Compact Disc: Ark21 168 850 032 2
By Srajan Ebaen
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Genre: Trance/Ambient with Hassidic and
other Middle-Eastern vocal samples
Do you recall Brian
Eno’s ground-breaking 1981 album My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, a
pre-sampling overlay of location recordings that mixed up radio talk-show
hosts, Lebanese wilderness singers, preachers and exorcists, Egyptian pop
and Sufi chants over endless tape loops? Did you dig the much more recent Deep
Forest trilogy, Aral, or the output by Delirium or Enigma?
If so, onethreeseven walks your beat in a very contemporary style.
Erran Baron Cohan’s Hassidic heritage and love of Jewish cantors and
Arab muezzins joins forces with Andrew Kremer’s background in the British
acid-jazz scene to produce an album that mixes sacred vocals by the likes of
Zahava Ben, Abdel Kadeer, Oum Kalthoum, Moshe Koussevitzky and Moishele
Soorkjies with Hip Hop, House and Dance Club beats.
Zohar’s self-professed mission is not to
peddle the religious opium of the masses to unsuspecting music lovers that
happen to cruise down their pulsating music alley looking for a quick Club
House dance fix. Zohar simply hopes to present the vocal richness of
traditional Middle-Eastern song that, to their ears, transcends much of
Western Pop in dimension and emotional weight. With respect for the source
material and an expert touch for underground beats, you arrive at tunes
that, minus the dedicated voice, could appear on something like Natasha
Atlas’ most recent and very happening Ayeshteni [Mantra 1024] - not
frenzied or coldly techno, but simply solid grooves, subwoofer-territory
bass lines, re-mix sensibilities and a goodly dose of spicy foreign-ness.
Not a novel concept per se, but excellently executed and balanced just right
to capture an audience that wouldn’t be too likely to pick out an Ofra
Haza, Sezen Aksu, Kazem Al-Saher or Yulduz Usmanova from a record bin.