Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Kal

  • Kal [Asphalt Tango, 2006] ***
  • Radio Romanista [Asphalt Tango, 2009] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Kal [Asphalt Tango, 2006]
Roma guitar-violin-accordion postmodernists whose emotions translate better at higher speeds ("Dvojka," "Obrenovac Boogie"). ***

Radio Romanista [Asphalt Tango, 2009]
Guitarist Dragan Ristic is a Serbian Roma impresario-bandleader-propagandist whose preservationism is proudly mongrel in the great Roma tradition. Where Kal's 2006 debut was beefed up by guest instrumentalists and vocalists, the follow-up showcases Ristic's seven-piece "Rock'n'Roma" touring unit, which is less full, but peppier. I'll take the tradeoff--try sitting still for the kickoff "Krasnokalipsa," the DNA-altering "Romozom," or the bitter-in-translation "Ding Deng Dong." But I could use more input from the likes of Serbian rapper Marcelo at the start and Serbian sister Jelena Markovic at the end. And I still wish Ristic sang not just in Romany, Serbian, Spanish, and French, but English, dammit. Hey, over here! We're the superpower! Aren't we? B+