Balkan Beat Box, Balkan Beat Box

Amelia Raitt

By Amelia Raitt

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Israeli-born Tamir Muskat and former Gogol Bordello saxophonist Ori Kaplan team up here for a rollicking mixture of Balkans (most of the tracks'melodic lines are taken up by the voluminous horn section), beats (those horns are usually supported by hip-hop, trip-hop, whatever-else-hop riddims), and boxes (where do you think those beats came from?). Highlights abound, but the fusion is most apparent on a track like “Adir Adrimi,” where each building block is plainly laid out: a simple scratchy beat, an insistent guitar riff, a second gleaming flourish of a riff that doubles the first, Victoria Hanna's evocative religious chanting. It sounds like a recipe for boredom, but in BBB's hands, the song becomes hypnotic and mysterious — despite the ostensible simplicity of its elements. Must be something in those boxes.