Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Oh!ad



Album can be previewed/purchased at Mostly Music.com

Reviewer: Gedaliah


Here is the full review of the brand new release from a new singer- Ohad Moskowitz. According to what I have heard, Ohad has had a substantial amount of musical experience. He has sung in choirs on many JM albums such as MBD, Dedi and others (I think he is also a feature on the latest Oif Simchas). In addition, he is the producer of the "Ad Alos Hashachar" Techno series. Last year, he was invited to sing at the Hospice concert in NY, and Yossi Green, (producer of this album), who was the pianist there, comments in the liner notes that the reception Ohad received was so unbelievable, he just had to work with him on a solo album. And so, a new star was born.

V'eirastich contains 10 songs all resembling the basic genre of contemporary frum music. Yossi Green wrote most of the songs, and the music is arranged by the "Jewish Music Greats" Yisroel Lamm and Moshe Laufer. Ohad's voice is superb with a high range and he has the ability to hold notes and sing at a high pitch easily. His voice reminds me a little of Dedi's, but I think Ohad has more control. Interestingly enough, many of the songs on this album are "Dedi" style. Hopefully Ohad will become a JM star, after all, you have to be pretty talented if Yossi Green hears you for a few minutes and decided to produce an album for you.. I think he has great potential. Now for the song analyses. All songs are composed by Yossi Green, unless otherwise stated.

1. V'eirastich (This song is playing on JM in the AM as I type). When you introduce a new singer you need to have a hit opening song to impress the public. Yossi Green gives us a lively bouncy disco song to get the motion rolling. (Nachum just commented that the words "V'eirastich usually take the form of a ballad. Yossi replied that since many people say these words before putting on Tefillin in the morning, the disco beat is good to wake up to. In his words "Would you wake up to a ballad?") Ohad sings the song on a high note, so we get a first "glance" at his vocal talent. The choir sings an extremely long interlude with Oh's and ooh's and some cool sax (for some 70's flavour) which goes on forever making the song last 6 minutes (that's why I'm putting the mark down by 0.5), but it's good if you're patient enough. This is my favourite fast selection and it gets a well-deserved 9.5

2. Mi Yitein. Classic Yossi Green composition which can be compared to pretty much anything else he's written of the same calibre. In this nice slow song we have original lyric choice, taken from the zemira "Chai Hashem" sung on Shabbos day. The song gets better as it progresses. The high part is infinitely better than the low, with some beautiful harmonies from the choir. Towards the end, Ohad does some incredible self-harmonies in the modulation, and ends the song on a rousing impressive high note. Favourite slow selection on the album. 8.5

3. Lifnei Mi. The traditional Lag Ba'omer niggun from the last Mishna in Yoma takes on a brand new rock tune. The electric guitar is a major feature and the tune is very catchy; I enjoy it a lot. During the second and third rounds we get to hear Ohad's voice digitally modified (one again, every album must have a shtick). The choir sounds great harmonising with Ohad during the chorus. I like this song a lot. 9

4. Ono Hashem. This is your typical slow song, and the only feature worth commenting is Ohad’s voice, which once again outdoes itself. The tune is nothing amazing so it’s sort of a “break” or “wind down” song following 3 good songs. When I first heard this song, I thought it sounded a little similar to Carlebach’s Ono Hashem, but I guess it sounds a little similar to many songs. 6.

5. Lecha Dodi co-composed by Yoili Green. Kabolas Shabbos meets Arabia in this Middle Eastern number which certainly has potential to make its way onto the next hora collection. This song is performed in Sefardi accent which adds a little diversity to the album. The intro lasts over a minute, and I’m very impressed with the music (There’s some dude named Ihab playing Arabic Violin). It gives an impression of royalty, indicating the coronation of the Shabbos Queen. You could probably picture a palace with guards while listening to the intro, or something out of Aladdin or Ali Baba. The word phrasing is very effective, with the last word of each stanza starting a new bar (Listen and you’ll see what I mean). The music is very much like “Shades of Middle East” from Shades of Green, and the tune is quite unique, as are the bass choir harmonies. Each verse starts off slightly different in terms of tune. 9.

