Koby Israelite / Orobas: Book Of Angels Vol. 4

Album cover: Another Tzadik cover. I can't even make out what it looks like. Koby Israelite
Orobas: Book Of Angels Vol. 4

Tzadik TZ7356, 2005

61 E. Eighth St., pmb 126
New York, NY 1003
Web: www.tzadik.com

Israeli born, UK-based Koby Israelite is one of the most inventive of the current Tzadik recording artists. I was blown away by his debut CD a few years ago, Dance of the Idiots, and equally so by the followup, "Mood Swings." Here, he focuses on "Book of Angels, Volume 4", apparently aka "Masada Book Two". But, whatever the material, it is delightful. From the Link Wray twang/Middle Eastern inflections of "Khabiel," to the gentle European idiosyncracies of "Rampel" to the early Seventies-vintage heavy metal opening chords on "Zafiel" (even better, heavy metal plus mangled vocals and sound effects on Negef"), to the always-included-on-Zorn-CDs surf guitar—here on "Nisroc," this is my idea of a successfully interesting CD.

It is interesting to compare this edition of Zorn's material to the other guitar-driven Zorn CD I'm reviewing today, Rashanim's Masada Rocks. Where Madof's guitar tests and interprets similar melodies and riffs, Israelite provides the more colorful interpretations of the material. I enjoy both very much, but whenever this is the CD on the changer, I can't help but reflect what happens when a fuller band, especially one that benefits from Sid Gauld's trumpet, is covering a number such as Khabiel. The trumpet plays of the arrangement's early-electric-guitar-inflected reverb to wonderful effect. The sudden transition to piano and nonesense-syllable voice is great.

The combination of Zorn's material with Israelite's versatality and brilliance is an audio delight. It is a true "web 2.0 mashup", as it were :-). The zest with which other artists are able to create new and different music from the original Masada compositions is a lovely reflection of the power of the originals. But the result here is as much Koby Israelite as John Zorn. It is a good pairing.

Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 4 Jun 2006

Personnel this recording:
Koby Israelite: drums, accordion, guitar, indian banjo, flute, keyboards, percussion, electric bass, vocals, cajon
Sid Gauld: trumpet
Stewart Curtis: recorder, piccolo clarinet
Yaron Stavi: basses, vocals


  1. Rampel 6:31
  2. Zalfiel
  3. 4:41
  4. Ezkadi 5:17
  5. Nisroc 4:56
  6. Negef 5:53
  7. Khabiel 6:26
  8. Chayo 6:27
  9. Rachmiel 8:08
  10. Arad 3:01
  11. Terumah 8:27

All compositions by John Zorn, arranged by Rashanim.

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