Sabra Sounds

It's very rare that one buys an Israeli rock CD and is not disappointed by at least a few of the songs.

sagi disk 88 298 (photo credit: )
sagi disk 88 298
(photo credit: )
SAGI TZOREF, ELAD COHEN 30 (NMC) It's very rare that one buys an Israeli rock CD and is not disappointed by at least a few of the songs. Here's an exception. Sagi Tzoref and Elad Cohen, a duo who play, produce and compose their own music, took four years to perfect this collection. Tzoref and Cohen have worked in the music industry both in Israel and abroad, and over the years have worked together and individually. Making good music was more important than ego on this project - the two musicians clearly had no qualms about getting help from friends, with Evyatar Banai, Yahli Sobol, Assaf Amdursky, Sivan Shavit and others lending their voices to the album. So far, the most popular song to come off 30 is "Larutz Maher" (Run Fast), which features Sobol and actress-model Melanie Press. Each track here is first-class, with each artist adding his or her own touch to the song in question. It's not surprising that a number of the tracks have heavy electronic lines ("Tus Gavoha," "Mishehu Ba," "Larutz Maher"): after all, an early influence for both Tzoref and Cohen was Aphex Twin's Richard D. James. As has been the case on previous Tzoref/Cohen collaborations, the drum and bass line is stronger on this album ("Az Ma," "Kol Yom") than on other rock works. "Shloshim" (Thirty) and "Tus Gavoha" (Fly High), which features Amdursky, are also standouts in terms of production and sound. Childhood friends, Cohen and Tzoref titled the album 30 to celebrate reaching 30 years of age. Yet despite the milestone birthday and having a top-notch group of artists working with them on this project, the two are still relatively unknown. This works to the benefit of domestic rock fans: Cohen and Tzoref's album, while better than most of the mediocre local rock sitting on record store shelves, costs about half as much as those of their peers. EFRAT BEN ZUR Self-titled (Nana/imusic) Five years ago, when Efrat Ben Zur released her debut album, Submarine, she couldn't have known that her childlike voice would triumph on the alternative scene. The album became a cult hit back in 2001, and now the actress/singer is back with her sophomore offering, a self-titled album. "Avo Elecha" (I'll Come to You), an enchanting love song, was the first single off this CD, and, like other songs on the album, it's an original. Other standout songs include "Hoshevet Al Zeh" (Thinking about This), a charming song both lyrically and musically, and "Monster," a clever song with eloquent lyrics. Ben Zur penned the words to nine of the album's 10 songs - the exception being "Hayalda Shara Lenachal" (The Girl Sings to the River), which was written by Leah Goldberg. Sound-wise, Ben Zur employed the help of a number of big players on the alternative scene for this effort, with production credits shared by Oded Perach, Peter Roth and Berry Sakharof, among others. Guest musicians, meanwhile, include Karni Postal, Jango, Adam Sheplin, Rockfour and Boom Pam. Ben Zur's voice is still angelic, her songs are still anything but ordinary, and her music is still appealing. A follow-up album to a cult hit is always a difficult undertaking, and it will be interesting to see where this self-titled CD takes the multi-talented Ben Zur.