hatziz disk 88 298.
(photo credit: )
Bahatzi Halaila 4
The leadoff track on The White Stripes' watershed 2003 Elephant album, "Seven Nation Army" is a riff-driven and energetic sing-along feedback-fest that has been covered by Metallica, Joss Stone, The Flaming Lips, Audioslave and now the haredi act Shimix.
The fourth installment in the Noam label's Bahatzi Halaila (at midnight) series is split into five sections: four extended party mix medleys followed by a theologized version of Shlomo Artzi's classic "Anahnu Lo Tzrikhim". The first section, "A Freilakh," kicks off with a chorus of "oy-yoy-yoy"'s following the melody of the infamous aforementioned White Stripes riff, while a techno beat holds the rhythm and swooshing synthesizer atmospherics generate unease. The "Freilakh" mix continues with xylophone solos, storms of canned fuzz sounds and hand-clapping samples over rapidly thumping beats and niggun-like melodies.
The following tracks are more of the same, but with slightly different feels to them: "Playlist" is somewhat more clubby and trippy, "Mediterranean" explores Mizrahi grooves, and "Around the World" borrows from pop hits like Irene Cara's 1983 theme from Flashdance. Ultimately, the experience of listening to Bahatzi Halaila must be a lot like the feeling of zooming down the highway inside a big, sticker-covered van filled with reveling, newly religious Breslov hassidim.
CRAIG TAUBMAN AND LUKE TOZOUR
The Shabbat Lounge
(Craig N Co)
Former Disney and Ford jingle composer Craig Taubman's Craig N Co is a thriving West Coast Jewish music brand name, thanks largely to its creative Lounge series. Although Lounge lost out to Israel's Idan Raichel and JDub Records auteur SoCalled for the "Best New Approach" award at September's Jewish Music Awards, the series is certainly robust in concept and flavor. Building on styles from the worlds of bossa nova chillout, trip-hop and down-tempo psychedelic jazz, Lounge has presented retooled theme packages covering Hanukka, Passover and now the Jewish Sabbath. The Shabbat Lounge opens with a voiceover welcome message performed by movie trailer narrator Andy Geller (he recently voiced Cars and Reno! 911: Miami), declaring that throughout the disc, we'll be "doin' shabbos the way it was meant to be done" and explaining that "you may want to hold on to your jacket - it's pretty chill in here."
From there, Taubman leads us through a parade of Sabbath-themed melodies, retooled to sound contemporary and smooth. Ironically, in this Lounge outing, Taubman has opted for a more guitar-anchored sound, with strumming, solos and even power chords providing the backbones for many of these arrangements. "Hashkivenu" features prominent guitar harmonies, and the very cool closing "Eliyahu" draws us in with a toppy lead riffing over ominous cello parts.
In between, the set offers three versions of (Sabbath eve prayer service centerpiece) L'kha Dodi, ranging from the always goofy Yiddish "Chiri Bim" (also sampled by real-deal electronic artists the Dust Brothers on their Fight Club score) to the sweeping "Bo'i Kalah" meditation. The blessing over the candles is treated like Eighties-era Martika, while "Dror Yikra" alternates between a hectic, punchy robo-groove and an elegant waltz. Shabbat Lounge may be more about the package than the substance, but this is one extremely shiny package.
Ben Jacobson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.