15/02/2023Jerusalem-Based Improvisational Trio Leviot Unveils Spellbinding Debut Full-Length On Akuphone

The concept of 'land' is an abstract one, which is glaringly obvious in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It should not come as a surprise then, that the opening track of Jerusalem-based improvisational trio Leviot's spellbinding debut full-length "Sharav" on Akuphone is titled just that. But regional claims and territorial disputes are not at all what this release is concerned with. Leviot (Hebrew for 'lionesses') is a novel project conceived by "multifaceted musician and composer" Yael Lavie, born from her involvement with Berlin's "outernational spectral trance-jazz ensemble" Spiritzualic Enhancement Center, her "explorations beyond the restraints of classical kanun" and her "fascination for electronic sounds and modern composition." 

Accompanying her on "Sharav" are "classically trained percussionist and music teacher" Cnaan Canetti and "synth enthusiast" Yishay Seroussi, adding their virtuosic musicianship to the immersive mix. Leviot's expeditions are part rehearsed, part improvised, yet utterly captivating. This particular set was recorded at the tail end of 2020 during a live session at the Mazkeka Studios in Jerusalem: "It’s a meditative improvised piece in five parts that melts boundaries between traditional and experimental music, combining primal and futuristic sounds [with Lavie leading the way] as Leviot takes off on a cosmic journey with deep drones, whispering chimes, mesmerizing Arab melodies, pulsating rhythms and iridescent ambient patterns," the release notes describe.

"Sharav" was originally released in August 2022, but we only just got around to it. A slow-builder at first, the record is quick to draw listeners in, a distant, medieval-sounding foghorn announcing its arrival, before kanun and percussion join in to add colour, detail and Middle Eastern nuances as the story unfolds. Despite the seemingly spontaneous 'let's see where the music takes us' approach, the final result is well-rounded, deeply evocative and of spectacular clarity. 

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom