Saturday, 30 March 2013

Kottarashky & The Rain Dogs - Demoni

I was really slow off the blocks on this one.   Having had a significant Kottarashky obsession around four years ago, news of this 2012 release with his band the Rain Dogs ought to have had me scurrying off to a record shop or, as is more the case this days, clicking on the 'Kaufen!' button at the Asphalt Tango online shop.  Instead, I got lazy, or distracted, or both and, having been advised by the aforementioned label that a copy was on its way, I managed to let it drift to the back of my mind.

Which made it all the more exciting when, having been snarled up in the postal system somewhere between Eastern Europe and my own tiny corner of the north-west of England, Demoni dropped through my letterbox.  Inevitably I rescued it immediately from its package, played it straight away and, just as inevitably, loved it to bits.   Kottarashky has long had something about him that sets him apart - not just his penchant for combining traditional Bulgarian and modern dance music, but for doing it in such a way that the boundaries between the two become blurred and the marriage of sounds becomes entirely natural.  These are not jarring mash-ups which thrill through conflict and dissonance - wonderful though such things can often be - but a reclamation of the digital within the organic that is in no way contrived or forced.    I hoped at one point Beirut might get to sound like this at some point, but I now realise there was never any chance of that happening - Kottarshky has made the ground his and is busy populating it with remarkable musical creations, as this release aptly illustrates.

The album's style and character is fluent enough to absorb the contributions of New Zealand's Tui Mamaki on 'Begemot' and 'Put A Blessing On' without compromising or watering down the creativity of either force.  This is accommodating, embracing music, hailing from Bulgaria but welcoming the world.  I play the track 'Pancho Says', the irresistible rhythms of which interweave a mesmerising path through the album's early stages, in my April show on Dandelion Radio, streaming from Monday.

The album came out last May.  It's been well worth the wait for me and, if you've not yet caught up with its brilliance, I'd advise you to do so without further delay.  You can find it, along with many other wonderful releases, at the Asphalt Tango website.

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