Album Listening Club – Blue Eyed Black Boy discussion

Once again, this is why I love the Album Listening Club. I had never heard of Balkan Beat Box before one of our club members suggested them and this record.

Nothing. Not sure where I would have heard of them, but from listening to their album, it’s something I probably would have read about in Spin – If Spin were still a magazine, and I still read it, and it was still relevant. (Sorry, Spinners. You’ve devolved into the kind of bullshit clickbait articles and celebrity worship that I refuse to click on.)

The band itself is from Israel and consists of three core musicians, Ori Kaplan, Tamir Muskat, and Tomer Yosef. This album was recorded in Romania and from my listens has lots of musical influences from that area of the world, the Middle East and Balkan states. (Big surprise from the band name, right?)

So, now that we’ve heard of them – let’s do what we do & chat it up!


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

December 6, 2014 at 1:58 am

So, I like world music periodically. And this album is certainly that. It's pleasant to listen to and would be especially great for a dinner party, that is if I still did those. It's also a great album for hearing in the background while doing chores.

But to be honest it's a mood genre in my opinion. I have to be in a certain mood to enjoy it. And apparently that mood is when I want some background noise that I don't need to fully concentrate on. I do love all the various Middle East/Balkan influences and they kind of remind me of another group that I like much more by the name of Thievery Corporation. None of the tracks I can specifically recall or that jumped out at me. But I did enjoy listening to it the two times I did listen.

-Your Older Brother, Samreply
December 6, 2014 at 10:57 pm

I'd never heard of Balkan Beat Box before it was recommended by one of our Album Clubbers. There's lots of "world music" out there, and this definitely qualifies.

"Move It" reminds me of early hip hop, where they were throwing all sorts of styles and sounds at the tape.

Naturally, music of this sort (middle eastern-ish) will make me think of Ofra Haza, one of my main introductions to these sounds & rhythms.

The faster songs make it hard for me to concentrate on anything that needs concentrating – reading, writing, etc. I heard the fast tempos and it's like a bee buzzing around my head.

I like the chant style of "Why".

It's tough to jump right in and say that I like music like this on a few listens. It's not that I don't like it, but I'm used to certain structures and sounds. Even when I listen to music that's "adventurous," it tends to be in more Western tonic scales and rhythms. Not sure I'll come back to this much, but that's what the Album Listening Club is for! Stretching musical boundaries, by genre, artist, and location. 🙂

-Your Older Brother, Samreply
December 6, 2014 at 11:12 pm

More dinner parties! 🙂

s rreply
December 10, 2014 at 4:33 am

I had never heard of Balkan Beat Box but found the name of the band intriguing. The first track made me think "almost klezmer". Then I read Sam's intro above and thought, sure Israeli artists a little klezmer makes sense. Then I heard the more traditional middle-eastern sounds. The vocals themselves seemed to have a bit of reggae (or maybe just Jamaican) twinge coupled with some.
American and British style hip-hop. The horns definitely made me think of The Specials, The English Beats et. al. I really enjoyed the mishmash of styles.

The thing is none of the songs jumped out at me as being especially well-crafted, neither the ones using the popular form, such as My Baby, or the more deconstructed songs such as, Kabulectro. I guess you could say the kids got style but maybe not much else. I agree with Sam and August that I would enjoy listening to this as background music on occasion. I could also see this music working well in a film soundtrack to provide atmosphere. That's my first impression based on a quick listen. I'm glad it was suggested for the listening club.

December 10, 2014 at 4:36 am

Seems our club has dwindled considerably. I'm wondering if maybe we should just take a break till after Xmas/New Years. Or maybe focus on new albums. I don't know what the answer is but the participation isn't what it has been prior to Thanksgiving so something needs to change I think.

s rreply
December 10, 2014 at 4:36 am

I listened on my laptop and can't help but wonder if that buzzing bee sound would be less evident if I listened with some better equipment.

s rreply
December 10, 2014 at 4:38 am

True. It's a busy time of year.

-Your Older Brother, Samreply
December 10, 2014 at 5:01 am

Agree completely that a lot of this music would fit well to set the mood/atmosphere/place in a film!

-Your Older Brother, Samreply
December 10, 2014 at 5:05 am

New albums seem like a good idea, considering that the one of the new albums up for vote this week immediately jumped out to a strong lead. And if the group wants to only listen to new records, that's fine, but one of the things I like about the listening club is the chance to *really* listen to some classic records, or listen to some seminal records from really strong artists.

I would love to have more participation – it's not been that strong for a while, actually. Not sure what's wrong or right or if we found our core and will build from here or…yeah. 🙂 I'm open to suggestions. Maybe after this next record we take a break until after the western calendar New Year?

December 12, 2014 at 1:13 am

I like listening to classic albums but you did change the format of the club to include classic albums after the initial rollout, so it might be that that made people not be as willing to participate. I know I was a bit surprised by that but was willing to roll with it since I'm flex like that. But also I'm finding I'm not enjoying as much listening to those classic albums that I'm not particularly interested in. Also, the fact that the people who suggested them aren't participating is less than motivating to want to continue doing them.

I'm also finding this blog format to not be that great for interacting. There's no notifications of new comments which would be helpful in this process. I just have to periodically check back in to see if anything new has occurred.

I hope I'm not coming off as negative here. Just wanting to provide some constructive feedback to hopefully see this succeed. Thanks for being open to the feedback!

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