STM 302 - Avizohar

Avizohar of Studio Straus
Photo from artist's archive

Avizohar of art collective Studio Straus records a challenging mix that explores the connection between inspiration and art community in Jerusalem.

Avizohar of art collective Studio Straus records a challenging mix that explores the connection between inspiration and art community in Jerusalem.

Itzik Gil aka Avizohar is a Jerusalem-born, Tel Aviv-based multidisciplinary artist and an active part of the Israeli scene as a composer, DJ, sound artist, and curator of Critically Down event series. He’s one of the core members of the experimental art collective Studio Straus. As a key place for underground culture in Jerusalem, Studio Straus operates both as a studio for music, tattoos and visual art, and a venue for underground events, gathering a strong, vivid community of like-minded artists. This collective energy informs and encompasses Itzik’s artistic work that occupies an almost transcendental space beyond genre or convention. Apart from his Avizohar alias, Itzik is also one half of the noise duo Kashaiof. His projects are laced with a strong sense of divergence, dealing with sound art, poetry, performance, and mysticism to explore contrasts as a point of contact. Mainly influenced by Musique Concrete, Industrial, and Modern-Classical composers, his Avizohar project merges chaotic atmospheres with a strangely refined approach to sound. On his Linguistics EP that came out on Menorah Recordings in 2019, this intriguing dichotomy evolves in an ambiguous and sophisticated collection of tracks.

STM 302 is a bold, conflicting, and incredibly emotional piece with a selection of tracks you’re not likely to hear anywhere else. It aims to introduce the artists from the scene around Studio Straus, as well as pay homage to notable artists that encouraged them to create their unique sound. The mix can be perceived as an act of communication, wandering between noise-induced semantic spaces of implied emotion and those which are readily expressed with tantalizing ease. It starts with a raspy clamor of Meira Asher’s Dissect Me Again, one of the stand-out tracks from her 90s release spears into hooks, that morphs into multidimensional auditory trips of Maryanne Amacher and Dave Phillips. There’s a constant interplay between utterance and physical impressions in the first part of the mix. Avizohar intertwines noise, electroacoustic and experimental spoken word tracks that make you listen to your body and let it dictate where you can locate the sounds you hear, how you experience voice, words, and the meaning behind them. The primary feeling is the one of ritual you can follow without the instructions. Later on, speech is slowly integrated through the warm string vibrations of Avizohar’s track Too Many Hours that spills into Yoel Peled’s whispers on Meleot Hasimcha. Progression of industrial pulses wrapped in bleak melody and looming hisses escalates in PPF/ICK's amazing Throbbing Gristle cover, followed by the straightforward screaming punk aggression. Chaotic and cheeky proclamations of Wackelkontak's track Papamummy melting into metallic industrial-fused E-Sagilla and Thoom collab triggers an exciting notion of familiarity as you relentlessly dance to it. Suddenly you can name the feeling as you observe it. The rest of the mix thrashes and turns between noise, ambient, industrial, and trap before it gently brings you back to more meditative realms of high pitch and slow rhythm, closing with deep doleful chanting of The Great Gehenna Choir. The primary feeling is the one of witnessing a very intense cathartic experience. With STM 302, Avizohar captured the essence of his community in a very memorable way.

My main idea behind making this mix was to describe the connection between inspiration and community.

On the one hand, most of the artists I selected have a connection to our art collective Studio Straus, which is a studio for experimental music, tattoos and visual arts based in an orthodox Jewish neighborhood 'Mea Shearim' in Jerusalem. Established 6 years ago, the studio immediately became a place of culture in Jerusalem, hosting underground and experimental concerts, as well as tattoo artists' residencies. It has also become a place for us to work and practice, which organically shaped a collective of artists and a community of people who work together and inspire each other. On the other hand, the rest of the artists I chose for this mix are those who drove me as an individual or us as a group. Consciously or not, I think the mix represents Jerusalem very well, this thin line between moments of grace to anxious intensity. Therefore, this is, by all means, Jerusalem's sound.

1. Meira Asher - Dissect Me Again [Crammed Discs, 1999]
2. Maryanne Amacher - Sound Characters (Making the Third Ear) [Tzadik, 1999]
3. Dave Phillips - Solastalgia / Ohnmacht [iDEAL Recordings, 2017]
4. Kashaiof - A Chair [Next on Chondritic Sound, 2020]
5. Pan Daijing - Practice of Hygiene [PAN, 2017]
6. Cadaver Eyes Upon Me See - Tall Mountains [Unreleased]
7. Bernard Parmigiani - Conjugaison du Timbre [Recollection GRM, 2013]
8. Coil - The Hellraiser Theme [Threshold House, 1995]
9. Tai Rona - Shir Le'titu [Hypnotic, 2020]
10. Vera Spektor - Ego Death Sutra [Strip999 ,2020]
11. Avizohar - Too Many Hours [Menorah Recordings, 2019]
12. Yoel Peled - Meleot Hasimcha [Self-released]
13. Duralex Sedlex - Heavy Dreams [Nana Disc, 1996]
14. PPF/ICK - Discipline (Throbbing Gristle cover) [La Nouvelle Alliance, 2005]
15. Tiny Tramp - Pick At It, Smell it [Dam Kar, 2017]
16. Guttersnipe - Pipa Pipa Portalspawn [Upset! The Rhythm, 2018]
17. Wackelkontakt - Papamummy [Magia Roja, 2020]
18. E-Saggila - Alia (feat. Thoom) [Northern Electronics, 2019]
19. Shapednoise - Blaze (feat. Justin K. Broadrick) [Numbers, 2019]
20. 2nd Gen - Slowburn [NovaMute, 2001]
21. Container - Ten Times A Day Ever Day A Stranger (The Body Remix) [Thrill Jockey, 2019]
22. Zoviet France - Vlaag [Staaltape, 1992]
23. Kevin Drumm - Cloudy [Mego, 2002]
24. Ana-Maria Avram - Swarms III [Editions Modern, 1997]
25. The Great Gehenna Choir - Timchi Chayut [Hedim, 2019]

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