6. Shet’rachameini, composed by Eli Laufer. Another typical slow song, but this song has more power than Ono Hashem, and doesn’t shlep out as long. Once again, voice compensates for tune, but there is no feature that really stands out. 7.

7. Ma She’hoyo, composed by Moshe Laufer. This lively Chasuna-style song could have easily been a mid-to-late-90’s Dedi hit, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is used as an example under the entry “Chassidic Rock” in the 2004 edition of “The Unabridged Jewish Music Almanac”. The lyrics are the famous words from Koheles: “Whatever has been, is what will be, and whatever has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun”. A classic example of Moshe Laufer’s compositions; the tune is very catchy (which is why I like it so much) and it seems to be fitted towards a Chasuna dance bracket (particularly the “hold hands in a circle and place foot forward every second beat” routine). Again, some very nice choir harmonies, and Ohad seems to be having a blast singing it. 8.5

8. Yetzav Hashem. Another Dedi sound-alike, this soft rock tune comes from the Brochos in Parshas Ki Savo right before the Tochacha. The first part is mamish like a Dedi song (Ohad even sounds like him when he sings softly), maybe “Chesed V’emes” or something similar to that. The chorus has a nice steady beat of which I am rather fond. The song features some nice back-up harmonies from Amiran Dvir. 7.5

9. Reb Meir, co-composed by Pinky Weber. One of the many great features of this album is that all the lyrics are not over-used, and they convey important messages. In this Weber-Green collaboration (Ohad’s getting’ lucky with all the great composers and musicians), the blessing for reward for true Torah study rings forth in a nice moderate tune (it’s closer to “fast” but it’s not speedy). The music is the basic horns and whatnot, but there’s some nice keyboard arrangements and falsettos towards the end. 7.5

10. Mispallelim. Rather ironically, the last song on the album is my least favourite. The words are important, from the tefila of the Ramban before learning, but the tune is just way too shlepped out, and there aren’t enough words to fit the melody. The song lasts 7:25, and when it finished I realised, this was the end of the album. Nothing left. IMHO, the final song has to be one that sums up the entire album and will have the listeners pressing stop, taking off their headphones and say “Wow what an ending.” It doesn’t have to be a breathtaking song, but there should be a sense of achievement. The tune isn’t completely boring, but the song should not be the last one. 5.5

In conclusion, Ohad Moskowitz has jumped out of the closet with an album all to himself, and has provided us (thanks to Yossi Green) with a brand new batch of songs, which will hopefully become hits. As stated throughout this review, his vocal skills present themselves beautifully, and he sings with an indefatigable energy that will be difficult for upcoming JM recruits to compete with. If you enjoy the mainstream style of contemporary Jewish Music, then Ohad Moskowitz’s V’eirastich is the album for you! Buy your copy today.

(Total rating based on individual song marks is 78/100)

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Comments on this review can be left below.

3 Comments:

Blogger tune_up_daily said...

I think Ohad's CD was quite a welcome breath of fresh air. His voice is unique, the songs are not too typical, some quite original, and he has great control. My only negative comment (sorry- I'm a helpless music critic) is that there's way to much high octave things goin on. He needs to somehow get some more alto and tenor somehow. It hurts my ears after a while. but otherwise, good stuff.

August 31, 2005 at 7:06 PM  
Blogger The Flying Dutch Jew said...

Is voice is good but is songs are all the same

February 4, 2006 at 12:12 PM  
Blogger Zvi said...

I have to agree with warsaw, ohad is a fine singer, but the material is more of the same mass-produced mainstream JM pseudo-disco -yawn-

note to Gedalia:

you might want to rephrase the "jumped out of the closet" line in the last paragraph. In today's shprach, coming out of the closet means publicly declaring oneself as a mishkav zochornik.

April 30, 2006 at 5:23 PM  

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