Hebrew School

In the stu-stu-studio
November 28, 2007, 12:37 pm
Filed under: > Project, blog, music | Tags: , , , ,

Amidst the chaos since the waters have receded (and still waiting for that dove to come back with the olive branch), I’ve successfully built my little home studio and have begun to record new demos for the project. Monday brought the talented fellow Brooklynite Michelle Citrin (a.k.a. Rosh Hashanah Girl) to my Sunset Park abode, where she helped me with vocals for a certain traditional Hebrew song which I have deconstructed and slowed down like Derrida on ketamine.

Michelle jams out.

Housekeeping note: The blog shifts focus now as I take one foot out of the research phase of my project and the songs for my record begin to take shape.  Vinyl fans need not worry, though; I’m so backlogged with amazing music (Jewish and otherwise) that the record posts must continue…


Zimmerman in Sirloin
November 27, 2007, 3:12 pm
Filed under: food, jews | Tags: ,

So, I was minding my own business last week, pan-searing a dry-aged sirloin, when who appeared but one Mr. Robert Zimmerman (in profile).

I was thinking of putting this up on ebay and maybe getting another condenser mic, but I was too hungry…

Not to worry Mr. Bob, I’m on it. Don’t think twice.

*** This Thursday, see me perform with Nous Non Plus at the Mercury Lounge on a bill with Moby’s band, the Little Death. See events page for details.

Kenneth Goldsmith and UbuWeb

Writer, poet, critic, visual artist, radio DJ, and UPenn professor Kenneth Goldsmith– or Kenny G. as he is called on WFMU– seems to have harnessed the improbable for the purposes of everything that’s good about the art world.  Goldsmith is the founding editor of UbuWeb, a large free library of avant-garde text, images, sound, and video. Because of the marginality of much of the content, and its ephemeral nature as commodity, Ubu hosts gigabytes (could it be terabytes?) of content without permission of artists and publishers, while exposing us to amazing works that would otherwise be overlooked.

Some of Ken’s sound works:

Kenneth Goldsmith Sings Roland Barthes (13:05)
Music by The Allman Brothers
Recorded at the WFMU studios, Jersey City, New Jersey, 2006

More on co-host PennSound (I like Traffic, a 3-hour-long 1010 WINS traffic report, and The Weather)

more from Ubu:

Gherasim Luca – Romanian Jewish surrealist

Jerome Rothenberg

Yoko Ono – (film)

Janis Ian’s first record
November 16, 2007, 3:31 pm
Filed under: folk, jews, records, wfmu record fair | Tags: , , ,

Janis Ian – s/t (1967)

Another record fair find…

She was 15, having just legally emancipated herself from her parents. She was 23 when her seventh album, with “At Seventeen,” was released in 1975.

Social commentary of an erstwhile high school girl living on the West Side of Manhattan. From the liner notes:

“She listens to a lot of music– Beatles, jazz, Billie Holiday, Barbra Streisand. ‘I listen sporadically to Dylan, because I get too involved…'”

“Society’s Child”

Sadly, this album is no longer in print in its original format, and is instead replaced by a three-disc compilation of her early years, but a few original copies are floating around.

janis ian

Leonard Nimoy in The Mysterious Golem
November 13, 2007, 1:04 am
Filed under: jewish, records, wfmu record fair | Tags: , , , , ,

Jewish Radio Theater presents
The Mysterious Golem
with Leonard Nimoy and Gideon Zinger as the Maharal

Released by JRT Records in 1982 (“The producers request that this record rest on Shabbat and Yom Tov”), this is one of my prize finds from the WFMU record fair. Nimoy plays Rav Katz, the son-in-law of Rabbi Yehuda Loewe, creator of the Golem. Rav Katz (with a Spock accent) narrates to his son Chaim (with a Brooklyn accent) the story of the Jews’ persecution in Prague, and Loewe’s efforts, with a little Kabbalistic ritual and luck (and an Eastern European accent), to bring about a force that will rid the Jews of blood libels conducted by some non-Jewish residents of Prague (with Cockney accents, naturally).

The back cover states that this album was recorded in Hollywood (Nimoy), Israel (Zinger, Czech-Israeli actor), and New York (Chaim?).


Click back cover for larger resolution.

Friday show at PLNY

This past Friday night I had the honor of playing with Amanda Huron at Paris London New York West Nile. We had been playing together on and off almost since she moved to Brooklyn from D.C. over two years ago, and tonight was an exciting first time out for us as a duo.

My relation to experimental and noise music (or the various other unreliable terms it gets called in shorthand) has always been tenuous as the scenes they create tend towards a certain self-conscious bravado, particularly among the musicians themselves. This made playing at Paris London refreshing as the majority of the people there were unassumingly sociable and open to all sorts of music.

PLNY is a reasonably sized space in Williamsburg immediately abutting Glasslands (yeah, not the door with the security guard– the other one) run by some folks who live there and also have a record label called Shinkoyo. The non-acoustic performers were set up on a stage that doubles as a kitchen (good considering Myo made use of the range top during his performance).

Amanda and I had a good set; we started on drums and guitar, then flute and trumpet, and then somehow back again in 2 or 3 sections.

Myo and Caustic Castle joined up for the second set, using some creative techniques to make sound (i.e., the kitchen).

Next played Gestures, a delightfully unwieldy acoustic collective (a tuba, two trombones, a clarinetist, two drummers).

Brown Wing Overdrive has pretty much rocked my world from their start (real audio from BWO’s live appearance on Brian Turner’s WFMU show) but they permitted me no lack of amazement on this particular night.

Derek also plays banjo.

Amrita Dang, whose family hails from Delhi, Punjab, and Baltimore, played sitar and sang while she tweaked knobs on what I thought were a pair of electric tanpuras but were actually two digital samplers with real time effects.

Really, really great. Thanks to everyone who came out!

Jesus in a friend
November 7, 2007, 1:23 am
Filed under: goys, records, trayf

(No record fair posts yet, folks, but dot your t’s with this during the worthwhile wait:)

Lisa Stolberg, Close to Home

Trayf post #2! (or 3, depending on how you count)

If you’re just joining me, simply wishing a summary, or completely mortified, I’ve recently covered:

– Artists with Jewish-sounding names, who are actually Jewish, singing about Jesus (here)

– Artists without Jewish names, who are not actually Jewish, covering artists with Jewish-sounding names who are actually Jewish singing about Jesus (here, second from last)

Clearly there’s a void to be filled here, so without further ado: Artists with Jewish-sounding names who were not actually Jewish, singing about Jesus.

I found this record at a Salvation Army in Richmond, VA.  Here, Lisa Stolberg sings mostly straight-ahead country/folk about the “joy in her life,” but on one track on this album, “Take a Look,” she mixes it up and gets a little punk / new-wavey. Dig it: