Tracks from the album ‘Last Band Standing’ now available as a direct download here
A low down and dirty skanking groove kicks off the album, a blend of Ska and Hip-Hop with a snaking clarinet melody bouncing over the top. The whole unlikely combination is underpinned by a PA bothering Bass line. The brass joins in with the clarinet and violin for a rousing balkan chorus. Later the track drops down to a blissful dub-out and then back in for the finale.
A harmonic tapestry with threads from Armenia sets up a melancholic opening. Then a cymbalom and accordion lead into the breakbeat and trumpet verse section that winds up to a big joyful chorus. This piece features the rich vocals of Angela Ward and the virtuosic clarinet playing of both Idris Rahman and Arun Ghosh.
A fat Tuba bass staggers into frenetic breakbeats and lurches off to the wildest part of the dancefloor. Oud, Violin, clarinet and horns battle it out to provide the telling hooks. Just when you think you know where it is all building to, the whole track falls into a Fellini-esque drunken waltz.
A snake-charming clarinet winds around until a Bulgarian chant takes over. Cymbalom and crisp percussion drive the groove onward through the delicately interwoven sections. This was an outtake from the first album; at that time I couldn’t get this track to work. As a computer based musician who has spent a great deal of time working with 4/4 time, Balkan music, with it’s assortment of time signatures and grooves is an exciting and complex world to experiment with. Serbian percussionist Rastko Rasic really helped bring this track to life and Angela Ward added the vocals.
This was an instrumental until very late in the day but various people I played it to felt that it was crying out for a vocal. Kerieva wrote and sung the English lyrics – a Forty Thieves first. This track is really enriched by the interleaving melodies of the various musicians involved – especially the accordion licks of Zivorad Nikolic.
Originally written with Angela Ward this was an attempt to create a track with the exciting tempo changes and big Diva vocals that I really love to listen and dance to.
The original vocals just sounded a bit too pastiche, and so Kerieva (who speaks and sings various Roma dialects) wrote an original song. The lyrics are actually very cutting – about the current plight of Roma peoples in Europe.
Hypnotic strings clothe a rusty old breakbeat from a cracked bit of vinyl found in a derelict junk shop. A creamy bastard of a clarinet lead line dances over them before opium soaked orchestration takes over.
A shaky, hand-held camera winds down the byways of an ancient, Eastern city. Our narrator is a clarinetist of charisma and unknown intentions. We are lead to a huge old building where enormous speakers are being set up amongst the pillars. The beats kick off and a mass of bodies burst in to start dancing among the rubble and collapsed arches.
This started off as a remix for an Annie Lennox protest song called ‘Go Green’ and I really liked the beats so I decided to make a Forty Thieves Orkestar track out of them.
There is a really famous old Turkish pop song with the same name but I only discovered this long after naming the track.
This is an experiment with the Reggae end of the Forty Thieves spectrum of influences – I love the almost Benny Goodman vibe of the clarinet. This also features the virtuosic Cymbalom playing of Hungarian maestro Unger Balázs