This year my band Coolooloosh was part of a very groovy night of shows including the ever famous Hadag Nahash, Ramirez brothers and Yossi Fine and the remix. It has been a while since we played live in Israel and this time we prepared a brand new set of songs which are much more hard hitting rock-hip hop in your face kind of vibe.
Coolooloosh live at Yaarot Menashe Festival, May 3rd 2013
Yuvi Gerstein and his Gibson Es-175
The special thing about the show was the collaboration between Coolooloosh and Yossi Fine. Fine is an incredible bass player and producer who has influenced us heavily as a band. His African style of music is infectious and his new group ‘Yossi fine and the remix’ is sounding great on stage.
Yossi Fine and his amazing godin fretless bass
The remix band with a fan dancing on stage
We collaborated with them on a track called Ebae and Soul (Listen) which was originally a remix made by Ori Winokur, combining Cooloolooshs’ ‘mind and soul‘ and the ex-centric song ‘Ebae‘. The crowd at the festival was very supportive, dancing all the way and we felt it was a great come back for us as a band and celebrating our 10th anniversary this year, it was a good kick off.
2012 is coming to an end this week. I’ve spent this year mostly in London, UK, working on various projects and keeping busy with loads of music productions and writing but also performing quite a bit and touring in Germany and Israel. Next year I will be mostly in Israel, building a new studio with a great producer and friend Ori Winokur (Asaf Avidan, Mika Karni and more) but for now here’s a round up of the main projects I was involved with in this past year 2012.
Penniless Cove EP – Out on a roof
“what you’re treated to is nothing short of an excellent, innovative and refreshing alt-folk fusion.” Dean Ruxton, MRU Magazine
Penniless cove was originally a duo comprised of Phoebe Osborne on piano and vocals and writing the songs and Luca Nasciuti on cello. I recorded and mixed their beautiful EP this year, recording a grand piano at Goldsmiths University, and then a lot of cello, some melodica, violin and back up vocals. The EP was just recently released and received some great reviews. the duo actually turned into a full band with four musicians (without Luca this time), which is now performing the songs from the EP and many more around the UK. Like them on Facebook.
Alex Jeffery, AKA Hello Hibernator is a singer songwriter I met while studying at Goldsmiths university for my MA in Creative Practice in 2011. being a music producer I was looking for an interesting project to get into as part of my studies. I heard some demos from Jeffery and thought they were awesome. A compelling combination of ballads and more upbeat songs with a great vocal ability, intriguing lyrics and performance. We decided to work on this project together as our final MA project and went off on a journey to complete a full album entitled ‘The leaf world’.
After working on arrangements and picking the songs, we gathered some wonderful musicians and recorded the album at Goldsmiths university EMS (Electronic music studios). The full album was submitted as our joint MA project. In 2012 we chose the four best songs in our opinion from the album and we re-recorded some bits, then I re-mixed them to be released as ‘The leaf world’ EP which was released in May 2012. My favourite song off the EP is called “My name is Jesus”. Read more about the project here, here and here.
Here is the full EP to listen (free) and buy -
Here is a little video of the production process
Working with soul singer Leslie Phillips
One of the best things that happened to me this year was meeting the wonderful soul singer Leslie Phillips. Phillips hails from Paris and based in London, she has a rare soulful voice and writes great songs as well. We had the chance to work together on a few projects, write songs together and perform them in London and in Israel. Phillips also collaborated with my band Coolooloosh, together we recorded our funky version of the famous song “Babe, I’m gonna leave ya”.
We also worked on a sold out performance at the Jerusalem theater in summer 2012. My role was musical director, writing arrangements for 24 songs, some originals and some old school classic soul songs as you can see here.
The highlight of my work with Phillips was a live in the studio video project we recently made at Offtape studios in London. We recorded three original songs live in the studio and it was filmed by a professional film crew and is now in the editing process. The songs recorded are entitled ‘Never enough”, Dans tes bras” and “Spiders”. They are due to be released early 2013.
I made this remix as part of a remix contest for the film “Man with the iron fists”. Have a listen and read more here.
Free guitar sample pack by Yuvi Gerstein
Earlier this year I released a free sample pack of guitar riffs and chords. I use samples a lot in my music and so, decided to make my contribution to the growing community of producers sharing their samples. The pack includes high quality jazzy and quirky guitar and is still a free download here. The free pack received quite a lot of online attention and was featured on blogs and websites all over the world.
