Kdoshey Zaglambia

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Released Oct 05, 2016
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Israel Kdoshey Zaglambia (Tomer Damsky &amp; Eyal Bitton) “Play”Roughly 3 months ago I asked the
Jerusalem based artist, singer, instrumentalist, and electronics wiz-kid, Tomer
Damsky to join me as yet another guest in Experimental Israel. Through various
projects in the past two years, I have come across Damsky in the role of
creator, singer and performer, practicing all of the above with a shameless
lack of affiliation to genre and style. This, I must admit, has already but
become a trademark of the younger generation in the local scene, and
specifically something I attributed to the Jerusalem based scene (although
Damsky herself didn’t quite agree as to a clear divide between the different
scenes in Israel). Regardless, she paraded a renegade talent and a voice of her
own that, try as I may, I simply could not pin down stylistically, making her a
prime candidate for that which I attempt to explore through this research.About a week before our scheduled broadcast,
Damsky, who is more often than not an avid collaborator, asked me whether she
could invite a guest of her own on the program, in which they will perform
together. The guest in question is Eyal bitton, a housemate of Damsky’s and a
member of a non-official artists collective based around their shared Jerusalem
flat in the Cats Square. Together Damsky and Bitton form the electronics duo –
Kdoshey Zaglambia (referring, more in cynical jest, to the 100,000 Jewish
inhabitants of the Zagłębie
Dąbrowskie in Poland who were murdered during the 2nd world war). I
obviously relish these opportunities, as they open up the research at hand to
new voices and ideas, and gladly welcomed this new arrangement. Awaiting me in the studio was the duo coupled with two
huge metal plates, one of which was fitted with a metal string as well. The two
would later rattle, hit and mainly bow the same metal plates, which were both
amplified with a pickup and contact microphone, and whose audio signal was sent
into an array of effects that were spread across the studio floor. The two
beautiful sets presented by Kdoshey Zaglambia in the studio corresponded with
noise and drone based music. However, the outcome sounded much richer and much
less prone towards claiming the usual stomping ground of these aforementioned styles.
Rather, it seemed to pass through musical signposts in an improvisatory
fashion, collecting what was needed, and carrying off towards a new destination
until the pieces were finally concluded. However, the real point of interest was during our
interview: Damsky and Bitton, although humouring me at first, seemed quite
reluctant to join my usual analytical tendencies regarding experimental
practices. We managed to get through some of the duo’s biography as an ensemble
and individuals. We continued to inquire deeper into a specific project they
had conceived, involving a task score set to a group of performers in a
site-specific building in Jerusalem. As interesting as this was, we weren’t
really able to extract something more illuminating from the details of this
topic, and soon moved on towards another, namely the Tel-Aviv/Jerusalem divide.
Although here too, Damsky, at first, was willing to indulge my lead, she soon
claimed to have no interest in this type of discourse whatsoever, and it was
only a matter of seconds before she allowed herself, with what seemed like
complete and utter mutual consent, to hijack the interview towards an open
ended improvisation, which Bitton and myself shortly followed. Suddenly, we were in a fantastical radiophonic space
fuelled by the backdrop of cassettes played through a varying speed tape
recorder, and our own voices. We continued to use our cell phones that were
playing our live feed from Halas, and played it back into the studio
microphones, creating a unique type of feedback. Not knowing how serious we
were about the whole thing gave the entire act, for me at least, a feeling of
great excitement. And indeed, in conclusion of our first such session, Damsky
proclaimed: “This is experimentalism”! I call this our first such session, as
shortly after this proclamation, we found ourselves in a mock
interview/improvisation session that took us pretty much to the end of our
program. My immediate intake from this was a realisation of
comedic improv as a complete act of experimentation. Indeed, I doubt whether
there was more than a momentary comical success shared by us in the studio, yet
the playing field felt very familiar even if using very different tools. To me this
also seemed as a highly productive training ground for the creation of specific
radiophonic pieces – we were forced by volition of the moment, and our mutual
choice to participate, to immediately take on the medium and try as much as
possible to utilise it to our best advantage. But more than anything, I have to
claim a connection to a facet I have already noticed before during such
impromptu dealings in our studio, namely calling to mind the program I made
with artist, Uri Katzenstein. In that session, as
well as this, it seemed that the rapport and chemistry between the performing
individuals was the essential factor enabling this state of “play”. “Play”, in
this instance, representing a physical/mental space where a mutual agreement on
supposed “rules” is instated (mainly in order to be broken), coupled with an
amiability or generosity allowing each participant to truly shape the
narrative. So we had a blast in the studio, creating perhaps not
the most meaningful content, yet something that could still illuminate, if only
through practice, that which I try to explore. Not to mention the two riveting
sets presented by the duo, which of themselves could be seen as material shedding
ample light on the topic. However, going through the whole series of events
leading up to the program, there would seem to have been a very important
omission that I would now like to dwell on: Just before the show started, I went
through my usual check of the Halas server by broadcasting a short teaser to
the soon to be aired show. As we have been encountering some technical
difficulties lately, I decided to take extra caution and even played the Halas
page on my cellular device in order to make sure we were broadcasting properly.
I decided to use this handicap and shape it into something a tad more artistic,
and so allowed the microphone in the studio to pick up the broadcast from my
phone, and thus created the aforementioned feedback loop used during our actual
session. The duo was already set in place, open microphones and headsets on,
and as soon as they saw me fooling around in this manner, took their cue to
join in. Before we knew it we were in a three-way improv including voices, cell
phones, tape cassette, and various objects at hand. As I stopped the broadcast,
I said: “shame I didn’t press record, that was pretty cool”. I don’t remember
whether we’d even planned something concrete, but it was obvious to us all in
the studio that we were going to attempt something similar during the
broadcast, and as you heard, attempt we did. In retrospect, it raised the
question of whether that chance moment was not the basis of our later attempt
during the broadcast? Were we trying to recapture something, or rather reach an
optimal goal only hinted upon by that rough yet exciting moment of play? Did we
succeed, or is this perhaps not even a valid goal to set for such
experimentation? Regardless, I couldn’t help but agree even more with Damsky’s
claim that this indeed was true experimentation.  


Instrumental Yes