Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Chabad Public School Principal

I don't usually post things that are not related to JM but I got this on my email and it's really amazing.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Gabay's Omar Dovid Review

I bought my copy of Omar Dovid two weeks ago in Gal Paz and I finally got the time to review it. Chaim and JBlogmeister also posted reviews, which I read after writing my review. So I know I'm late this time, but here we go:

Hagomel is a mess, but somehow it works and comes up together as a cool and exquisite song, composed by "Da Man" Yossi Green. Sometime ago Shlomo Simcha showed me YG's song database in his pocket PC and each song was categorized as rock, ballad etc.. but a few were labeled "Yetzirah", which means "novel". Hagomel is surely that kind of song. The musical sequencing is a bit obstructive, but it's a valid "shtick" and it makes this song stand out. *****

Boruch Levine is very good at slow songs but somewhat weak in fast songs, so I was surprised to see Gabay placing V'koreiv as the first fast song in this album. It took me a while to "absorb" this song, since I first felt the lyrics don't really fit in the song, especially in the second part of this song. It's not a bad song, but if you are getting a song from Levine get a slow one. ***

I first heard from Elimelech Blumstein in Shloime Dachs last album, where he composed a breathtaking Shema Yisrael. Dachs is in a sharp downward slope, so no one bothered to hear it (besides me I guess). Well, Blumstein wrote another great song, but this time to Gabay, who is very hot now. Birchos Avicha is very original and it gives us a chance to hear Gabay's great vocals and energy. In 5:10 Gabay throws in a Shwekey-style shtick and the child soloist is good, specially in the harmony (see 5:25). *****

Yimloch to me is a pointless faux-Sephardi song - too simple, too typical - and the choir has a Chassidish sound (reminds me very much Gideon Levine's choir) that doesn't fits in this song. *

The Chassidish choir fits perfectly in the next song, Omar Dovid. The vocal arrangement is great and syncs really well with Gabay, who did an outstanding job. This song is not for any singer and Gabay delivered it. His harmony in 3:35 is very, very tasteful. *****

Don is a complicated song. Actually, very complicated. The concept of this song is the repetition of the word Don, which is mentioned countless times throughout the song. The problem is that Efraim Mendelson came up with a hit song named "Don" back in the day with the exact same idea and sound. It's too much of a coincidence to me. *

I heard Avi Kula's album, which was released sometime ago with Shloime Dachs and Ari Goldwag as guest singers. I like his music and although the lyrics of Rachem are not original the tune is nice and it's this album's Yeshivish song (of course, as we all know every album needs a "Sephardi" and a yeshivish song..). It's a good song for Moshe Roth's choir, but it will never become a hit. ***

Zaroh is composed by Waldner, who is usually better at slow songs. But this song is really good, actually one of my favorites from this album. Everything is well done, starting with the great arrangement from Rigler (my favorite arranger) and the boys choir really fit in the first part. The high part is very catchy and Gabay is just great at energetic songs. And I’m happy the Chassidish choir stayed away from this one.

The Letter, as the name notes (duh!), is a letter turned in a song. It’s not easy to compose a song like that, so kudos to Waldner. ****

In the very beginning of Tanna there’s a radio shtick, which is a blatant copy from Yeedle’s Boruch Habointro. Aside from that, Blumstein finally brings us a great fast song. Gabay really excels in this one, especially in 3:08 and on (3:22 and 3:37), where he modulates to a higher key three times. Never heard that before. And the song ending is just amazing – I don’t understand why this song is featured so late in the album, it should be swapped with Don. It would’ve been a perfect song, if not for the infamous radio shtick. ****

Naguila is another good surprise and it’s sooo much better than Yimloch – why not swap it? Although the Chassidish choir sound again doesn’t fits in this Mizrachi song, the vocal arrangements are cool and the song has four parts – all of them good. I really wonder who arranged this song (it’s not credited), since there are two cool things. First, the arrangement in 0:58 and 1:40 is really similar to Ricky Martin’s hit song La Copa de La Vida. Secondly, there’s a jazz digression in 3:25 – yeah, a jazz digression in a Middle-eastern song! Nice! ****

Conclusion: It’s a fun album. The production is way better than Gabay’s first album and the songs are original (the tune and the lyrics). Blumstein comes out as a great slow song composer and Gabay once again proves why he’s one of the hottest singers in JM today. Great songs, great energy and great production. It's one of the best albums in the last months, that’s for sure.

The Stars - What do they mean?

* = don’t bother listening it
** = below average
*** = nothing special, but not bad
**** = original, worth of note
***** = superb

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Pruz's Purim Video

I saw this video on Gruntig.

A great clip from one of my fav singers, Pruzanski. When will YG produce an album for him?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Purim Sameach!!

