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Tamouz - The Orange Season Is Over CD (album) cover

THE ORANGE SEASON IS OVER

Tamouz

 

Prog Related

3.97 | 14 ratings

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ProgressiveAttic
4 stars

This is one of Israels most influential albums ever. Paradoxically, after its release the band had to split because of the initial lack of success. On the other hand this was the album that launched the careers of Shalom Hanoch and Ariel Silber who will later become some of the most acclaimed musicians in Israeli rock (still filling venues today).

One of the factors that made this album so influential is the musicianship: the band was led by Hanoch (acoustic guitar and vocals) and Silber (keyboards and backing vocals). The first one represents the prototypical Israeli classic rocker drawing influences from rock, classical, Russian folk , gospel, blues and jazz, while the later brings to the table a range of styles including rock, folk and jazz. To accomplish this marvelous project they recruited drummer/percussionist Meir Israel , bass player Eitan Gidron and electric guitarist Yehuda Eder, plus the addition of a number of guests musicians including Haim Romano from the legendary The Churchills.

To understand the music and impact of this album we should analyse the Israeli music scene from the late 60's and 70's because this album is one of the first solid products of its time. The rock scene of the end of the 60's (rock got to Israel a bit late) was dominated by cover bands of British bands such as The Beatles until a second wave of rockers led by The Churchills (since 1967) brought something new to the table: a new style of authentic Israeli origin, blending British rock and psychedelia with Mediterranean music, jazz and classical music (playing with orchestras and adapting pieces by Bach). During the last years of the sixties original and bold artists, Hanoch (one of the aforementioned founders of Tamouz) Arik Einstein and Kaveret being the most prominent, started to write rock with similar influences to the ones of The Churchills (often collaborating with them and with each other) with the addition of Israeli and Jewish folk music (mainly Chava Alberstein, Yehoram Gaon and Naomi Shemer) and for the first time in rock: hebrew lyrics. During the 70's lots of progressive rock started to arrive to the country and to influence almost every rock act in the country (progressive or not), specially the Canterbury Scene and Gentle Giant because of idiosyncratic similarities added to other European classic rock influences (Jimmy Hendrix, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, etc.). As results of these circumstances we can find a wave of rockers with progressive rock elements in their music without being completely identified with the genre among these artists we have Matti Caspi (more of an Israeli folk classically trained musician with many rock and jazz influences introducing odd time signatures in his music and producing several prog albums), Shalom Hanoch (more rock oriented in his solo albums with some proggy moments) and Alon Olearchick (former bass player of Kaveret and a straightforward rocker + he contributed with Eddie Jobson).

Bands with early progressive elements (proto-prog if you will) where around during the late 60s and the first half of the 70s (a bit late compared to other countries... but as I said before rock arrived to Israeli late), among the most important and influential of these efforts we have The Churchills, Arik Einstein (whose song Hayo Haya is considered the first 100% prog track recorded in Israel, Schlomo Gronich with his album Why Didn't You Tell Me (reminiscent to Frank Zappa's earliest with the addition of israeli influences), Behind the Sounds (a project conducted by Gronich and Caspi) and Shablool. Being the last one the earliest origin of Tamouz since it was an album/movie in the format of a rock opera (the first one in Israel) recorded by Hanoch and Einstein with The Churchills as a support band which included early versions of songs featured in this album (Ma Sheh'yoter Amok Yoter Cachol).

Tamouz was conceived as a project to join the influences of bands such as Pink Floyd, ELP, Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Led Zeppelin, Hendrix and Cream with what Hanoch learned during his almost 9 years of rock experimentation and Silber's folk perspective. This, in my opinion, is one of Israel's first completely accomplished rock albums (together with Kaveret's Poogy BePita, Ktzat Acheret's and Sheshet's self titled album, and many others).

Now to the music:

The album kicks of with Mah she-Yoter Amok Yoter Kachol (The Deeper The Bluer), a track extracted from the Shablool project and the most progressive track in the album, paradoxically the original was one of the less progressive tracks of the project. The track features some "stereotypical" symphonic prog keyboards (very aptly performed), some rocking guitars and showcases the talent of the drummer in a very subtle way since his style of playing is far from bombastic but very noticeable as an intrinsic part of the music. An important point in this track and in the album as a whole are Hanoch's vocals (which are absolutely great!) and strange but very Israeli (70s Israeli to be more precise) lyrics. 4.75

Panas ha-Rchov (Streetlight) is more focused on the vocals with a continue acoustic guitar and some electric guitar soloing very well backed by the rest of the band (the keyboards and drumming are also noteworthy). 4.25

An'Lo Yodea Ech Lomar Lach (I Don't Know How To Tell You) will become a regular piece in Hanoch's shows in the form of a ballad. This version has a ballady aura but combines different elements of symphonic prog (the keyboards-great subtle hammond and jazzy piano solo performances - and drumming) and folk (guitars and lyrics). As highlights of the song we have the piano solo, vocals and instrumental section (with a Pink Floyd vibe). 4.5

Holech Batel (Loafer) comes out as an exponent of the folkier side of the band dominated by the acoustic guitar and vocals (Hanoch), the piano and bass present an outstanding backing performance and an electric guitar bluesy solo gives a great middle section to the song. 4

The title song Sof `Onat ha-Tapuzim (The Orange Season Is Over) is a great display of the folk-rock nature of the band headed by Hanoch's acoustic guitar and vocals + the electric guitar from the middle of the song , backed by the remarkable rhythm section and Ariel Silber's piano and Hammond with the obligatory electric guitar middle section and the appearance of a sax playing the main riff of the song. 4.5

Ahavah Shkaytah (Quiet Love) shows the rockier side of Tamouz with the main melody being played by the electric guitar with are less symphonic and rockier drums, featuring one of the first drum solos ever recorded in Israel (which is really remarkable). Hanoch's vocals and the instrumental sections are more aggressive here than before. 4

Lo Yachol Lishon Achshav (Can't Fall Asleep) is a typical Shalom Hanoch ballad with him as the only musician with his characteristic acoustic guitar and marvelous voice (when he is not yelling as he has tended to do lately). This could be easily compared to Greg Lake's From the Beginning. One of my favorite ballads ever. 4.75

Kachah At Ratsit Oti (You Wanted Me That Way) closes the album in a psychedelic-folky way with an outstanding sax performance. This song presents a very catchy melody headed by an electric guitar with some lyric-less vocalizations and Hanoch's lyrics very aptly backed by some great keys and the amusing rhythm section (specially the percussions). 4.5

Total: 4.40

This is a great album, it has everything from prog and psychedelia to rock and roll, it is intelligent music but at the same time accessible although not really commercial (main reason of the initial failure of the band) . The overall atmosphere is very calmed and laid back in the style of Pink Floyd (Animals and Dark Side of the moon) and the musicianship isn't really far behind the European rock and prog classics. The entire album is an Israeli, Folk Rock and Classic Rock essential and masterpiece, and one of my favorite and most played albums, but it is just an excellent addition to any prog music collection. 5/5 as a rock album and 4.40/5 as a prog album...

ProgressiveAttic | 4/5 |

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