April 18, 2005
Ehud Manor, 1941-2005
It seems that someone in heaven is planning a big production and is short a songwriter: In the past year we've lost Naomi Shemer, Arik Lavi, Uzi Hitman, Tzila Dagan and now Ehud, too.
Ehud Manor as the deejay of the Zionist Enterprise
Rogerl Alpher writes in Haaretz:
He had a very important job and distinguished status. He was the deejay of the Zionist enterprise, the pianist in the national bar who continuously captures our hearts. A song for every national mood, with a cypress in the background and a searing sun in the sky. Thick, swaying treetops. Nowadays, Israel could not produce another songwriter on the level of Hefer and Manor. Because there is no such profession anymore. There's no longer any need.
It's not taking anything away from his talent to say that Manor imparted a certain respectability and decency, a national dimension, a dimension of collective meaning, to pop music. With a songwriter this prolific, there is no rebellion or subversion or unique message. What happens when so many songs flow from the pens of so few writers? The song in the Song Festival or the hit charts, even the hit charts, automatically receives an almost canonical status. More idiosyncratic work has a hard time flourishing in such conditions.
April 6, 2005
Ivri Leder reviewed by JPost
Ivri Lider stays ahead
By VIVA SARAH PRESS
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It's Not the Same
Ivri Lider's hyped and anticipated new album, It's Not the Same (Zeh Lo Oto Davar), hit record stores a few weeks ago. This is Lider's fourth album, and once again he's responsible for all lyrics and melodies. The multi-talented artist also did his own arrangements, and plays keyboards for almost all the songs. "Zachiti Le'ehov" and "Nisim" have already won respect on radio play lists.
Lider backs his tracks with a live orchestra, giving the songs a passionate sound that most recorded albums lack.
The 11-track release is accomplished, but not overly "wow." Nevertheless, with two gold discs behind him already (his first went platinum), it's no surprise that It's Not the Same shot up to Tower Records' No. 1 spot its first week out, and continues to hover in the Top 10.
Those who invest in this album will delight in the video clip to "Zachiti Le'ehov," and will also receive a bonus second disc - a compilation by Lider and DJ Henree. Entitled Ivri vs. Henree Fight, the disc offers eight of Lider's songs replete with fresh electronic technicalities by Henree - including new looping, meter tempos, and supplementary drum and bas
Posted by yudel at 8:29 PM
April 2, 2005
Sha! does Meir Ariel
Ariel's songs were different. They were baggy. They often ran to six minutes and more. A lot of them didn't really have choruses. But most significantly, this was one of the first Israeli records where the lyrics take center stage in front of the music.
Ariel loved the language. He wasn't afraid to use a high-falutin' level of Hebrew, often coming up with surprising word combinations and turns of phrase. A lot of the songs have a real narrative scope and you can hear Ariel's screenwriting ambitions showing up. "Errol" deals with shenanigans on the kibbutz and feels like a short story brought to the screen. He also had a weird humorous streak. "Terminal Luminault," one of his best known songs, deals with a guy who gets his jollies watching planes take off at the airport.
Post hits Hitman
Jerusalem Post's Viva Sarah Press hits Hitman as a debut with no punch:
Ohad Hitman might already have a long list of accomplishments to his name, but his debut album isn't up to scratch.
The 27-year-old offers 12 tracks on this self-titled disc that are just not fully formed. The melodies are pleasant, but nothing special.
Although this is his first full-length album, expectations were high because of his background. Hitman, whose uncle was the late music-maker Uzi Hitman, has composed songs for numerous Festigal events, and wrote music for the TV show Domino in his early career.
The Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance graduate has also participated in a number of festivals throughout the country, including the Piano Festival and the Holon Hebrew Song event.
His single, "Tagidi Lo," which is popular on the radio, is enjoyable to listen to, but doesn't push one to invest in the album.
Other singles include "Nocturno" and "Talot," though songs like the melodious "Nahar Ha'ahava" and the compelling "Tefilin" better showcase his strengths as a musician.
Will this Hitman be a force on the Israeli rock scene? Yes, most likely. He just has to let loose on his follow-up album, and give that extra zing that this one is missing.
Press Pans Pearl
Vivian Sarah Press reviews Itay Pearl's first album, Banot, in Jerusalem Post:
Itay Pearl's solo debut is a collection of mostly acoustic guitar songs about girls.
The album pretty much sticks to its "girl" theme, with the 13 tracks enlightening us about Pearl's personal experiences with women. It's sweet.
Musically, however, Pearl seems mixed up. He throws in an array of musical styles that don't mesh. As a whole, the album, feels disjointed: there's jazz ("Avraham V'Ibrahim"), folk ("Ben Kechol Habanim") and acoustic rock ("Kol Hatovot Tfusot").
Moreover, background voices and laughter give the bizarre sensation that the music was perhaps recorded in an amusement park.
Pearl is definitely talented, but he's just trying to do too much on this debut album. The Safed-born musician not only wrote and composed the music and plays guitar, but also produced almost the whole album. He fine-tuned his skills at the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University.
This isn't the last we'll hear of him, but hopefully his next release will be more cohesive.