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KTZAT ACHERET

Eclectic Prog • Israel


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Ktzat Acheret biography
Trio KTZAT ACHERET ("A Little Different") is pivotal in the history of the small Israeli progressive rock scene during the 1970s, a movement that produced a handful of gifted artists little-known outside that country. Indispensable to this period of musical creativity was the career of SHLOMO GRONICH, a classical prodigy who also loved rock music, the BEATLES in particular. His first album in 1971, 'Why Didn't You Tell Me?', is considered by many to be the first Israeli prog rock recording and displays many aspects of classical, jazz, and traditional Jewish music. The album did not sell well and GRONICH paired with composer/multi-instrumentalist MATHI CASPI. The two released 'Behind the Sounds', a live recording and another breakthrough in Israeli progressive music.

After the traumatic Yom Kippur War, GRONICH on keys, percussion and voice banded with SHEM TOV LEVY (flute, keys, percussion) and SHLOMO YDOV (guitars, bass) and recorded KTZAT ACHERET's highly esteemed first and only record. The English version was titled 'Nonames'. The album reflected the post-war experience through music influenced by contemporaries such as GENTLE GIANT, MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA and YES with healthy doses of Middle Eastern and Avant Garde. The band broke-up when GRONICH left for the U.S.

The trio's only release is a crucial work that captured a brief moment in international Prog history and is still sought after today.


- Atavachron (David)








Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Momentous release from a small but legendary prog act, and the starting place for any Israeli Prog enthusiast.





Discography:
Ktzat Acheret, studio album (1975)

Ktzat Acheret official website

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KTZAT ACHERET discography


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4.44 | 13 ratings
Ktzat Acheret/No Names
1975

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KTZAT ACHERET Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ktzat Acheret/No Names by KTZAT ACHERET album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.44 | 13 ratings

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Ktzat Acheret/No Names
Ktzat Acheret Eclectic Prog

Review by ProgressiveAttic
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

5 stars

This is a very complete and tight album dominated by a marvelous sense of humor, but you can also find some melancholy (mainly a product of the recent and traumatic 6 day war) and seriousness.

Musically it covers a wide range of styles from Beatlesque Rock and Roll to folk and jazz with lots of experimentation. The instruments used are more or less what you would expect for the above mentioned genres: acoustic and electric guitars, piano, hammond organ, synths (used to a smaller extent), bass, percussions and flute (an absolute highlight of the record).

The musicians are top notch and all of them are considered cornerstones of Israeli music in general, which includes: folk (Gronich), pop (Levi, Gronich), Jazz/Fusion (Levi), Rock (Levi, Gronich, Ydov) and Classical (Gronich). They are all classically trained and very skillful, things that show in the record that will launch their careers in the small israeli scene of the 70's.

Now the song by song review.... they are all short running but self contained and very well accomplished:

Travelling is a great opener and an upbeat rock and roller with an amazing acoustic guitar intro provided by Ydov. The lyrics talk about their travels while touring. 4/5

Guru is more of an experimental piece about Gronich's cat with some words in english every now and then with a very acoustic feeling (with the exception of the use of a little organ and electric guitar). The spotlight is over Gronich in piano, organ and vocals but the other musicians have their opportunity to shine giving sort of a preview of what will come. But at the end Gronich's signature is allover the composition (this will make you wonder about the man's mental sanity...) 4.5/5

The Little Prince is one of my all-time favorites and an israeli classic it is a Shem-Tov Levi song which, full of melancholia, tells the story of "the little prince" a young soldier sent to the war, inspired in the recent six day war. The highlights are Levi's voice, piano and flute while the rest of the band give an outstanding support to the music. 5/5

Shemi's Piece is another experimental track based on some middle-eastern sounds and it revolves around the piano, guitar and flute which are just beautifully performed with the addition of some violin here and there. This track is more of a group collaboration compared to the previous two songs. 5/5

Pink Skies is Ydov's moment to shine with his amazing acoustic guitar, accompanied by Gronich singing and someone on piano (probably Gronich or Levi). Ydov has been often compared to Andy Latimer (Camel) but this is a totally different style.+ I have to mention the short but breathtaking flute moments since I am in love with Levi's flute style. 5/5

Spring is a very humorous track that could fit perfectly in a Canterbury Scene album. This one represents another team effort with Gronich (who acknowledged being influenced by the Canterbury scene) in vocals, Ydov playing the acoustic guitar, Levi's flute and Levi or Gronich on piano. 4/5

