There are two kinds of noise in this music, which is a clean-living fusion of prog rock, jazz, and Balkan roots: Albanian, Greek, Macedonian, Armenian. One noise is astringent, the acoustic side of things, the wailing-bee voice of Eva Salina Primack in “Moj Xemile”, the riq by Phil Kester; and the other noise is moist, the jellied spread of the Hammond Organ, the indulgent stretch of a Fender Rhodes, which rawls out and takes up space while the bowed folk-strings occupy a small space again and again: they nip, they bite, they squeak. The keyboard borrows an Albanian riff and the riff goes mellow. There are Hendrixisms in “Beratche from Prespa” but the musicians don’t push hard—this is not a risky album, it doesn’t shove or twist either side of the equation, the old or the new, it’s more a meeting-place than a renovation. Compare it to the violence of the Hungarians Besh o droM, for example, who cover some of the same area— an impression fuelled by the sympathetic Hammond, coming in under Primack and cooling her sharp edges.
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// Notes from the Road
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