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Avi Belleli — Strawberry Cream and Gunpowder
(Ad Hoc no#, 2007, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2008-10-01

Strawberry Cream and Gunpowder Cover art

Avi Belleli has been on the Israeli fringe working with the likes of Tractor’s Revenge as well as doing stage and soundtrack work for quite some time. Longtime friend and collaborator Udi Koomran is on the boards as well, taking down each and every note of this recent live performance work. Belleli’s palette for improvisational statement relies heavily on drones, metallic thrusts, and sudden shrieks and screams, not unlike what Goblin provided in many a B-grade Italian horror movie in the day. Beginning with “Shmania” and running through “2nd Texture,” Belleli sets up a clear compositional direction, beginning from a vague ambiguous textural approach building slowly into outright violence. At times Belleli’s live guitar playing seems almost an homage to the late Derek Bailey or Nirvana grunge icon Kurt Cobain, with rough shard playing giving way to passionate arpeggios like on “A and G.” His vocalese can range from Robert Wyatt like sad wordless melodies to shocking female outcries implying a stabbing (“2nd Texture”). The mood ranges from panic offset by ghostly drones or static pulses, suggesting classic German electronica (Cluster, early Tangerine Dream). There are moments of actual calm in the recording which, given the jarring subject matter, it’s not hard to image. In summary, the collection of tracks is worthy soundtrack to a pattern of life that’s not readily understood or embraced in the West.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 36, 2007 releases

Related artist(s): Avi Belleli

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