Pro tools tutorial popular on Youtube
When I bought the software pro tools 10 I made this simple tutorial about its 10 main features. I don’t like long boring tutorials. I like them short and to the point. That’s how I tried to make this one. It proved to be very popular on Youtube and received over 55K hits since it’s upload.
AfroDJmac inspired 8Bit track
AfroDJmac is a cool DJ from New York, releasing packs for Ableton Live to be used by producers. A few weeks ago he released a Nintendo style pack and I downloaded it and was inspired to make this track with it, which was then featured on AfroDjmac’s blog. It’s a kind of cool weird 8bit style track with some panned guitars. check it out.
Coolooloosh tour in Germany – Mischpoke
In September, 2012, I had a crazy fun time touring Germany with my band Coolooloosh, Along with some other great musicians such as Geva Alon, Sharon Levy and the young rock band Trademark. It was a 16 day tour of the whole of Germany promoting new music and at the same time attempting to improve the image of Israel and to show that great music is being made there and it’s not just war and disasters as people see on the news so often. Here is a little video of Coolooloosh playing live with the wonderful singer songwriter Geva Alon performing the song “Until the day” -
I had a great honor of recording, arranging and performing with this new band flies+flies. The band started out as a production project by Jake Williams, producing the songs of Dan Griffis, but soon developed into a four piece band with Williams on electronics, Dan Griffis on guitar and vocals, Martin Kingston on Cello and myself on electric guitar.
Together we performed around London in several venues such as the Sebright arms, Bedroom bar and Power lunches. The band’s EP is soon to be released and a first song entitled bad crab hand. Join flies+flies on Facebook.
Producing Oded Kafri EP Street life and live performance
Oded Kafri, Street Life EP
For the past year I have been working with a brilliant virtuoso drummer names Oded Kafri. Kafri is based in London and puts on quite an amazing live show, using a massive drum kit and a drum pad connected to a laptop running Ableton Live for the backing tracks.
I produced a lot of tracks for Kafri’s live shows and also produced, recorded and mixed his latest EP Street life. The EP was recorded at Soho Sonic studios and aims to capture Kafri’s live street performance in a studio setting. Here is a video from his last tour of Europe (video which I edited as well).
What is internet anyway?
Some experimentation with video editing in Ableton Live and my fascination with the internet made me make this music video exploring how people viewed the internet when it first emerged. It’s funny looking back at it now.
Phillips has a great voice, she is also a wonderful songwriter and we have been working together over the past year co writing songs and performing in London. The show at the Jerusalem Theater was the sold out highlight of the “End of summer” festival, which took place in Jerusalem on August 21-23rd, 2012. The video above is “Heard it through the grapevine” by Marvin Gaye.
After a successful few shows in the UK, the groove funk band Coolooloosh, which Gerstein co-founded in 2003, is embarking on an extensive tour of Germany this September 2012. The tour will see the band play around 12 shows around Germany, from Berlin to Rostock and much more. It includes different venues and festivals, starting this week with a special showcase in Berlin as part of the Berlin music week. Here are the complete tour dates:
Over the past few month I have been working on a musical production for a Festival taking place at the Jerusalem Theater, which is one of the best venues for culture in Jerusalem, Israel.
I was introduced by a mutual friend to a wonderful French soul singer named Leslie Phillips in London last year. We started working on writing and performing music and recorded a few songs together. Phillips has a deep but sweet voice and could sing anything from Soul to Jazz, funk and back. One of the songs we recorded was a cover to the song “Babe, I’m gonna leave you”, which was made famous by Joan Baez and Led Zeppelin. The song was originally recorded in 2009 by my band Coolooloosh and was waiting for the perfect vocalist to make it shine. Phillips was just the right voice for it. Here is the song which was released today:
The concert is scheduled for Thursday August 23rd, 2012, at the Jerusalem Theater. I am acting as musical director for the show and it would feature Phillips, Coolooloosh and myself. It is a part of a large scale festival called “End of the summer”, which takes place between 21-23 of August. The show is scheduled to be the highlight of the festival and is receiving massive exposure in the media both online and off. The songs would be a mixture of originals and classic soul songs, with some special arrangements, which I’ve been writing in the past few months. Here is the poster for the show -
Jerusalem Theater brochure
And here is Coolooloosh’s bass player Ori Winokur standing next to one of the large posters covering Jerusalem these days
Oded Kafri is an incredible drummer based in London. I have the privilege in the past few months of working closely with him, producing his tracks using Ableton Live, as well as recording and producing his next EP coming out soon. Kafri has loads of videos from his popular street performances. One of those videos became so viral this week, gaining a quarter of a million views in only 12 days. Pretty crazy. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why this video became viral more than any of his other (more produced) videos, but in any case it’s a great sign that the work we have done together has really paid off. We plan to produce a new show with percussion players and have a full summer of gigs and festivals coming up.
