Meridian 68 DagaDana Karrot Kommando It might well constitute cliche, but anyone disputing the simile that says the 21st-century music scene is like a global village should check out DagaDana’s Meridian 68. The fact that the title of the fourth album from a popular east European band that’s an amalgam of Polish and Ukrainian music and musicians alludes to an exchange with a collective in China speaks volumes about the cross-cultural collaborating that’s de rigueur.
The 68th meridian happens to be exactly midway between the places where the songs were recorded — the southern Polish city of Czestochowa and Beijing. For almost a decade DagaDana has successfully meshed Slavic culture through the prism of pop, rock, pyschedelia, jazz, classical, electronica and world music.
In its latest album the ensemble combines traditional songs from different regions of Poland with Ukrainian and Lemko folk music. The standout track was recorded in Beijing with a Mongolian band during a 2012 tour. Their combined interpretation of the Sichuan standard Kangding Love Song, a song that represented China on a NASA probe in search of extraterrestrial life, is suitably symbolic and symbiotic — and appropriately off-the-planet, with jazz-rock dynamics alongside pop hooks and pretty vocals.
Elsewhere, the singing of Daga Gregorowicz and Dana Vynnytska is filtered through voice processors and combined with synthesised instruments, trance-like bass, driving drums and even children’s toys, to hit the listener with bold and imaginative soundscapes.