Balkan Beat Box Nu Med

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NY-based saxophonist Ori Kaplan and drummer Tamir Muskat have been tooling around the borough underground for years, performing in groundbreaking bands like Gogol Bordello and Big Lazy. But a turn toward Eastern Europe proved to be their breakthrough. With their self-titled debut, the pair took pounding brass sounds, killer guitar work, and some mighty fine beats and made one of the most groundbreaking albums on this scene. This follow-up is equally as compelling on a songwriting level and much cleaner production-wise. The presence of frenetic Israeli MC Tomer Yosef is tasteful and humorous, making the record a close approximation of their stage show. Still, studio work is key, and here Muskat's hand is steady. The Moroccan-based rhythm of "Pachima" is a swirling pastiche of Gnawa with tasteful electronics, while the clean horns of "BBBeat" frolic amidst a flurry of darbuka and drums.