Producing a huge outdoor show at The Jerusalem Theater end of summer festival

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 -

Leslie Phillips and Coolooloosh

Jerusalem Theater brochure

And here is Coolooloosh’s bass player Ori Winokur standing next to one of the large posters covering Jerusalem these days

Coolooloosh and Leslie Phillips

Coolooloosh and Leslie Phillips

Tickets to the concert are for sale through the Jerusalem theater on this link (Hebrew).

Musicians participating in the show are:

Leslie Phillips – Vocals, Rebel Sun – Rap , Yuvi Gerstein – Guitars and Vocals, Ori Winokur – Bass, Yogev Shitrit – Drums, Ofer Peled – Saxophones, Arad Yeini – Trumpet, Sangit – Percussion, Omer Rizi – Keyboard.

For more info please visit the Coolooloosh official website

Producing a new EP recording for duo Penniless Cove

Next month (March 2012) I will record and mix the Piano/Cello duo known as Penniless Cove. They are about to record a new EP to be released this year. Their music ( listen to their last album free ) is quite lyrical, based on piano songs topped with beautiful Cello melodies.

Recordings will take place at Goldsmiths University Studios, which I know quite well, as I produced Alex Jeffery’s album there last year (2011) as part of my MA in Creative practice at the university.

Penniless Cove

Penniless Cove

Here’s what they say about themselves

We are a duo from Wales/Italy, who met in East London, and started working together at University in 2006. We have spent the last few years writing, and performing our songs to audiences in tiny cellars, cinemas, and lively stages. We play alternative folk music tinged with jazz and classical elements. Our songs tell of everyday trials of which the magical detail is often forgotten.

Producing music for Oded Kafri drum machine project

I recently had the chance to work with one of the best drummers in the UK. Oded Kafri is an Israeli drummer based in London, performing regularly with his solo one man show- The drum machine project.

Kafri is not only an accomplished drummer but also highly entertaining to watch and delivers a great show experience for the audience, weather it’s as a street performance or in a sweaty night club.

 So how did I get involved in this project? Well, first off, Kafri performs with Ableton Live, a great software for performance which I have been working with for the past 5 years. I initially met him at Musicland studios where I do most of my productions and started helping him to fix his live setup and make it more efficient. It’s all about structure and simplicity when you’re building a large setup for a show. Everything needs to be within reach and I also suggested that he leaves the computer on the side and concentrate on the drumming and pads only. All the tempo changes during the set are controlled from the pads and so Kafri is free to concentrate on the performance and not worry about the computer at all.

After that went well, I produced a couple of mesh up tracks for him to play live at his recent show at Hootenanny club in Brixton. It’s all in ableton live and it’s meant to pump out the crowd as well as give him control over the content of the music and the FX. The show went great and we decided it’s time to take our musical collaboration a step further. I invited him to record the set at Musicland studios and here is a taste of what it sound like:

We’re working on a new live show that would be ready by March 2012, so watch out for this guy, armed with incredible technique, a soulful spirit and lots of cool new music.

Hello Hibernator-Album production for Alex Jeffery

      Hello Hibernator is the fruit of my collaboration with singer songwriter Alex Jeffery. as part of our MA in music at Goldsmiths University, London. I am proud and excited to have made this project and can’t wait for the release of the album.

In the past few months I have been working on this production, as you can see in posts like; Production day1, day 2 and day 3.

         The album is set to be released this fall (2011) and includes nine original songs by Jeffery. All songs have been recorded and produced in London mostly at Goldsmiths EMS studios, and was mixed and mastered by me.  We recorded quite a few instrumentalists. Here is a short production preview;

Here is the first song from the album.A dreamy, lazy Monday morning after a sleepless night….It is entitled Monday Morning.
Alex Jeffery – Monday Morning by Yuvi Gerstein

We plan to launch the album with a concert, most likely in October so please follow the blog to get updates on that.

Arranging for Cello as part of an album production

      

Setting up to record the Cello

 A collaboration between producer Yuvi Gerstein and singer songwriter Alex Jeffrey , the album “Rosmary drones” is set to be recorded this summer and released by the end of September. As part of the process I arranged one of the album songs “Cartwheels” for a Cello quartet. Yes, I realize it’s not a classical or standard way of arranging for a quartet but with the help of the amazing cellist Hadas Kleinman and engineer Ori Winokur, we pulled off a rich full recording of a cello quartet.

Here is a taste of what it sounds like

Techniques 

Setting up the microphones

As my friend and colleague Ori Winokur suggested,We set up four chairs at Pluto studios main room (A) and put different microphones in front of each chair. 1. Royer (Ribbon mic) 2. Schoeps 3. Violet (Some crazy handmade mic) 4. AKG 414. on top of that we had 4 ambient microphones in the room to capture the ambiance of the room at each part.

The lovely Violet microphone

Kleinman played each part separately and hopped from one chair to the next to create the feeling and sound of a real quartet playing together. She did a great job and by the end of the session we had a fully recorded cello arrangement that sounds alive and vibrant.

We then moved to record some easier cello parts for two other songs :Feed mine eyes and Monday morning. That was more open and Hadas and I came up with some ad hoc parts which she played beautifully.

Writing for Cello

I wrote a four part cello arrangement for “Cartwheels”. I found that writing for just cello could be quite a challenge as things tend to get muddy when more than two parts are involved in the same general register. I think the best tip I could give to composers is to try and keep each part separated as much as possible and spreading out the chord tones and melodies to create something that is cello based but not too muddy and low.

I recommend Pluto studios to any producer who is looking for a top studio in Israel. It is very well planned and equipped and the best part is the inspiration in the room. They give a lot of respect for the music and especially give attention to small details which are so important when you’re trying to get a professional session going.

Pluto Studios control room

As for the album production, we’re planning three days of intensive recordings in London at the end of July (2011) after which I could start the mixing process which would be finished by the end of August.

More updates still to come.