3. Coolooloosh record deal
Next week I’m off to Berlin with Ori Winokur to meet up with the new label G-records which my band Coolooloosh were just signed onto. Planning a tour in GAS (Germany, Austria Switzerland) for September 2012 and a release date for the album “Elements of sound” in Germany.
4. New music
I’ve praised Spotify here in the past and I have to say I’m still enjoying it and do not feel a need to buy physical CDs anymore. Still I love to listen to new music so my new thing is to pick up the Rough tradealbums of the month flyer every month and then go on Spotify and have a listen to them all. A cunning plan
This week I went to a concert by the funky/jazzy/groove pianist Robert Grlasper at the Barbican centre in London. It was a surprisingly good show with a rare successful fusion of Hip Hop soul and Jazz. Especially notable were the drummer and bass player (forgot their names) who held up the three hour (!) show with wonderful groove that seemed effortless.
The star of that show for me by far was actually Lahla Hathaway (Yes, Donny‘s daughter) who blew me away with her incredible voice range, dynamics and soul. She was so great. She’s performing this weekend at the Jazz Cafe in Camden. The only annoying thing about the show was the terrible vocoder, which was so over used by the saxophonist, flautist vocalist, that I got all the vocoded vocals I need for the next 10 years..
Check out Glasper’s Black Radio project and album:
Here’s a new track based on a drum loop, and a little story about the process of making it below.
I love sound, I keep exploring it, learning more about it everyday, trying to achieve the best sound quality I possibly can with every project I do. Recently, I’ve been working with drummer Oded Kafri on his music, so I got to see, hear and produce a lot of drums. It has been a great learning experience.
Nowadays, a drum kit would usually be recorded with about 12-16 microphones (from cheap dynamic mics to the high end condensers) in any proper studio, and then, all those signals are combined to create the drum sound. But as Bob Power says on the great producer’s show Pensado’s place (Episode 58, 41 minutes in) :
“A drum kit wasn’t meant to be listened to with one ear right next to the snare, one ear right next to the hi-hat and one ear inside the kick. It was meant to be listened to from 10 feet away, that’s why mixing records is so difficult.”
Bob Power on Pensados Place
And so bearing that in mind, when I got this great drum loop sent to me by Coolooloosh drummer Yogi Shetrit, which he recorded to none other than his trusted iphone 4, I thought, well, maybe I shouldn’t obsess about drum sounds and just go with what sounds good. If an iphone captures a drum kit beautifully in a room and also adds some inherent built-in compression to it, then why not use that sound instead of trying to fit in 15 different drum signals. In any event, that was the attitude for creating this track which I have uploaded today to soundcloud.
It’s not a finished piece, and it was done very quickly, but it’s a perfect example of how easy it could be to create new music, when you let go of all the tech thoughts and just use what you’ve got. It took me about an hour to create this in Ableton live (so simple), so I hope you enjoy it and share too.
Just one last note, I’m not saying I don’t like hi-fi drum sounds..I love it, but I just think it couldn’t hurt to experiment and go with what your ear think is good, rather than what the magazines tell you is good.
Tonight (November 9th 2011) Coolooloosh will play at a very special event in Bremen in Germany. The band has been invited to perform at an evening at the town hall, commemorating the events of the “Crystal night” which took place in 1938 and was one of the biggest warning signs before world war II.
In the old town hall building in Bremen’s city center, coolooloosh, who just came back from playing gigs in Holland will play a 45 minute live set and collaborate with other musicians from different parts of the world as well. The event is expected to be attended by about two thousand youths from all nationalities and cultures.
This is a song I wrote for Coolooloosh and we had the privilege of featuring the voice of Daniel Bedingfield on this song. It’s a love song that deals with temptation and inhibitions. It was released this week as a single off Coolooloosh’s new album that hopefully would come out by the end of this year. Here are the song credits:
Music : Yuval Gerstein
Lyrics: Yuval Gerstein & Joel Covington
Arrangement: Coolooloosh & Daniel Bedingfield
Brass arrangement: Yuval Gerstein
String arrangement: Hadas Kleinman & Ori Winokur