This review comes fashionably late, I admit. But I guess it still comes in a perfect timing, and I shall explain why in a second.
I’ve known the music of Itamar Ziegler, an Israeli musician who resides in NYC for 15 years or so – for a pretty long time.
I was fortunate enough to work in a music store when he released his phenomenal The Birds, The Sky, The Trees…All That Shit back in 2005. I remember how much of a cliche I was, pretending to be this guy in High-Fidelity, playing the Beta Band EP and selling five copies of it immediately. Ziegler’s album, was that Beta Band cd, everytime I played it, I sold two.
So when I was still co-managing Anova Music, I told Itamar that whenever he has a new album – to count me in, I wanna be a part of it.
In September 2010, Anova released Itamar’s new album, his third altogether – Memories Of Now.
I should first say, that Itamar is the loyal bass player of the Balkan Beat Box for many years now, and was involved in all sorts of Brooklynish musical projects – the most familiar is Pink Noise. Lately, the band had released a new EP that went to the top charts on eMusic. It was then that I realized that this review was not written yet. Sorry for that.
In Memories, Itamar really shows his musicianship and his rich world of influences. You can find some cabaret and theatrical elements, Tom Waits, classic singer/songwriter intimacy, groovy parts (that reveals his love for funk, as he was also a member of the hip-hop band Side Effect) blues, and much much more. This is seriously one of the most diverse, yet well focused albums I’ve heard in years.
It was an album that I kept listening to over and over and over and it was never enough for me.
His lyricism paints a beautiful picture of nature, fatherhood, joy, misery and loss. It was hard times for Itamar after loosing his father, while having a new child to the world. I guess that this mixture of feelings, between death and birth, joy and pain, can only result in such a beautiful and emotionally charged album.
His singing, falsetto voice on the verge of breaking down, is carrying the sweetest melodies on one hand (Memories Of Now), but also strong enough to point a finger on humanitarian issues and injustice (Homeland – sang in Hebrew). He plays almost all instruments and produced it pretty much on his own.
Albums like these need their time and attention as they hide layers and layers that can be first hidden to the listener, but as the listening experience evolves, the music reveals that there’s more to it then what we thought in the beginning.
Memories Of Now is a perfect album. It is one of the best albums of 2010, and I strongly recommend you to buy the actual cd, as the booklet and overall design is really beautiful and completes the experience. A true work of art. wow.
[Mixtape] Itamar was kind enough to assemble a mixtape exclusively for Small Town Romance. Check it out.
1. Tom Waits – Anywhere I Lay My Head
2. Radiohead – Morning Bell (02:33)
3. PJ Harvey – The Garden (06:50)
4. Junior Kimbrough – Lonesome Road (10:44)
5. Blond Redheaded – A Cure (14:16)
6. Sly Stone – Time (19:35)
7. Latin playboys – Manifold De Amour (22:29)
8. Fred MacDowell – When The Train Comes Along (24:23)
9. M. Ward – Chinese Translation (27:10)
10. Sly Stone – Poet (31:00)
11. Latin Playboys – Chinese Surprize (33:47)
12. Tom Waits – Clap hands (36:47)
13. Elizabeth Cotton – When I Get Home (40:22)
14. Tom Waits – Gun Street Girl (42:38)
15. Elizabeth Cotton – Freight Train (47:06)
16. Staple Singers – I’m Coming Home (49:42)
17. Paul McCartney – Dear Boy (56:19)
18. Blond Redheaded – Loved Despite of Great Faults (58:28)
19. Paul McCartney – Ram On (1:02:00)
20. Tabey Tarate – Tartit (01:04:35)
21. Sly Stone – In Time (01:08:48)
22. Arik Einstein – Asher Tiyel Ei’Mach (1:14:25)