Rudy Semah & Elad Muskatel at Hagada Hasmalit, TA
The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Saturday, July 13, 2024

Rudy Semah & Elad Muskatel at Hagada Hasmalit, TA

It is rare to see two masters of the same instrument meet on stage for a duo performance, even at this forward thinking venue. It is even rarer when it is two collaborators who have been perfecting their art together for years. Led by Rudy Semah, and joined by the renowned collaborator Elad Muskatel, their artistry became a truly aural spectacle that left me with a dropped jaw and eyes wide open.

The textural depth of two basses in the hands of these heavy hitters is equated to an earthquake, pounding relentlessly on the unsuspecting concert goers, sending ripples that rumbled the venue and were measured in the Richter scale.

Rudy and Elad utilized extended techniques and a plethora of pedals to construct a “sum bigger than its part” effect, making the two of them sound like six busy musicians. They command a library of sounds; synthy, distorted, lush and spacy and fill the hall with unexpected sound waves while defying the limitations of their instruments.

Fearlessly gritty, melodically enchanting, all the more powerful as hits of dreamy escapism when listened to at volume or at near silence – the wildly improvised jazz compositions and sound-design from the night’s composer and duet leader Rudy Semah, an important music maker and band leader, really let the natural qualities of his esteemed works shine brightly, with the help of imaginative, top-of-the-line harmonic beats setting. His attention to detail and fine balance between composed and passionate improvisation ultimately delivers a naturally engaging listen – the best I have heard from an Israeli jazz musician so far this year, and something that will no doubt set most listeners off on a search for live shows. Known for his extremely central status in the scene, I also loved this most established bassist’s bands’ concerts at the important Levontin Festival, Barbie, The Zone, Shablul and Yellow Submarine.

Following the performance, I found a moment to sit down with Rudy and Elad to inquire about the origins of it all:

Q: How did you two meet each other?

R: Ha, that is a funny story. We met in “The New School” in New York and ended up as collaborators.

E: Rudy approached me immediately; we were friends from that moment on.

Q: Two basses is an interesting combination; how did this idea start?

R: As collaborators we got to hear each other practice a lot and we were able to share ideas and concepts because we were only a room away from each other

E: Sometimes, unintentionally, we would react to each other’s musical ideas across the studio and would be jamming together unconsciously. All we needed was to recognize that and start playing together.

Q: You are both veterans of the Bushwick scene when it was just starting, how was it to be in its early stages?

R: Good memories, every basement or loft became a venue and the “job description” was – the more musically extreme, the better. We had many opportunities to experiment with our ideas.

E: Yes! The number of underground venues was huge and we got to play with great musicians at the time, people like Daniel Carter and Lucas Ligeti were frequent visitors who shared the stage with us and gave us inspiration.

And I say that if 2023 starts like this, it's going to be a really interesting and unforgettable year for music.

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Rudy Semah & Elad Muskatel at Hagada Hasmalit, TA

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