Two Chinese is another humorous ala Canterbury song based on a Hebrew children's song (about two chinese persons with a big violin) played on different styles including a - capella, middle eastern, beatlesque rock & roll and Yemenite jewish. Quite nice and fits on the album, but dispensable. 3/5

Quinta: another great team collaboration with predominant flute, piano, acoustic guitar and Gronich's vocalizations + the addition of some synth, violin and electric guitar. 5/5

The Echo: another Shem-Tov Levi song which features him singing (+some Gronich vocalizations), Ydov's electric guitar, good percussions and a spectacular string quartet. 4.5/5

204 this is a typical Schlomo Gronich avant song full of craziness and as a huge Gronich fan I love it! Gronich's madness added to Levi's flute is just israeli prog paradise! the rhythm section is also outstanding (Ydov on bass and Levi or Gronich on percussions) 5/5

Sweet Song delivers more Canterury-styled humor with lyrics in english (very well pronounced). Its a nice and sweet song (as the title announces) with great piano, flute and acoustic guitar work + the string quartet returns to give a beautiful ending to the song... I think it is Gronich singing but it is difficult to tell since I am used to listen to them in hebrew....4.5/5

Bissalad continues with the sweet string quartet and flute and then after some mad laughs the madness starts and it becomes more upbeat and crazy followed by some english vocalizations and some rock & roll to end with magnificence and (I have to say it again) madness!!!. 4.75/5

Total: 4.52

I don't know if I should give to this album the masterpiece status... but considering the current rating of the album (3.41), Shem-Tov Levi's flute, Gronich's madness, Ydov's beautiful guitar, the great sense of humor, the absolutely fantastic lyrics (specially in the sad and breath taking The Little Prince) and historic significance of the album (one of prog's pioneers in Israel + timeless classics such as The Little Prince)... I'll give to it the 5 star rating .

P.S.: This is an eclectic album but could fit under Canterbury... so if you are a canterbury, israeli rock, madness or general prog fan this is a MUST.

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 Ktzat Acheret/No Names by KTZAT ACHERET album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.44 | 13 ratings

BUY
Ktzat Acheret/No Names
Ktzat Acheret Eclectic Prog

Review by ShW1

4 stars In retrospect, it turns out that this only album by Ktzat Acheret (slightly different), was a summit meeting between three gifted musicians: Shlomo Gronich on keyboards (mainly piano, occasionally Hammond and moog), Shem Tov Levy, on flute, (and also on some recorders here and there) and Shlomo Ydov, mostly on acoustic guitar, with some touches of electric guitars.

As you can realize from the description above, this album is mainly acoustic, with a bit of electricity, but in an unexpected way, it could really rock from time to time. They blend here acoustic/classic influences with rockier approach, and traditional music, in this case some Jewish elements, along with Israeli eastern motifs. There are sweet songs and avant moments, some jazzy improvisations, (well delimited in the short compositions), musical parodies along with sadness, and overall, a very distinctive atmosphere.

While there are some hints of Gentle Giant, as others suggest, I find it to be much more reminiscent of the Canterbury music scene; the jazzy feeling, the humorous yet melancholic atmosphere and the acoustic approach, have much in common with that style. But more than that, it is an Israeli creation, and a very innovative one. Indeed it has been a breakthrough, especially considering the time and the place it has been released.

The album starts with a relatively simple, straight forward song, 'Traveling', that deals with the band travels for shows, but soon continue with one of my favorites in this album: 'Guru' by Gronich, who sing about his cat, with lyrics that recalls for 'Lucifar Sam' by Barret. The music is different though: Based on two dissonance chords, with intricate, tricky melody, and a groovy rhythm. The song is preceded with a lovely, spacey intro.

Another fav of mine is 'The echo' by Shem Tov Levy, a more structured song than most of the other songs, with excellent arrangement for string quartet. The Lyrics have been written by the great Hebrew poet Lea Goldberg. ('Here comes the echo in the middle of the sky. don't let my song be a wasteland'... sorry for this horrible translation...). A strong and unique song. From Ydov we get 'Pink sky (Twilight)', a very moving song with a bit of sweetness and melancholy, featuring his wonderful acoustic guitar. And this list could not be complete without '204', a pure avant guard piece by Gronich, featuring an avant, syncopated melody which in mysterious way is very catchy (once you get it), great moog noises and improvisations, distorted flute, and great drumming from guest musician Pepo Levy.

This unique album is warmly recommended for those who could be tolerant for Hebrew singing (in about half of the album). It is considered as a milestone of Israeli music, which inspired many Israeli musicians until nowadays. All of the three members are stilll very active musicians in various styles.

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Thanks to Atavachron for the artist addition.

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