Karen Alkalay-Gut
Karen Alkalay-Gut, Roi Yarkoni, Ishay Sommer: Thin Lips

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from poem to video clip: an essay

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Tarkus nr 33 - Juni 2005 http://www.tarkus.org/

by Rikard Toftesund

translated from Norwegian by Sven Eriksen

Thin Lips

Both the academy of music-educated keyboard player Yarkoni and ex-death metal bassist/guitarist Sommer are members of the extremely advanced prog band Ahvak in Tel Aviv (see review in Tarkus no 28). On the album Thin Lips, both also control a series of technological and programmable gadgets, everything as a backdrop for the lyrics of poet and prose-writer Alkalay-Gut.

The music on this record is a slightly dada-ish mixture of gothic industrial pop, electronic kitsch and strict notation, as if Grace Jones should have mutated with U Totem via Aphex Twin. The partly very thoroughly arranged fragments keep a high compositorial standard, but it is the interaction between recitation and sonor choices which creates the album's total impressions. The lyrics of Alkalay-Gut are miniature pictures of various thoughtful lie situations as, for example, in TV: (quote from lyrics in English).

Almost all the sketches have a political and/or existentialistic edge, they are all tickled by the accelerating burlesque music of Yarkoni/Sommer. Harmonically, they collect from all thinkable sources, from lounge jazz, swing, easy listening and rhumba one moment, to 1900's neo classical, reggae and musique concréte the next – anything the words may require. There lies an enormous amount of labour behind this kind of musical work, and regardless of whether or not you like the actual content, you can not help being slightly overwhelmed by the basic sonic talent. Definitely interesting.

Zuk (Spanish - translation available)