Disko Telegraf

28/05/2021Romanian Duo Balkan Taksim Releases Long-Awaited And Intricately Woven Debut Album On Buda Musique

Roughly one month after we premiered the official companion video to their cinematic fourth album outtake "Žali Zare", a scintillating reinterpretation of a popular song from Southern Serbia, the Bucharest-based duo Balkan Taksim is set to unveil its long-awaited debut effort on Buda Musique. Today marks release day for "Disko Telegraf", as multi-instrumentalist Sașa-­Liviu Stoianovici and producer Alin Zăbrăuțeanu present 13 heady tracks, situated somewhere in Eastern Europe between Romanian traditions, ancient Slavic spirits and contemporary electronic wizardry. Though, of course, the variety of musical influences on this album runs even deeper. 

Recorded over the past two years in their home studios, "Disko Telegraf" is the result of a personal journey into the past, an exploration of the wide array of stories, styles and rhythms commonly pigeonholed as Balkan and very much part of the duo's own heritage. As Sașa travelled the Balkans and Anatolia many years ago, the people he met, stories he heard and music he recorded made a lasting impression on him just waiting to be revisited. The music on this album then is rooted in movement, building on a multitude of visceral experiences and eye-level encounters that would eventually take shape and find expression in this rollercoaster ride of sound.

“I remember the powerful moment when I discovered the family of the bağlama – the Turkish saz. It happened in a small town’s colorful market, in the Aegean part of Turkey. That impression made me buy a saz, later on, in Konya, the unforgettable capital of the whirling dervishes. There, people from various layers of the Turkish society tried to help me understand tiny bits of their music and customs. One day I visited a derviș and the next day a hairdresser who was playing the ney. Some other times darbuka players from various shops showed me their skills. In my spare time I was recording various sounds of the city, even the calls to prayer," Sașa vividly recalls. 

Listening to the intricately woven psychedelic soundscapes of "Disko Telegraf" is like hearing an abundance of voices beckoning from a distant yet familiar past. At times indiscernible, filtered or distorted, at times crystal clear, said voices seem to point to a possible future, where assumed difference is bound to reveal uncanny similarity, if we are able to keep the stories of our ancestors alive and present. Masterfully enhanced by electronic production and combined with mesmerising tribal beats and driving bass lines, this album will no doubt hit close to home for anyone willing to welcome it in.

Imagine sitting down to have a tea in a small Carpathian village as the shopkeeper proceeds to tell you his story and that of his ancestry, when suddenly you find yourself catapulted back in time, vicariously reliving the past if only for a scene or two. At the same time, you begin to reflect on the present and envision the near yet uncertain future, ominous but no doubt intriguing. Such is the experience we had, when listening to Balkan Taksim's "Disko Telegraf" in its entirety, immersing ourselves in its rich tapestry, guided by sound to discover 13 stories of love, life and death, of weddings, train rides, armed resistance and telescopes.

You can stream the full album below or buy it here. Also make sure to visit the duo's YouTube channel to watch the stunning companion videos to previously released album singles "Zalina", "Anadolka", "Lunca", "Žali Zare" and "Shlonak". 

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom