OMFO Trans Balkan Express

Could German Popov be the Señor Coconut of the Balkan states? Our Man From Odessa — OMFO for short — is armed with a trusty 808, a vocoder and lots of digital synths to create a disc that is both entirely sincere and a freakin’ riot at the same time. One could imagine these ultra clean digital versions of traditional and post-modern Balkan sketches being PSAs on a state run radio station or a floor-filler in some breathlessly hip Brooklyn club. Certainly the robo-disco beat, accordion, and "I Feel Love" chord progression that comprises "Tixi Rock" will make you rush to your old Lowry organ to bang out a few electro-folk tunes of your own. The title track, as you may have guessed, is an homage to Kraftwerk, complete with a chugging train noise that sounds like it was a stock sound on a DX7. I've yet to hear a neo-electro album that so successfully balances the robotic fun of drum machines with such inspired songcraft. It’s not all whimsy though — "Cucoo Dub" is one of the great dub tracks so far this year. This is the opposite of the Six Degrees style of fusion — stiff rhythms, tongue firmly in cheek, not at all sultry — but it’s a totally unexpected success by sticking to a game plan and deploying it for all it’s worth, like Greece winning Euro 2004. (Essay)