Kabbalah Dream Orchestra
Sitar Shofar Chillout? Jewish Flamenco Dub House? Electronic Bossa-Niggun? The recipe for these musical anomalies: When Jazz pianist turned chassidic Rabbi Shalom Pasternak started studying the eoteric discipline, his musical fire found a new, sacred form: Niggunim. Composed by Tzaddikim (holy men), these melodies have the power to bring the light of the infinite directly into our hearts. Mix these melodies with the stylings of Daniel Fries, whose lifelong thirst for new musical direction led him through projects of diverse styles including Flamenco, Jazz, Funk, Indian, Afgan, Arabic, Persian, and African, performances in America, Europe, India and China, and co-authorship of several Italian dance and pop hits. Shalom's heartfelt, sacred vocal melodies, and Daniel's worldly, cutting edge production have combined to produce "the hottest record in the Jewish music world today."
KABBALAH DREAM ORCHESTRA
Ancient of Days
While in Safed, global ethnic progressive pop experimenter Daniel Fries found himself spending a lot of time with Rabbi Shalom Pasternak, a Chabadnik with a special love for niggun - the hypnotic, wordless melodies of the Chassidim. Together they have created a strong suite of niggunim set to unconventional arrangements that employ electronic beats and trippy sound effects. According to the Kabbalah Dream Orchestra's bio blurb on its official myspace page, this album could fall under any number of genres: "Sitar Shofar Chillout? Yiddish R&B? Jewish Flamenco Dub House? Electronic Bossa-Niggun?"
This album is highly reminiscent of Eden Mi Qedem's dense, throbbing ethnic arrangements. But while that band draws its inspiration from the East, the Dream Orchestra's melodies are grounded strictly in Ashkenazic tradition. When it references tropical dub styles, the album even sounds a bit like the recent Matisyahu remix disc - especially on "Stone Houses" and "Kinder."
The disc opens with "Benoni," which juxtaposes traditional Torah chanting with a deliciously dirty beat, a style that returns on the piano-led Dust Brothers-like breaks of "Ballroom Angels." On "Avinu Malkenu," the a cappella intro gives way to a loungey, dubby xylophone jam that includes a soul-pop vocal plea followed by a Latin guitar solo.
The album cuts even deeper towards the end, with "In 3"'s meandering atmospherics, swirly effects, sax and didgeridoo parts making nine minutes of seemingly limitless production layers. At its weaker moments, Ancient of Days delves into less creative string arrangements (as with "Poltavision") but there are so many strong elements at play that it's hard not to love the disc.
Sep 19, 2007 9:40 | Updated Sep 19, 2007 15:23
Jewish Discs: The Best of Jewish Music 5767
By BEN JACOBSON
2. KABBALAH DREAM ORCHESTRA
Ancient of Days
The brainchild of wandering world beat pop experimenter Daniel Fries and Safed-based Chabad Rabbi Shalom Pasternak, the Kabbalah Dream Orchestra's Ancient of Days uses electronic beats and trippy sound effects to create new-school niggun settings marked by dense, throbbing arrangements. Here, didgeridoo parts, Dust Brothers-like breaks, xylophone lounge jams, Torah chanting samples, meandering atmospherics, soul-pop vocals, flamenco guitar solos and swirly effects combine to welcome the heady listener.