Second Album on John Zorn’s Tzadik Records – February 2011
“This [is] a fiery and soulful CD that you will listen to again and again. Intense new Jewish music from this exciting quartet of young rebels. – John Zorn
Coming off a critically acclaimed and highly successful debut on Tzadik records, Pitom continues to evolve the unique brand of music they call “punkassjewjazz” with Blasphemy and Other Serious Crimes, their second release for Tzadik. Composed by bandleader and guitarist Yoshie Fruchter as a sonic homage to the Jewish day of repentance, Yom Kippur, the music is an intense exploration of the mental and spiritual intensity associated with this holiday.
“On ‘Pitom’ (Tzadik), guitarist Yoshie Fruchter mixes grunge, jazz, Zappa, noise-rock and a dollop of surf music with Jewish modes and scales to create a loud, raucous album full of noise and virtuosityŠ A dazzling debut.” – Jim Fusilli, Wall Street Journal
Produced by Pitom bassist and virtuoso noisemaker Shanir Blumenkranz, Blasphemy takes the band into a deeper, darker and heavier territory – showcasing their penchant for gut-wrenching grooves, while never letting go of their catchy melodic phrasing. Like the Melvins, Nirvana and other bands of the late eighties/early ninteties punk/grunge era, this record is somber and full of angst, but with an underlying stream of wistfulness and humor.
Blasphemy builds upon their debut album’s mix of jazz, surf, rock and other genre bending tunage, bringing a more heavy rock and metal into the mix to engage with the Jewish Day of Atonement. Connecting with his cantorial heritage, Yoshie Fruchter’s compositions are thematically organized to reflect the inner battle and emotional rollercoaster of repentance and religious identity.
The band retains the same powerhouse lineup from their first and self titled album for Tzadik, including Fruchter, violinist Jeremy Brown (Frank London, Margot Leverett), bassist Shanir Blumenkranz (Yo-Yo Ma, Anthony Braxton), and drummer Kevin Zubek (Satlah, Lemon Juice Quartet). On this second album, Fruchter’s guitar sound is bigger and heavier and Brown incorporates more of the deeper, low register squonks of the viola in addition to his soaring violin cries. Zubek and Blumenkranz, a tandem since the mid-nineties with an incredible creative rapport, create a huge bottom end for the angular and hooky compositions.
In Hebrew, Pitom means “suddenly,” and the music delivers what the name conveys. The songs on Blasphemy and Other Serious Crimes are powerful and intense, but with dips and dives in dynamics and expression. The Jewish influence is subtle, but not to be diminished. Yoshie’s background as an observant Jew, and his deep appreciation for his religion’s music and culture manifests itself deeply throughout the album. One onlooker at a recent Pitom performance noted that Yoshie’s rocking back and forth intensity behind his guitar is reminiscent of a Jew swaying and praying with fervor on Yom Kippur. It is this seriousness, combined with a tongue-in-cheek compositional style and sound, that sets Pitom apart.
MEMBERS OF PITOM
The four members of Pitom come from varying backgrounds, but join together in their desire to make thoughtful and groundbreaking music. Bassist Shanir Blumenkranz has been on the avant-garde scene in New York for over 10 years and has collaborated with a plethora of artists including Ravi Coltrane and John Zorn himself. He is known for his unique sound and inventiveness on both the electric and upright basses.
Shanir’s longtime rhythm section cohort is Pitom drummer Kevin Zubek. Kevin is also a veteran of the downtown scene and played alongside Shanir for the Lemon Juice Quartet and the critically acclaimed Tzadik artist Satlah. His extremely loose but bombastic style is reminiscent of Elvin Jones, and the sonic intensity of Pitom’s music makes use of his energetic playing. Violinist Jeremy Brown is a relatively recent transplant to the New York scene from St. Louis, but he has since become a regular of the klezmer, bluegrass and experimental circuit. His smooth and yet raw acoustic tone is a perfect and unexpected complement to the electric madness that is Pitom.
Founding member and guitarist/composer Yoshie Fruchter is a new member of the downtown music community, but he is quickly making his mark. Born into a cantorial family, his jazz training combined with his weekend job playing Hassidic weddings gives his guitar sound an intentional but yet out-of-control flavor. Yoshie first began his guitar studies like most 13 year old boys – armed with a tape recorder and a bunch of Zeppelin albums. When he reached college at the University of Maryland, he studied a more traditional jazz approach and got his BA from the music school there. It was also then that he discovered and developed a keen interest in the avant-garde. His deep love for Jewish music and his need for sonic experimentation have led him to create Pitom, which serves for him as a connector of these elements.
Visit http://www.myspace.com/pitom for more details!
..:: SOURCE: BKMusic PR.com ::..