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Hope and Destruction

Eyal Maoz's Edom

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Album Review

Electric guitarist Eyal Maoz offers his second Tzadik CD with the quartet Edom in a favorable but wary quandary, as the title Hope and Destruction suggests, rattling cages and offering dire-straits themes while also taking liberties that stretch the parameters of this music no matter the specific genre, Maoz redefines what ethnocentric world fusion can be from a mean-streets New York City perspective. You could loosely call this a jam band or Klezmer fusion, but it's more jazz-rock with the emphasis on rock. Swirling motifs and densely packed melodies are pushed and shoved with a Jewish undercurrent, electronics, thumping beats, and a hardcore arrogance that easily blend into a unified whole — an instantly recognizable, unique sound. The various keyboards that Brian Marsella employs stagger the imagination, working in perfect tandem with the snaky, steely, vocal, and chameleonic guitar of the leader, evolved far beyond mere metamorphosis. Bassist/producer Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz and drummer Yuval Lion are incessant rhythm navigators, driving the band steadily without forcing them over the edge and off a cliff. It's an arresting, commanding sound that is cocky, brave, loud for sure, and not for the timid, tame, or conservative traditional listener. Though the opening track "Somewhere" is heavy and plodding, the music changes stance as the album goes along. "Tsi" is a faster rocker with processed guitar and a style that rivals the English Canterbury scene, while "Rocks" is lighter but pronounced like Led Zeppelin, with synthesizers from the sky. Crazy electronics identify the impenetrably ethnic "Messenger," and "Shuki" is downright skronky and irritatingly insistent with the guitarist answering Marsella's one-note keyboard repetition. "Shell" is perhaps the most developed piece at nearly eight minutes of summarily stomped and spaced-out music guided by whirring electronics, where conversely, "Skies" is the least involved cut in a one-note base and heavy metal head-banging mode. There's some funky, poppish music here, as cheesy Farfisa organ rolls over club sounds during "Slight Sun," then a quicker dance beat for "King" sounds like a meeting of the Ramones, King Crimson, and the Klezmatics. The dynamics of "Two" are whirling-dervish dizzying, but Edom flips the script on the closer "Down" in an atypical tender and delicate mood with the Rhodes of Marsella and the loose, Bill Frisell-like acoustic guitar of the leader. There's no doubt Eyal Maoz is in a exclusive club of post-Jimi Hendrix guitarists who include Nels Cline, Hilmar Jensson, Scott Fields, David Torn, and the legendary Terje Rypdal. Where he goes with his music next is subject to speculation, but it's likely to be as cranked up as this effort for the air guitar hero and brain-salad surgeon in us all. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Hope and Destruction, Eyal Maoz's Edom
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