Beating the Balkans

16 11 2007

 Nuit Tsiagne

Nuit Tsigane: Gypsy Night at Le Divan Du Monde (Crammed)

Talk about cross-culturalism: It was during a fashion show DJ set in Paris that Moladavia native Stefan Hantel, a.k.a. Shantel, realized that Balkan music destroyed (in the best sense) dance floors. He returned overseas and started the Bucovina Club night in Frankfurt, to showcase the brass and percussive sound of Romania, Hungary and the rest of Arabic-inspired Eastern Europe. Just as Shantel dropped his former jazz and house tendencies, Brussels native Gaetano Fabri was spinning techno in European clubs for nine years before being infected by the Balkan itch. He created Nuit Tsigane at the club Le Divan Du Monde, and has since become a juggernaut on the Balkan electronica scene. Breaking through internationally with his beat-heavy take on Kocani Orkestar’s “Siki, Siki Baba” on the Shantel-produced Electric Gypsyland, this entire collection of remixes is approached in like mind. Being a compilation, there is a broad range of treatments he offers to various tracks. His remake of Fanfare Ciocărlia’s “Alili”—the very band that inspired Shantel under the Brooklyn Bridge—tones down the original guitar-driven tune in favor of a more club-ready low end. Similarly, his sensual take on Balkan Beat Box’s “Adir Adirim” remakes the hyper and high-pitched song with a tasteful and knowing bass. Sometimes less is more, especially given the frenetic range of violins and darbuka that occurs in Balkan music. Fabri can remove, yet he can also add. His take on the cimbalom-driven Taraf de Haidouks cut “Go East” features a reverberating high hat that’s as persistent as any mallet pounding upon string. And when he touches up Romani fusionists Kal with the blips and beeps of video games, there is something endearing to this whole process. – DB




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