The letters of our thoughts are the ideas present in our mind before they come to realization . . . Thoughts that are, yet not felt . . . The words of the subconscious . . . of the soul . . .


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Reactionary Jewish Music

Life of Rubin featured a series of clips from upcoming CDs for Lag B'Omer.

One of the new albums featured was Yesod Hachasidus Regesh II - sporting the tag

It's not modern. It's not Different. (It's not even groundbreaking)

and I was struck by something . . . It would seem they were marketing Jewish Music based purely on the reactionary nature of certain elements of the Jewish status-quo.

I've touched upon what makes Music "Jewish" is an incredibly subjective thing.
On one hand chazanus plays off of Opera. Chassidic drawing upon, if not directly taking, local slavic tunes.
It's interesting to note that in the nascent days of the Chassidic movement, one of the issues the Misnagdim brought against them were the changes they made in the singing of traditional liturgical prayers.

In the snippets of the CD itself besides a few traditional 'Polish' sounding ditties, I hear heavy influences of Carlebach and bits of MBD . . . .

I do understand, that our use of these 'sources' is one that must be used with thought, and done by someone with a connection to holier things . . .
But there's something off with how one tries to market it.
Music is something that grows, it develops and changes.

Anything less then that is lame.

On a different note, while enjoying some real music yesterday, I realized how sentimental music can be. When I hear certain songs, I'm immediately drawn back to the time, mood and place I heard them first . . . or the most.

Tracht Gut by 8th Day is a direct trip to the teenage angst of Mesivta
Gelt by Lipa reminds me of hanging out in the Zal dormitories of Mmontreal
Time of your song reminds me of the hope of Adar last year in Crown Heights.

Yeled Tov Yerushaliem by Yishai Lapidot transports me to the Matza Bakery last year
Cat Eye Glasses from the 8th Day reminds me of walking down Eastern Parkway in Sivan of last year - Not to mention Fool on the Hill
Two Child One Drop by Matisyahu of my time in Peru

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Crawling Axe said...

They may as well have said: “Proud to be boring”.

I am a very conservative person. I love tradition and old things. Yet, every light needs a keli.

Jack said...

Mottel, I wrote about this awhile ago on my blog. While you're singling out (quite reasonably and humorously) a specific case, I find most adds and descriptions of albums marketed to the frum community to effectively have this message. With the exception of some of the younger, rock oriented, bands like Blue Fringe, mainstream frum albums usually declare that because the personal pedigree of the zillion musicians, writers, and producers on an album it will absolutely be an instant classic.

My sense (as an outsider) is because the value the frum community places on tradition and personal integrity, these become primary marketing messages. Describing anything (music or otherwise) as being novel or ground-breaking would violate the value structure of the community. The upshot is that frum album marketing informs folks that a new album is available and you might like it if you already know and like the performers on it. This plays well with older, insider listeners, but is a disservice to younger or potential outsider listeners. Is that a problem? For me, the outsider who wants find frum albums I'd like, yes. For the frum community in general, probably not.