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Spiritual trance/guitar rock jam band Hamakor has taken enough time off from regular gigging, including a recent tour of the US, to finish its self-published debut album, The Source, which goes on sale this Monday when the band takes the stage at Jerusalem's Yellow Submarine club.
Hamakor played a few packed club gigs in New York this past December before settling back into Jerusalem for the remainder of the winter, maintaining a residence gig at Pargod Hall, a renovated performance space on top of the now-defunct Pargod Theater. Personnel changes gelled and songs began to take shape. The band recently passed up an opportunity for a mini-Purim tour in the northeastern US in favor of a CD-release party in their hometown.
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To sweeten the deal, Yehuda and Yosef Solomon of the Moshav Band - brothers of Hamakor's front man Nachman - are scheduled for a guest set on Monday.
Once a stigmatic move, Hamakor's self-releasing of its studio debut is in line with recent trends in the music industry. While major labels scramble to catch up to a world of do-it-yourselfers and downloaders, local musicians are taking marketing into their own hands. Getting signed by a huge corporation, with its marketing and distribution expertise, used to be the goal for all bands, but nowadays ambitious acts may be better off handling matters on their own: Fan buzz comes from staging noteworthy concerts in rapid fire (not necessarily only from MTV saying you're the next big thing), and consumers are often comforted to know that when they buy a CD, the band is actually seeing the money.
"It's the best way to go," says Israel Frenkel, Hamakor's manager, of the creative control afforded by overseeing one's own studio time. "It's a project rooted by the group itself and no one else."
"I was a little afraid in the beginning," admits Nachman Solomon, the group's front man, lead singer and principal creative force, "but I'm very happy with how it came out."
Hamakor's personnel roster has been in flux for some time now, with new lead guitarist Jason Reich being slowly brought into the mix since September, the recent departure of Yakir Hyman (who was drafted to the IDF) and the addition of keyboard player Benjamin "Silicon Monk" Frimmer.
A veteran of the experimental American electronic fusion jam band Signal Path, Frimmer "brings good vibes and a sound that makes us different," says Solomon, and he also anchors the tranced-out spin Hamakor puts on grunge rock. Songs combining Jewish spirituality, Nineties-style guitar pop and dance beat-infused psychedelic keyboard wash-out sequences seem like they'd make for a kitchen-sink hodgepodge, but on The Source, Hamakor proves it can pull the fusion off.
The Hamakor CD release concert takes place this Monday night at the Yellow Submarine, Rehov Harekhavim 13, Jerusalem, at 8:30. For more information and to hear samples of the new disc, visit www.myspace.com.hamakorband.