A savvy Balkan record with strong commercial appeal. Once again, Shantel’s bravery...
Robert Jackman 2007
It’s impossible to ignore the soaring resurgence of Balkan music. Only a dwindling few could turn their backs on a movement which has persuaded European DJs - a breed famed for their unshakable faith in the synthesiser and the mullet - to swap their techno vinyls for fresh, gypsy-influenced flavours.
Germany’s DJ Shantel is perhaps the most well-known of the Balkan converts. In interviews, Shantel, a former fixture of Germany’s techno scene, details his musical change of heart with a candidness normally reserved for support group meetings.
He speaks of his frustration at years spent slavishly feeding Berlin’s timeless appetite for techno, and how it was when he turned his attention to the music his grandmother had been so fond of – the distinctive sounds of the Bucovina region – that his music found a new direction.
Merging the anarchic energy of gypsy music with the reliable pulse of techno, Shantel’s Bucovina Club project was a notable success, storming Europe’s dancefloors and scooping the ‘Club Global’ award at last year’s BBC Awards For World Music.
But, ever the enemy of complacency, Shantel’s latest project waves a fond farewell to the Bucovina sound. Bucovina Club was, at heart, a techno record. Its goal was simply to make us dance. Disko Partizani has more sophisticated aims. It’s a record which sees Shantel explore the true spirit of Balkan music, revelling in its emotional ambivalence and inquisitive flair.
A savvy Balkan record with strong commercial appeal. Once again, Shantel’s bravery has been rewarded.