The Wire

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In Writing

Maya Dunietz's Portal into Tel Aviv's improv and experimental scene

March 2014

The Israeli pianist, vocalist and sound artist (featured in The Wire 362), introduces us to Tel Aviv's underground and emerging experimental music scene.

Mouth And Foot
Mouth And Foot are a cult group that play lo-fi experimental pop. They have released a record every six years since 1989, and live performances are rare. The trio comprises Ohad Fishof (now working as a choreographer and artist), guitarist Ram Orion and novelist Assaf Gavron. It’s essentially a concept group, using mainly 80s Casio keyboards, and it keeps on being surprisingly fresh. Their last record was released by the talented Uganda organisation, Itamar Weiner and Uri Crystal, who run a famous record and comics store/cutting-edge venue, hosting local and international music. Uganda also recently started a vinyl label with very interesting releases.

Harold Rubin
Harold Rubin is a legendary figure in the Israeli improv scene who's been around for over 40 years. He’s a poet, painter, architect (he designed some of the cinemas in Tel Aviv) and clarinet player. He inspired and mentored generations of young and more experienced improvisers. Since the early 80s he has been recording albums and performing his music in and out of Israel, collaborating with hundreds of musicians from around the world. Even today, over 80 years old, he continues to play free improvisation concerts and expand his long career as a visual artist.

Panda Porn
The electronics duo of Alma Ben Yossef Timi and Tomer Rosenthal have been around for years now. They work with many leading Israeli contemporary dance groups while doing their individual art projects. In their live sets they use reel-to-reel magnetic tapes, turntables, CD players and more to create a hallucinatory, layered soundscape.

Cassexxe Vibrato
Two women with robes give magical live performances with intense vocals, lo-fi electronics, music boxes and more. Zohar Shafir (aka Nico Teen) and Ola Savchuk have been developing their project for quite a few years now. Their sound, created with tapes, cheap keyboards, vocals and any instrument at their disposal, is intoxicating and alluring, always retaining a mysterious and enigmatic quality to it. From their early experiments at hypnagogic pop to their occult doom/black metal dirge rituals their sound is in constant flux. They’re on a UK tour later this year as part of the Tectonics Festival events.

Seventeen Migs Of Spring
Seventeen Migs Of Spring are an electronic music project from Israel. They come from the vibrant Russian punk and hardcore scene in Israel. The group built their own complex electronic instruments and were well known in the underground scenes of Israel and Europe. They released a lot of albums, mostly of their live performances, but they stopped playing live after the sad death of one of their members, Lev Boom.

Primate Arena
Hosted by Alex Drool and Eran Sachs, Primate Arena is a "nomadic freeform happening for experimental and out there muzak events (mostly in Tel Aviv), dedicated to psych, noise, spoken word, concrete poetry, avant rock, improv, post-millennia obscurities, pre-millennia obscurities, the history of 20th century experimental music and other adventurous ventures."

At times performative, at times ephemeral and elusive, over the last several years they have created a platform – central to Tel Aviv’s scene – that has nurtured a community of adventurous local musicians.

Yoav Yaakobi
A unique artist who as yet eludes the public eye. Yoav plays numerous instruments, including his computer (which he also uses to create games), invents crazy punk groups and performs with several other groups. Yaakobi created bizarre musical projects like White Powder, which you'll have to look up yourselves. He is a truly mysterious figure.


Great article! Its worth mentioning that a lot of these artists, though active now in Tel Aviv, originate from Jerusalem, and the Jerusalem scene.

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