heichal disk 88 298.
(photo credit: )
Vintage Chabad Melodies 2
Based in Rehovot, the Heichal HaNeginah organization is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of meditative Hassidic niggun chants. The group's latest recording, Vintage Chabad Melodies 2, features performances by accomplished young vocal soloist Doodi Hertz, violin soloist Bordechai Brodsky, the Boys' Choir of Chabad in Rehovot and a full mini-orchestra.
Mordechai and Liba Brodsky's arrangements are relatively string-heavy and schmaltzy, but they remain true to an authentic niggun feel. The vocalists showcased on the collection occasionally sound whiny, but they are impressive in their control and range nonetheless. The album is the product of a studio session - it's not an ethnographer's field recording - but this is the first time that many of these melodies have been captured.
"And I will Pour Out for You" and "Rehovot" feature upbeat refrains, but for the most part the melodies heard here are down-tempo. "Modeh Ani" (I Thank), traditionally chanted by Jews upon waking, uses sweeping strings and pounding piano chords to heighten its drama and majesty. "The Ancient Niggun," which is generally attributed to Chabad's founder, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, is given an impressively tight two-part harmony here.
Shloime Kaufman's latest album features typical Hassidic pop with the addition of some reasonably funky rhythms. Drummer Shmuel Zeigler's contribution is especially noteworthy, with the young musician varying syncopations over the course of individual songs.
Emes is not especially creative lyrically, with simple couplets tediously repeated over and over on each track.The album's melodies are pleasant enough, but they aren't particularly catchy. "V'ashiva" combines rich vocal harmonies with a laid-back feel, but "Modeh Ani" opens with a very cool slapped-bass intro only to deteriorate into cookie-cutter pop. "Yigdal" is the cheesy flute- and piano-driven ballad that closes the album.
Ben Jacobson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.