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Dub. Bass. Neptanc. Hu.
Gypsyhouse Entertainment (Hungary, 2002)

All around the world, folk music is being reprogrammed for contemporary club culture. With Etchno, Hungarian folk music is subjected to a wide array of techno, dub, and ambient mixes by a number of underground Hungarian DJs. Despite the different styles of the represented artists, the entire CD seems a cohesive whole. That Etchno hangs together may be due to the fact that the project was conceived as a means of bridging old and new Hungarian dance music; a video included on the disc shows a Hungarian theatre/dance troupe performing to Etchno's songs, interspersed with older footage of Hungarian villagers dancing. I'm not sure that Etchno succeeds in drawing out its desired parallel; the modern dancers look like they are writhing in a dark NYC nightclub, and the connection is somewhat lost on me.

Electronica folk music seems to go in one of two directions: either directly updating folk tunes, or merely sampling folk instrumentation and voices. Most of the artists on Etchno seem to have chosen the latter route, with the DJs constructing their own original dance tracks. A notable exception would be Emil & Jana's "Kitcsice," which puts the folk song to the fore. Amongst the stand-outs are BigTeteny's Finest, Pozsi & Basic's "Valamerre," and Belga's "Paraszt." Belga's contribution begins with an uncredited fellow singing what I presume to be a folk tune, and then one hears ambient barnyard noises: chickens, and a cow mooing. The beats kick in, and the cow keeps right on mooing, utilized by Belga as a beat. Stringed instruments and jew's harp are further dropped into the mix, and the result is a hysterically clever dance track.

Clearly, Etchno is not for everyone. The project is, however, a crazy example of artists introducing folk elements to dancefloor crowds that might otherwise not think of tripping the light fantastic to folk music. Moo. - Lee Blackstone

Listen to "Valamerre" by PO2SE & BASIC

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