Words: Dominic Valvona
Photos: Miluţă Flueraş

Atavistic yet contemporary in its merging of Balkan traditions and psychedelics with broken-beats, synth-electronica, dub and global bass the Sașa-Liviu Stoianovici and Alin Zăbrăuțeanu duo of Balkan Taksim inject a respective new dynamism and energy into the music of their Romanian roots. They’ve expanded that to a wider exposure and education of Slavic cultures throughout the Balkans region, congruously working with local singers and musicians to record the songs, tunes of their heritage. Reworking this source material in the studio, they’ve added an air of modernity with an array of sophisticated and articulate (rather than “banging IDM”) style electronica sounds, atmospherics, heavy bass and powerful beats. But don’t call it a “fusion”: it goes deeper than that, with many of the sounds being sampled direct from original traditional Balkan instruments, both musical worlds existing on equal terms.

It’s a magical, transportive futurist vision that’s attracting a lot of acclaim and attention.

The duo, having just signed to the Parisian label Buda Musique, are readying themselves to release a debut album this Spring. Ahead of that, the Monolith Cocktail is premiering the brand new video for the “journey into a maelstrom of memory” imbued ‘Anadolka’. The duos take on a Balkan classic merges Yugoslav pop-rock with the sound of the long-necked Ottoman tanbur and electric saz and the plaintive lyrical poetry of Bosnia’s Serbo-Croatian dialect to produce an almost shivery, frayed and haunting malady.

The Romanian film director Andra Hera created the video for the reimagined ‘Anadolka’. She has this to say about the visual narrative:

“A contemporary poet is haunted by the spirit of a beautiful woman from the Balkans. He chases her shadow while visiting an old lonely house, by the side of a desolate lake. Wintertime brings memories of a past saturated with desire, with a guilty love that is on the edge of tearing apart an old friendship. A visual poem, in which the layers of time melt. In the end, the observer is the one who is observed.”

Balkan Taksim breath life into an ancient Balkan psychogeopgraphy, creating an often-entrancing atmosphere that weaves those Slavic traditions and yearnings with an amorphous soundtrack of electronica. Experience that mood music now with the première below.

Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog monolithcocktail.com For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/monolithcocktail to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

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