Jewish Music Blog

September 24, 2005

“Yerachmiel” Ziegler – A’Hava V’Achva – Review

Filed under: Reviews — jewishmusic @ 10:52 pm

From the moment I started listening to this album, I could tell that it was going to be different. What surprised me was how good “different” can be. This album blends the divide between “soul” Jewish music such as Chaim Dovid and Soulfarm and yeshivish Jewish music, such as Shwekey. It has the solidity of yeshivish music and the originality of soul music, making it a great album all around.

The music is excellent. This album has what many Jewish albums don’t – an arrangement with a direction. As opposed to just having a band play without much thought going into exactly what’s being played, A’Hava V’Achva prides itself on originality of arrangement and adding only what’s necessary to get the point across. This album combines elements from all across the musical spectrum – from Reggae in Im Eshkacheich (Matisyahu could learn a couple of things from this guy), to country-folk intros in Ani L’Dodi, Kol Dodi, Bigdei Yesha and Siman Tov. At times, such as in Achoteinu, Yerachmiel sounds like Yosef Karduner. Many of the songs have a pop feel – Od Yishama and A Hidden Rose are the prime examples of this.

The tunes themselves, whose lyrics all have something to do with the Jewish wedding, are both complicated and catchy at the same time. Almost all the tunes use original chord progressions, which is unique in Jewish music and keeps the ear interested. There are even a couple of times where the rhythm gets complicated, such as the bar of 5/4 in Welcome the Bride and several bars in Bat Melech. Welcome the Bride also has a very soundtrack like feel, with its moving string lines. The rhythm section is very tight, and consistently has a great vibe.

The vocals are done well as well. Yerachmiel has a professional, soulful, voice. He does not “over-sing” – all his improvisations are tasteful and not overdone. The background vocals are worthy of note too. Both from an arrangement perspective and mixing perspectives, they are excellent.

The mix is just right. The instruments are not over processed, which has the effect of making the music sound live, but the mix still sounds polished and professional.

My only qualms from a musical perspective are against the piano player in Mi Bon Siach. The piano seems to be slightly off rhythm several times. Also, all the chords used are almost all add 2 chords, which feels a little overdone after a while. Additionally, at about 2:28 in Mi Bon Siach, he plays an add 2 major chord which sounds out of place in this slow ballad. The piano player should have used the harmonic minor scale instead of the major scale over that chord. Also, in Od Yishama, I fell that the piano solo is too jazzy for this all around pop tune.

I have a few (annoying, perhaps) hashkafa qualms as well. I think the words Harei At Mekudeshat Li Kidat Moseh V’Yisrael, which are the words used to consecrate a marriage, are strange words for a song, although I’ve heard worse. Also, at the end of A Hidden Rose there’s a feeble attempt at Rap(?) with strange lyrics about a husband and wife, which for a Jewish album may be inappropriate.

For more information on Yerachmiel, check out his website at www.yerachmiel.com. There is also a page which has audio samples at http://www.yerachmiel.com/audio.html.

Update (9-27-05): I listened to a pre-release version of the album. Yerachmiel told me that the last song, “A Hidden Rose”, is a “hidden” track, so the issues which I brought up for that song aren’t really applicable.

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8 Comments »

  1. Hey when are you going to review Eden’s “Break of Dawn?”

    Comment by Anonymous — September 25, 2005 @ 9:30 am

  2. does lipa have anything coming out soon?

    Comment by der blatt — September 25, 2005 @ 3:48 pm

  3. anony-

    All of the albums I reviewed recently were either promotionally provided or borrowed. I can’t just buy every album to review it – it would get pretty expensive.

    Comment by keyboardguy — September 25, 2005 @ 10:47 pm

  4. Wow, What a great review, we really enjoyed your professional input and opinions. We sent you unmastered Demo Tracks; hopefully the tracks you mentioned will sound better once it’s professionally mastered. The rap at the end of the Hidden track was done by a friend of ours who goes by the name of MC Sage, He is a well known freestyler as well as a great Rapper. Thank you so much again. Come see us at Makor on Oct 6th at 9pm Click Here For More Info

    [P.S. Whoever asked about Lipa’s new albums…I am currently designing his website, LipaLipa.com , He promised to put up info about all us latest and upcoming releases]

    Comment by Yakov V — September 26, 2005 @ 3:40 am

  5. Regarding Lipa’s new site that you are designing, why did you choose an SM58 with a dented grill to put on the page?

    Comment by Anonymous — September 27, 2005 @ 4:17 am

  6. I just didn’t want to use a picture of a Elephant Saddle 45X with a rusty pair of dentures.

    Comment by yakov v — September 28, 2005 @ 4:55 am

  7. This album does have a nice sound to it. I think that Yerachmiel has been searching for the right venue to exhibit his myriad of talents. “Hamsa boys” and “Gideons Sword” may not have been for him. This album really gives him an opportunity to showcase his talents.

    – Jack

    Comment by Anonymous — September 30, 2005 @ 12:58 pm

  8. As a musician I really appreciate that in depth review.

    Comment by Jewish Blogmeister — October 6, 2005 @ 8:00 pm


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