Basta Mafia! - Zdob si Zdub
What remains of the former Soviet Union is more than just a grim reminder of communist oppression. There is an essence of trashy retro chic that can be found in the sharp reliefs of propaganda iconography, the reconstructed ideals of western capitalism that are just a shade off the mark (remember Cold War era Skoda and Lada automobiles). And, then there is the modern day renaissance of punk and alternative rock, which literally was born underground on knock off guitars, listening to bootlegs of recordings that were rocking the free world. The results are quirky, unsettling reflections of the cooler side of contemporary music that command more conscious than passive listening. Zdob si Zub began life very successfully as a ska rock band from Moldova, one of Eastern Europe’s poorest countries to emerge from Soviet decline. Years of hard touring in the wake of that fall built them a fan base of 160 million people and toughened their skins to survive the spurious underworld economy that filled the vacuum. Like David Bowie, Iggy Pop, U2 and so many western acts before them, Zdob si Zdub recently decided to cut bait and go to Berlin to record, a city hinged on East and West cultures, uber-cool and fashion forward. Working with Marc Eisner and producer, Andy Shuman., the band pooled the influences of Berlin, the long road behind them, and the vision frontman, Roman Iagupov had in mind for the creation of their new sound and subsequent album on Asphalt Tango Records called Basta Mafia (a reference to the current black market steering music and so many industries in the former USSR). The title represents an ironic statement of parting with the old ways and forging the new. But, there’s that inherent quirkiness that even a German make-over can’t altogether mask. Deep-seated Gypsy traditions of rhythmic guitar and horns are not denied in ZDob si Zdub’s new material. Neither is the Slavic fondness for poetry, which provides strong purchase for the experimental compositions to hang onto.The album closer, So Lucky was Zdob si Zdub's entry into the prestigious Eurovision Song Contest. The disc is also a great silver anniversary addition to Berlin-based Asphalt Tango’s impressive library of signings which of late, includes Kal, Ersatz Musika, Kottarasky, Motion Trio, La Cherga and of course, Fanfare Ciocarlia; artists representing much of Russia and Eastern Europe and pioneering the evolving nature of an exciting genre. Experience Asphalt Tango artists on worldbeatcanada radio.