Polish Group Kroke Out with “Ten”
The Polish group Kroke’s nine tracks of Ten (Polish for “this”) contain surprises, mood swings, ethereal settings and energetic dance music. The drums—the boxy Peruvian cajón, the jug-like Nigerian udu and the Middle Eastern darbuka, or goblet drum—represent the world. The violin, viola, winds and balalaika are rich, sometimes bursting at the seams with passionate solos and sometimes enhancing the background subtly but distinctly.
The rhythms fulfill our expectations yet stay a step ahead of us. The opening track and song “Joy as it is” are in a lively 7/8 meter; the latter has a big-band feel that gives way to otherworldly electronic sustained sounds. “Passacaglia for 3” is a minor-key tribute to Pachelbel’s canon, with barely contained arioso strings and a Jewish-style niggun. Other pieces contain whimsical intervals and lovely balalaika patterns.
The final track is a mesmerizingly rousing folk dance with wailing instruments and singing that fades out, leaving us wanting more. Oriente Music (oriente.de).