While visiting my cousins today I had a chance to check out their exquisite Purim costumes. No one can beat these!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Introducing Y-Love

"Using hiphop to elevate, not to tranquilize", that's Yitz Jordan motto. I mean, Y-Love. Wondering about the weird name? Here's his explanation:

Cels-1 initially gave it to me. When we very first went on stage together in 2001 we went on as David Singer and Yitz Jordan and I was like “we can’t go on like that and you already have Cels-1,” because he had already been doing reggae under that name. So I was like “well what am I going to be?” and he was like “oh, well you’ll be Y-Love.” And I was like “Y-Love? Why Y-Love? Why not Y-Murder or Y-Thug or Young-Y or something? Why does it have to be Y-Love?” And he was like “nah, it fits you, just stick with Y-Love until you come up with something better.”

I was not familiar with Y-Love until I read an interview just days ago and I then suddenly realized that there's a lot of buzz around him right now. Check out his slick MySpace page, Twitter page and his official website, where you can hear some full songs featured in his album This is Babylon ("because this world has become like Babylon - confused"), which is coming to stores in April, but already available in iTunes. The guy who produces Timabaland's videos is in charge of Y-Love's video clip, which will be out very soon.

With songs like Mehadrin Rhyming and Purim Freestyle, Y-Love has a mainstream message, very much in line with Matisyahu's, but instead of Reggea Y-Love is the Hip-Hop man. To be honest, I was quite intrigued with Y-Love's rap music, which mixes rhymes from Hebrew, English, Yiddish and (yes,) Aramaic. He is talented but it remains to be seen if he will fly high like Matisyahu.

Since Purim is almost here, it's worth it to check out the Purim song in Y-Love's MySpace page. I didn't find a way to link it directly, but it's easy to find. It's a great song.

Y-Love just wrote a post about his experience in South by Southwest Festival 2008 (SXSW). Oh, and he also has his own blog. The guy is all over the place.

What you all think?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Few Words on the 8th Note

I just checked out 8th note's official website and it's possible to get a feel of what this project is all about. I will not write a review of it but I will however point out some of my impressions.

Firstly, this album has been cooking for a while and that's one of the reasons why Anovim, originally featured in Hasc years ago, was not released until now - YG knew it was a hit song and he wanted to record it himself. YG's previous album Shades of Green wasn't a hit so I guess he veered to different direction in this album - new songs, guest singers and modern arrangements. Good thinking.

The highlights in the 8th note are the creative lyrics and the exquisite arrangements. Layehudim, the first song, is a great example and YG plays with Chazal's words mixing in quotes from another passage ("Ein Lonu Oiro Elo Torah", which is probably a quoted from the Medrash on the Tehillim - "L'David Oiri V'ishi"). Very few mainstream composers venture to modify the Chazal's original quotes and that's one of the reasons why most of them are running out of original lyrics. All the songs in this album have unique lyrics that generally fit in the tunes, which is remarkable and quite unusual these days.

Since I fail to get the connection between YG and Chaim Israel, I was surprised to see they have a song together. As far as I know, Chaim Israel never sang a YG song in his albums and sings for a different public. But I'm happy to hear they are working together as Chaim David has quickly become one of the hottest singers today.

There are other surprises - someone called Moti sings with YG in Al Todin. Who's Moti? And Mo Kiss, who made the arrangements in Pruzansky's Pruzbul, also sings a song. I never heard Mo Kiss singing a solo, another surprise. And AKAPella, yes AKAPella, was zoche to sing the album's title song 8th Note. Why AKAPella?

Which leads to my question - how come YG didn't manage to invite Shwekey or Kol Achai (they have a quite strong fan base and YG has composed for them back in the day) or Pruzanski or Spinner(!) to sing in the 8th Note. I think they would lift the songs to a higher level, as they are more experienced than Moti and Mo Kiss.

And of course, Avremel Fried sings a Moshiach song. I know Fried has a special thing for songs of Golus and Moshiach but that's becoming a cliché - every single time he sings a song we already know what's coming... A change is good for life and even better for singers!

All in all, I'm really excited to hear this album in its entirety, and I hope to post a review shortly after the album is out for sale here in Israel.

UPDATE: The album will be out in 10-15 days, just in time for Purim (very fitting, as the first song is Layehudim). What's pretty cool is that there is a 40 page digital booklet featuring a note from YG to every guest singer and what was the inspiration for each and every song. I think this will be the first mainstream JM album with a digital booklet (Matisyahu had one in Youth..) Speaking of Matisyahu, YG wrote the reggae song for him but Moti and Shalom had to sub Matis as he is in contract with Sony. It's a pitty, it would be wild to see Matisyahu singing in a mainstream JM album. Maybe Sony would then hire YG? :)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Purim Vid from Menachem's blog

This is to be found in Menachem Butler's blog, I posted here to those of you who haven't seen it there. Great!!

I'm Still Here

"Got an opinion on the lipa ban? A gabay review? Where have you been?

I have been away from the blogging world on the occasion of my wedding, which took place a few weeks ago in Israel. I will be back very soon.

While I was away there was the Lipa hack, which I have no interest in. Yeah, it's stupid.

I haven't heard Gabay's album, but I will buy it when I have a chance - I'm not sure it's yet out here in Israel. But the album I'm REALLY looking forward to is Yossi Green's 8th Note. Eli Shwebel from Lev Tahor sings a song there and he told me the CD is unbelievable.

Stay tuned


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