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Everyone loves a good transition. So after the review of the mythic (Mythic Sunship) let's move on to the mysterious:

THE MYSTERY OF THE BULGARIAN VOICES feat. LISA GERRARD - Shandai Ya / Stanka (12" EP) (2020)

The comeback album and Prophecy Records debut of the legendary folk music choir The Mystery Of The Bulgarian Voices, "BooCheeMish" was undoubtly one of my favorite records of 2018. (Same goes for their magical concert in Hamburg.)

This new release however is not yet the successor of that album, but rather an appendix, since it mainly features already familiar pieces, partly in alternative versions, and only very little completely new material. And with that we already have the central point of critique; exchange one or two of the older tracks with new compositions and this EP would clearly have a better balance and higher relevance.

But let's go through the seven tracks:

"Shandai Ya" with guest singer Lisa Gerrard (Dead Can Dance) is quite close to its known version, yet some delicate vocal and instrumental details were added. Nice touch, but if you're not listening too analytical you might even miss the differences, so this is good, really good in fact, but not at all essential.

"Stanka" has a greater emphasis on the choir, which is more remarkable.

The highlight of side A however is "Zaidi Sluntse", the only completely new track, which is a pure collaboration between the choir and beatboxer SkilleR, without any instrumental backing besides that. An exciting mixture of tradition and modernity.

I'm not a friend of radio edits. And I'm especially not a friend of radio edits of already short songs. So while "Mome Malenko" is of course still a joy to listen to, you don't need this if you already own "BooSheeMish". This goes even more for the last EP track, which is just the original version of "Shandai Ya".

But before that there are two more tracks, which add a lot more to the release. "Rano Ranila" is quite different from the original, with the folk band being - I daresay - more "funky" and generally much more in focus, even featuring a prominent solo.

"Rite Of Passage" finally is a live recording of a Lisa Gerrard solo composition and probably the most successful showcase of all the astonishing skills and that unmistakable magic this project brings to the table.

The Mystery [...] feat. Lisa Gerrard live in Hamburg 2018
All in all I cannot really give a final advice whether you need this EP or not. Especially if you already know the previous album you might skip this for the mentioned reasons.
And even for new listeners who want to experience this astonishing, otherworldy music for the first time "BooSheeMish" still remains the better choice.

On the other hand those bits of new stuff are really something and I don't regret at all to have "Shandai Ye / Stanka" in my collection now.

The vinyl quality also gives no reason to complain and the artwork certainly once again is beautiful. 

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