passinover disk 88 224.
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A pure Seventies-style guitar-rock power trio, Yood has been making waves as the flagship Israel-based act for Tightrope Productions, the marquee Jewish music management, booking and event production outfit headed by Jonty Zwebner. Yood's huge, raw sound is anchored by the stripped-down, tight interaction between drums, bass and guitar, but it's the latter that really drives the bus. Explosive axe-man Lazer Lloyd has been playing lead guitar for years with the likes of Reva L'Sheva, Shlomo Katz and Danny Sanderson. He even released a solo album a few years ago. But it's with Yood that Lloyd is finally establishing a suitable platform for his blistery jams.
Yood's debut, Passsinover, collects some of their greatest jams, stripped down to the songs' most concise incarnations. Lloyd's phrased monster riffing carries tunes like "Deep Peace" (with its absolutely incredible dueling guitars journey), "Slave Mentality" and "Set My Soul Free." Elsewhere, the title track conveys loads of emotion, while "Lost on the Highway" and the jammed-out "Zimmie's Revenge" explore traditional blues.
Through their resident gigs at Tel Aviv's Mike's Place bar and a campaign of other club shows over the past year or so, Yood has established itself as a live band that jams extensively and furiously. To confine Yood to a studio album comprised of 11 relatively terse renditions is to do them no justice. However, Passsinover does provide enough of a showcase that it beckons the listener to track the band down and see them do their thing in person.
THE EAST-WEST ENSEMBLE
Kabbalah Music: The Hidden Spirituals
Pioneers of Israel's current Eastern spiritual music renaissance, Yisrael Borochov's East-West Ensemble has been going at it for over 20 years. Their fourth album, which has recently been re-released on the local ethnic-specializing Magda label and is available through the www.cdisrael.com boutique shop, documents a song suite performed by the group at the 2003 Israel Festival. Co-compiled by Borochov and Italian Rabbi Baruch Brenner, the suite draws from a cornucopia of traditions, including kabbalistic texts, Yemenite folk tunes, Turkish piyutim, Sufi melodies and even Breslov niggunim.
The Hidden Spirituals seems to oscillate between two modes: free-form verse chant with minimalist accompaniment and rich ensemble sing-along. The stark recitations ("God Hides," "Come My Beloved," "Rock" and more) sometimes flower into more involved arrangements, but they usually do not. As elegant as they are, these selections don't give the ear much to cling to as the CD progresses.
Thankfully, there are many wall-of-sound ethnic flares as well, including the infectious "Friend of My Soul" (which incorporates a Moroccan melody with a Polish one) and the closing "Bar Yohai" medley. At its most creative, the album's standout highlight is "Holy Holy," an interpretation of an Ethiopian liturgical piece that descends into jazz-like wind improvisation at points.
Ben Jacobson can be reached at email@example.com.