A little atmosphere and a lot of funk [pg. 24]

ABRAXAS Soundtracks Nana Known for giving a stage to young, non-mainstream performers, the Tel Aviv bar Abraxas has created its own soundtrack, a new collection of 11 unconventional songs in English (a 12th track is sung in French). For fans of this type of music, the album provides a great window into the local underground music scene. The album opens with Efrat Darky's "Fool," a bluesy electro rock number that combines simple lyrics and a groovy beat. Next up is Braad Sessions with an ultra-funky song called "Backjam," which meshes dub, ethnic beats and downtempo rhythms. Papa Project continues the chill-out vibe with "Bad Selection," a fabulous electronic dub track, while DJ Guy Gerber pitches in with his distortion-heavy, house-electronica song "Persone non Gratte" [sic]. And Haim Laroz gets things grooving with an "All Stars" remix that features splashes of beat-box, reggae, dancehall and ragamuffin styles. Also contributing to the CD is the Haifa-based J.Viewz, whose mellow "Sunswoop" offers a freestyle mix of trip hop, electronica, and nu-jazz. The Axe Gang pops up with two electronica offerings, "The Greatest" and "Tuba Funk," both of which feature impressive percussion solos. Guy Manzur's "Hey Pretty Girl" is an electro-pop song with a cool sense of rhythm, while B.Wicked proves himself a master at fusing electronic music with dub, funk and Middle Eastern tones on the aptly named "Truly Remarkable." The album's lone French track, "Comme Ci Comme Ca," belongs to Terry Poison and mixes its three singers' angelic voices with wild electronica beats. Funset, one of Israel's top reggae and soul groups, closes the set with a refreshing call to "Wake Up." ITAMAR ZIEGLER The Birds, the Sky, the Trees … All That S--- Hatav Hashmini/Itamar Music Itamar Ziegler's second solo album offers up an atmospheric soundscape of folk and rock, with components of electronica mixed in for good measure. The Israeli-born, New York-based Ziegler is becoming increasingly well-known on the New York music scene for his bass work with Brooklyn-based bands the Blam, Pink Noise, Shot'nez and Balkan Beat Box, but this album proves a welcome opportunity for the musician to focus on his own sound. Four of the collection's tracks are instrumental only, while guest vocalists on other songs include Yula Beeri, Nessa Ryan, Tamir Muskat and Rfai Malkiel. Ziegler also sings on the album, whose personal feel comes as no surprise after one learns that Ziegler recorded it at his home studio and played almost all of the instruments himself. The album mixes introspective lyrics with a compelling sound, making it a memorable musical adventure worthy of its eye-catching name.