild as it sounds.

It kicks off with the most infectious song on the album, "Cha Cha," which commands you "dance!" before the beat kicks in -- deliciously funky and danceable. It's followed by the glorious "Bulgarian Chicks," which has Vlada Tomova & Kristin Espeland singing merrily over trumpets and dancey beats.

Then they take a detour out of folkland, with dark hip-hop, Middle Eastern wails, sultry European saxophones, and delightfully raucous blasts of Eastern-European rock'n'roll, with chants interspersing blasts of grimy guitar. It ends on a surprisingly low-key note, with the hypnotic beats of "La Bush Resistance," with Tomer Yosef and Amir Shahasar chanting over it all.

If you had to describe Balkan Beat Box, then it would probably be Middle-Eastern/Jewish/gypsy beatbox/rock/electrofolk. If there's a name for fusion music like that, I'd love to hear of it, because it would probably be as entertainingly colourful as the music itself.

Balkan Beat Box's strongest point is its instrumentation -- we've got the usual instruments, but they're almost smothered in a thick layer of woodwinds, trombones, trumpets, sax and electronic programming here and there. And the musical styles are flexible -- we've got the jagged hip-hop right next to slithering Mid-East beats and bouncy Eastern European stuff.
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Format: Audio CD
I had the pleasure of seeing this amazing outfit live in Madison, WI as part of the World Music Festival on the UW Madison campus. These musicians from around the globe stole the show. Fantastic energy and fresh, fresh, fresh combinations of world music mixed with contrasting samples and grooving beats.

Needless to say I had to have their disc. It is superb. All the things they did live were distilled and focussed here. Even the chicken on the cover, which crows during some songs. I have listened to this disc at least 20 times already and still have trouble prying it from my player.

This is what the future of music is looking like.

Also check out Gogol Bordello.
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Format: Audio CD
Sample the second song. Sample the other songs. Order the disc and be prepared to have your musical world expand. Whatever you may call this stuff it is wonderful in ways that keep calling and when you find yourself humming one of these tunes as you wander the supermarket shopping for dinner you get to go back home and crank it up while you cook. Good eatin'.
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Format: Audio CD
It is rare to find a group that is willing to share so much of their music and videos over the Internet. Their raucous mix of World music is great fun and their concerts appear to be a riot! It is easy to see why they have struck a nerve. Although you can hear all their music at their website, and even download their videos, you should buy this CD to support this group that will have you dancing in the streets.
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Format: Audio CD
What a year 2005 has proven to be. Matisyahu broke through in a major way, but two of the most interesting new Jewish acts also released albums this year: Balkan Beat Box and Latino-Jewish collective Hip Hop Hoodios.

Gone are the schmaltzy, lame stereotype acts like 2 Live Jews and 50 Shekel. In their place have arrived new acts that represent the true cultural tapestry of Jewish culture. I really enjoy the Balkan Beat Box concept - it's all over the place, and they put on an amazing live show (especially the one at Irving Plaza). Likewise, I discovered Hip Hop Hoodios through their video "Gorrito Cosmico" on MTV Espanol - never did I think an openly Jewish act could make it in the Latino community.

So let me say, if you are an open-minded Amazon shopper, pick up the Balkan Beat Box album and also grab Hip Hop Hoodios "Agua Pa' La Gente" while you're at it. Shalom!!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is an incredibly creative album, with inspired beats and mixes and a wonderful sense of play. World music has been going in a direction American popular music seems to be redacting from: letting music of different cultures and styles meld together and make whole new sounds. Our investment-minded record industry may now officially hang its suited head in shame, because it will never reach what Balkan Beat Box does within a few seconds with its present paradigm.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Unlike basically all the other reviewers here, I have not seen this group live. Yet. Therefore, I can tell you that just as a studio album, Balkan Beat Box's debut is absolutely fantastic. If you google Balkan Beat Box, you should come up with a website that will let you hear the songs in their entirety, but you might as well just buy the album now, because you're going to like it. Beats and breaks (one in 9:4! guess which one), a wealth of folk and Jewish melodies from multiple continents, a bit of hip hop in there (notably on the slow-cooked La Bush Resistance), chants, riffs, etc. make for an energetic, original and engaging release and one of the best things I picked up this year.
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