Slavic Soul Party

There's something rather, uh, funky about neo-Eastern European music. Not funky in a Clyde Stubberfield backing up James Brown kind of way, but then again, when you combine a Slavic blend of accordion, tuba, darabouka, and clarinet with the trombone, it's hard not to smell the funk in the air no matter what style of music it is. That's essentially how nine eclectic kids from Brooklyn got together, over some beers no doubt, and put together an oddball band, Slavic Soul Party. They've released an educational mashup of an album with their debut, Teknocheck Collision. The instrumentation here is superb, and it's impressive to hear Slavic party music tweaked for today's audiences. Parts of the album rely on Balkan folk music, but there are also heavy traces of jazz and dark techno as well. The tune "Ojelem Ojelem" is one of the finest on the album, with its heavy accordion-tuba combinations and staccato arrangements. Others such as "Opa Cupa" are pure brass-band magic of the highest caliber — not only fun to dance to, but good drinking music too, if a bottle of vodka is within reach. While there isn't much singing on this record, Teknochek Collision still manages to speak to listeners with its bold approach and hilarious candor.
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Jonathan Cunningham