Boomkat Product Review:
From the label behind the original ‘Oramics’ CD comes possibly one of the strangest (and first) DIY records out of Israel, with Amnon Raviv’s 1983 debut ‘Mirror’ reissued from the original run of 50, finally making this gem available to the world beyond hardened record collectors
Frankly and respectfully, Amnon Raviv is a bit of a nutter. Nowadays he’s a professionally accredited Clown Doctor who makes mirth for patients in Tel Aviv cancer wards, and back in 1983 he knocked out one of the most charming and singular LPs of his day, yet you’d be forgiven for being oblivious to its existence as only 50 copies of the LP were made and self-distributed between Tel Aviv record stores. Luckily Paradigm Discs’ Clive Graham received a copy from an Israeli pal in the late ‘80s, and, after a very recent exchange on YouTube, Raviv’s seductively bonkers debut is now in proper circulation for anyone who didn’t live in Tel Aviv or have Israeli mates in the ‘80s.
Recorded between his neighbours’ chicken coop, the streets of Tel Aviv, and even in an actual studio, the results swing from fusions of flamenco guitar and violin swaddled in bubbling, underwater sounds, through to genuinely unhinged barnyard frolics and sweltering street scenes, with each part conveying highly personalised and uniquely observed scenarios. The two Flamenco pieces are equally great but markedly different, one free and full of bubbling bucolic promise, and the other ravishingly playful then head-spinningly hot and psychedelic, while the piercing tones of his 2nd piece make uncanny use of crystal glasses, guitar, and varispeed tape to connote sensations of “intense pain”, and one brilliant section features a whorl of multiple radio stations playing at once, to the most sweetly mind-bending, transportive effect, and of course, there’s that mad bit in the chicken coop, with splutters of laughter swept up with clucks and crowing cockerels and almost demonic, down pitched voices.
It’s surely fair to say after a few listens thru that ‘Mirror’ expresses the artist’s individuality in a charmingly effortless style which epitomises the fact that everyone thinks and feels in different ways, yet it takes a special something to genuinely reflect that uniqueness in any piece of art, music, literature, film etc. And that’s exactly what he does inside.
RIYL Smegma, RIP Hayman, the obscurest outsider musics, and the jouous musical explorations of Harry Partch.