After his groundbreaking album "Opa Hey!" and the raw and groovy "Demoni", Kottarashky is back with album number three, this time taking us deep into a New York district called Sofia and introducing us to its street corners brimming with rock, blues, Balkan-style funk and the jazz-flavoured rhythms of late summer.
On this new album, The Rain Dogs are much more than just the back-up band of a lone sonic wizard. The crew now comprises some of the most sought-after musicians drawn from the contemporary Bulgarian scene. And they didn’t leave anything to chance when they gathered at Blubalu Studio in Sofia to record their version of a genuine Balkan-American street sound.
On the way into the studio, they picked up an authentic Sofia beat poet named Nufry (i.a. Panican Whyasker), a singer, songwriter and icon of the Bulgarian independent scene whose stories truly enrich the Dogs.
Indeed, Nufry’s haunting vocals lend The Rain Dogs additional depth and magnitude; they revel, waft, break out and move in tandem with the horn sections and raw guitar chords in a sonic space somewhere between the American South and the Black Sea.
The fruits of their work are songs such as "This Little Devil", which features lyrics about relationship woes with some help from ballet and beer. "The Winner, the Driver" even recalls the trippy funk rock of bands like Soul Coughing.
At first, "Cats, Dogs and Ghosts" sounds as if the band has set out on the road to rock ‘n’ roll. But then Kottarashky sets the pace with those tight groove collages and Balkan samples we’re familiar with from "Opa Hey!". And it’s precisely that crazy Kottarashky boogie that allows the band to capture and revel in the originality of those Balkan street fairs and festivals. It’s as if Kottarashky fills his line-up of guitar, bass and drums with village musicians drawn from his archive and thus effortlessly brings life to those concrete, big-city residential blocks.
Kottarashky was never Balkan Beats, but now he is one of the enduring protagonists of the last decade of Balkan music. To be sure, together with his Rain Dogs, he shows us why we should never stop listening to the sounds emanating from the Balkan region.
Kottarashky aka Nikola Gruev - programming, sampling
The Rain Dogs:
Dimitar Liolev - saxophone
Hristo Hadzhiganchev - guitar
Nikolai Serbezov - bass
Atanas Popov - drums
Dimitar Vassilev - Nufry - vocals (2, 3, 7, 8)
Venelin Georgiev - tenor saxophone (1, 2, 7)
Alexander Borissov - trombone (1, 2, 7)
Aleksandar Dobrev - Clarinet (6)
Yordan Geshakov - bass (6)
Konstantin Katsarski - synthesizer (3, 8)
01. Lament 4:13 / 02. This Little Devil 4:42 / 03. Once 6:02 / 04. Fuga 3:37 / 05. Folksong 3:22
06. September 3:37 / 07. Mission Complete 4:23 / 08. The Winner, The Driver 4:01 / 09. Gajda 4:32 / 10.Maze 5:24
Total playing time 44:12
All compositions & arrangements by Kottarashky & The Rain Dogs, track 4 by Kottarashky, lyrics by Dimitar "Nufry" Vasilev
All tracks published by Asphalt Tango Records GmbH