Various Artists

Electric Gypsyland, Vol. 2

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Like its predecessor, Electric Gypsyland 2 is a collection of reinterpretations of recordings by several modern Balkan bands -- some of the new versions are relatively straightforward remixes, while others are much more dramatic and imaginative reworkings of the source material. Unlike the first volume in this series, however, this one also includes a bonus disc that offers original, untouched versions of songs by those same bands (though they're not always the same tracks as the ones remixed on the first disc). The format and presentation of this collection may be a bit unusual and even disconcerting, but that's probably as it should be -- the same is true of the music itself, which is a wild fusion of musical styles even in its original form and is even more kaleidoscopically varied in the remixes. Check out the wild, almost klezmer-sounding clarinet on Koçani Orkestar's "Mi Bori San Korani," and the glitchy techno underpinnings that Smadji installs beneath it, or the dubwise production effects that DJ ClicK applies to Mahala Raï Banda's already faintly reggae-inflected "Romano Dance." But the album's highlight is "Red Bula," a brilliant piece of party-ready horn-based Gypsy dance funk given an even wilder setting by Balkan Beat Box. Contributions by Cibelle and Oi Va Voi are equally exciting. Highly recommended.

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