All is quiet on the Balkan front. One exception from the region is this jazzy new release from Balkan stalwarts Kottarashky & The Rain Dogs, with ten new tracks by turns, moody, bluesy and introspective – alongside some ranting, rollicking passages to boot. It is no coincidence that on top of being a musician, Nikola Gruev is a trained architect. Most of these medium to up-tempo tracks – as in his previous two albums – grow from a jaunty, contrapuntal, endlessly repeated obsessive riff – whether it be construed on the piano, guitar, trumpet or accordion – or even what sounds like gamelan bells. Around this, various vocal snippets and instrumental figures are assembled almost architectonically. No charismatic band front man he, Nikola Gruev is a kind of faceless scientist hovering in the background, assembling sonic bric-a-brac, mostly with an ethno twist. Ingredients vary from Bulgarian polyphonic women’s singing, as in “Zaidi”, to wistful kaval playing or trilling accordion. Gruev denotes his brand of music, “Balkan psychedelia”, though there doesn’t seem to be anything overtly psychedelic about these tracks, with the possible exception of the best – and most spontaneous – track “Hare Nishto”, which means “Hare (as in Hare Krishna) Nothing”. It blends bantering multi-lingual accented hip-hop vocals with keening flute in an improvised studio jam session. “This is not a schizophrenia, this is a quadrophonia,” intones the rapper off-the-cuff. “No monographia, polographia…my soul is many…”.