Demoni - Kottarashky

Asphalt Tango

It’s raining cats and dogs and accolades for Sofia sound designer, Kottarashky. In 2009, Asphalt Tango Records introduced us to the man, Nikola Gruev, an architect by day and musical futurist by the recording desk’s glow. The debut, called Opa Hey! took an Amon Tobin or Filastine approach in its creation. Kottarashky went into the Bulgarian countryside like a modern day Alan Lomax and captured wild recordings of traditional folk voices and time-honored snippets of melody. Back in the lab, these were disassembled and imagineered into beat-driven inventions of electronica. Opa Hey! is a brilliant record that may only be challenged on the inherent stiffness of the digital form. Enter this year’s follow-up, Demoni by Kottarashky & The Rain Dogs, which takes his Bulgarian sketches into the realm of live music with his quartet of compadres including clarinet, guitar and synth, bass and drums. One track from Opa Hey!, Blatoto, makes the transition to the new arrangement and definitely benefits from a little more swing in its step. Kottarashky is respectful of the magic that emerged from his debut and sticks close to what works so well. Once again, Demoni was produced in Berlin by Helmut Neumann and Henry Ernst who helmed the first project. The Rain Dogs are genuine collaborators, not hired guns. The band gelled around Kottarashky’s initial success in Sofia and found each other through exhaustive search and networking. As Asphalt Tango notes, Bulgaria is at no loss for musical talent, but is starving for live acts that do more than cover familiar material. Recognizing the imperative to get on stage as more than one man, head down in a laptop, Kottarashky & The Rain Dogs becomes more than a creative breath of fresh air; it’s a very practical and marketable solution that fills a void in the Bulgarian scene. For the rest of us, it’s twelve tracks of ear candy with fascinating, organic samples and twisty slices of Balkan funk and blues. Demoni, the playfully drawn red cat on the cover by artist and film maker, Theodore Ushev beckons you discover the new dogs within. Key tracks include Doctore, the erroneously titled Ungroovie and the previously-mentioned recut of Blatoto.