KOTTARASHKY AND THE RAIN DOGS, DEMONI (ASPHALT TANGO)
[DUNKELBUNT]
A NEW DAY; LAYA PROJECT REMIXED
ADDIS ACOUSTIC PROJECT
AFRO ROOTS WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL
AMADOU & MARIAM
ANTÓNIO ZAMBUJO
APHRODESIA
BALKANBEATS
BANCO DE GAIA
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BOY WITHOUT GOD
C.J. CHENIER
CARLOS GOGO GOMEZ
CHOBAN ELEKTRIK
CHOPTEETH
CHRISTIANE D
CHRISTINE VAINDIRLIS
CLARA PONTY
COPAL
CUCHATA
DAMJAN KRAJACIC
DANIEL CROS
DEBO & FENDIKA
DEL CASTILLO
DR JAYANTHI KUMARESH
EARTHRISE SOUNDSYSTEM
EGYPT NOIR
ELIN FURUBOTN
EMILY SMITH
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FEUFOLLET
FIAF PRESENTS WORLD NOMADS MOROCCO: MUSIC
FOOTSTEPS IN AFRICA
GECKO TURNER
GENTICORUM
GEOFF BERNER
GIANMARIA TESTA
GODS ROBOTS
GUARCO
HUUN HUUR TU
INDIAN OCEAN
IRENE JACOB & FRANCIS JACOB
JANAKA SELEKTA
JANYA
JERRY LEAKE
JOAQUIN DIAZ
JOEL RUBIN
JORGE STRUNZ
JOSEF KOUMBAS
JOYFUL NOISE (I GRADE RECORDS)
JUST A BAND
KAMI THOMPSON
KARTICK & GOTAM
KHALED
KHING ZIN & SHWE SHWE KHAING
KITKA'S CAUCASIAN CONNECTIONS PROJECT PERFORMANCES AND WORKSHOPS
KMANG KMANG
KOTTARASHKY AND THE RAIN DOGS
LA CHERGA
LAC LA BELLE
LAYA PROJECT
LENI STERN
LES TRIABOLIQUES
LISTEN FOR LIFE
LOBI TRAORÉ
LO'JO
LOKESH
MAGNIFICO
MAHALA RAI BANDA
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MOHAMMED ALIDU AND THE BIZUNG FAMILY
MR. SOMETHING SOMETHING
MY NAME IS KHAN
NAWAL
NAZARENES
NO STRANGER HERE (EARTHSYNC)
OCCIDENTAL BROTHERS ON TOUR
OCCIDENTAL GYPSY
OREKA TX
ORQUESTRA CONTEMPORÂNEA DE OLINDA
PABLO SANCHEZ
PEDRO MORAES
RAYA BRASS BAND
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SAMITE
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SELAELO SELOTA
SHYE BEN-TZUR
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TAGA SIDIBE
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THE MOUNTAIN MUSIC PROJECT
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THE SPY FROM CAIRO
TITO GONZALEZ
TOUSSAINT
VARIOUS ARTISTS
VARIOUS ARTISTS
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WHEN HARRY TRIES TO MARRY SOUNDTRACK
WOMEXIMIZER
WOMEXIMIZER
ZDOB SI ZDUB
ZIETI
Kottarashky and The Rain Dogs, Demoni (Asphalt Tango)
Soul Sampler: Balkan Mixmaster Kottarashky and The Rain Dogs are Alive and Funky on Demoni

“I don't like DJ sets,” exclaims Nicola Gruev, a.k.a. Kottarashky, the Balkan beatologist who made a name for himself with pared-down, eclectic tracks built from folksy samples of everything from Bulgarian traditional singing to overblown flute and whirling clarinet.

Now, joined by a live crew of old friends and stellar Sofia musicians, The Rain Dogs, Gruev and company bring a new, crackling energy to Kottarashky’s ethno-mashups and rough-edged romps on Demoni (Asphalt Tango; release: June 12, 2012).

It’s as if a gritty house band at a tiny blues bar somewhere in Chicago suddenly became possessed by wild sonic spirits from the Bulgarian mountainside. It’s as if Tom Waits (the inspiration for the band’s curious name) or the Black Keys decided to jam with a village wedding band and a bright voiced chorus of East European grandmas.

“Working with other musicians is sometimes hard but also joyful,” Gruev reflects. “I did a lot of things for a first time, like recording and mixing live instruments in a studio. But my music became richer with the guys’ ideas and feelings. So it was a natural process, a step in the first direction.”

{full story below}

“I'm from a different generation from many other electronic DJs, and I have a different musical background,” explains Bulgaria-born Gruev. An architect by training and trade, Kottarashky found himself assembling sonic bits and pieces to create electronic tracks that felt like soundscapes, like nighttime rambles through Sofia, on his wildly successful album, OpaHey!.

But the purely electronic approach was never completely satisfying. Gruev began talking to longtime friend (and fellow architect), guitarist and keyboardist Hristos Hadziganchev, who had played in a few alt-rock bands.

The two started playing together, gradually recruiting clarinetist Aleksandar Dobrev after catching him live several times. Dobrev brought along bassist Yordan Geshakov, a widely respected bassist on the Sofia scene. After Atanas Popov joined on drums, The Rain Dogs dove into taking Kottarashky’s sound live, with a soul-inflected, gritty dynamism.

A live band felt like a natural progression for Gruev: “I like to hear live vibrations in the music,” he explains, “which was always the inspiration for my samples.”

Though no stranger to grabbing the right sound from a recording, Kottarashky gathers many of his samples himself, traveling around Bulgaria to grab the intricate yet raw voices of elder singers (the bittersweet vocal curlicues on “Slavyanka Blues”), or shimmering flute melodies (“Begemot”). They still form the backbone of many of Kottarashky and The Rain Dog’s tracks.

Yet the resulting sound feels organic, with vintage overtones and hip grooves, falling somewhere between the Mediterranean electro-mania of Balkan Beat Box and the downhome roots of the Deep South or East Bloc. “Demoni” sways between jazzy tango feel and a drum-and-bass vibe, with mysterious mumbling voices and quirky accordion flourishes (--and a delightfully gleeful video by animator Theodore Ushev). “Put a Blessing On” features the gorgeous, soulful voice of wildly creative Franco-Kiwi singer Tui Mamaki, who fell in love with Bulgaria while working on the album with The Rain Dogs. “Pancho Says” leaps between Romani delights, rumbling guitar, and an almost Afrobeat rhythm.

That, like the transition to a live band, feels utterly natural to musically omnivorous Gruev. “Everything inspires me. There is no style constraints, “he reflects. “What we trying to do is modern music: a bit romantic, a bit melancholic, powerful and rhythmic.”

<< release: 06/12/12 >>
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