Noisy is available at:
Tel Aviv, Israel
Written & Composed by: Noga Erez, Ori Rousso and Matan Spenser
Produced, Arranged and Mixed by: Ori Rousso & Noga Erez
Production: Poly Creative
Directed & filmed: Hen Makhluf
Editor: Guy Landshaft
Producer: Ayala Drori
Choreography: Gal Gold
Dancers: Gal Gold, Hila Pilo, Shani Ben David, Mor Adelle Nahum.
Animation: Danna Grace Windsor
Styling: Chumi Polak
Hair & M.U: Ronelle Goshen
Hair & M.U. assistant: Sapir Esgav
D.o.P. assistant: Ilay Mevorach
Lighting: Noam Huber
Grip: Denis Nikolaev
Production Assistant & Stills: Arye Tzion
Sfx: Ori Rousso
Vfx: Hen Makhluf & Guy
The album, Off the Radar, is available at:
I am getting all international with my reviews…
PHOTO CREDIT: Sasha Prilutsky
at the moment. Yesterday, I reviewed a Serbian-born artist: next week, I have a New York-based Opera singer and an Australian musician on the agenda. Next weekend is about the boys: this week I am dedicating to the girls. Not just any girl in this case – Noga Erez is one of those rising stars who is, it seems, too big for the likes of me. I feel a sense of responsibility reviewing someone who is practically at the mainstream. Regardless, I am compelled to look at a fantastic female artist who seems primed for worldwide stardom. Before I look at her, I want to investigate critical reaction and the importance of accruing terrific reviews; Israel and Tel Aviv’s music scene; making videos that stick in the mind; making music that unites different people; key inspirations and fusing them together – looking at international artists who cement a reputation in the U.K. Noga Erez is someone who, despite being in music a relatively short time, has a catalogue of reviews most decades-established artists would be envious of. She has caught the ear of The Observer – labelling her “Israel’s most defiant star” – and Sunday Times Culture – who see her as too fierce to be labelled. DIY and Wonderland tip her for long-term success – and support the notion she is fearless – and Quiet & Loud, referencing her videos, feel the combination of music and visuals is hard to beat. It might sound dangerous bringing other reviewers in but it is important to see how far and wide Erez’s music has resonated. Here, she is being taken to heart and seen as one of the best young musicians around. I am interesting seeing how various critics view an artist and what their interpretation is. It might seem risky, being a journalist, bringing others in – maybe distracting from my own review – but, in Erez’s case, there seems to be a consensus. I am stunned by the fearlessness of the Israeli artist. She seems to have no limitations and approaches music with a verve and bravery few others possess. The critics have been out in force and paying tribute to a musician that is in a league of her own. Erez does not play with convention and projects music meaningful to her. So many young artists are determined to fit into the mainstream or wary if pushing themselves out of the blocks.
PHOTO CREDIT: Timo Kerber / Photography
There is that desire to have some conventional sound – so they do not alienate themselves from the pack – and attract reviewers and fans in. As we can see, when it comes to Erez’s reviews, that distinct and bold approach to music has garnered her fabulous feedback. I see a lot of artists get incredible reviews but they are reluctant to share them with people. It is not boastful and arrogant putting them out there. In the case of Erez – I got the information from her P.R. company – she has some of the most impressive reviews I have seen for any artist. That shows she is doing something right and creating music that seems immune to criticism. What I like about the reviews is the variation and diversity of the sources. She is not an artist who appeals to a certain sector/genre. Her Electro-Pop blends are open and versatile enough they appeal to every type of music lover. For a new artist, the desire is to get into the critical mindset and get some positive impressions. Naturally, social media feedback is key; comments on YouTube can be constructive but the journalists are the ones who can make or break an artist – impressing them is quite important. Of course, Erez does not make music solely for critics. She is a singular talent creating music for her fans but, reading that impassioned list of reviews, it must give Erez heart and determination. There are some big newspapers/sites on that list which she should wear with pride. One can underestimate the relevance of mainstream/press positivity but it is very important. I will try and add my own spin to Erez’s music and try to pen some unique thoughts. Many have highlighted her brave and experimental approach; the way she mingles stunning visuals with bracing music – a wonderful young star who has the makings of a future legend.
It has been a little while since I have been to Israel for my reviews. ADI was the last artist I reviewed from the country. There are a fair few who might be unfamiliar with Israel and assume its music scene is quite bare. In terms of historic acts; one has plenty of options. Hadorbanim was an Israeli Disco/Pop/Funk/Rock band who was famed for their howling guitars and spectacular instrumental blends – they even employed a philharmonic orchestra to create some of their songs. They split in 1999 but left the world with three incredible albums. Zohar Argov, considered the king of Mizrahi music, is one of Israel’s most popular talents. Lazer Lloyd was born in New York but spent the majority of his career in Israel. Taught by musicians like Milt Hinton and Randy Brecker; Lloyd’s melting of religion and music was won him many fans. Rockfour, still going, are a Psychedelic-Rock band who writes in English. Influenced by The Beatles and The Who – among others – they are one of Israel’s biggest acts. There are some other legendary artists but it is the new breed that interests me. I have already mentioned ADI. She is a Future-Beats talent who has gained a huge following around the world. She is certainly one of Tel Aviv’s biggest exports – even though she remains there - and is someone to watch carefully. Erez is based in a nation that should not be ignored when it comes to new music. The local press has been a bit quiet for the last couple of years (in Israel) but, they have suggested some terrific names. Tamar Eisenman is a guitar-singer who produces her own work and has a long list of fantastic songs. Hit Me is, perhaps, her biggest track but has plenty of incredible songs to her name. She is based out of Jerusalem and sings in English and Hebrew. Tiny Fingers are the Post-Rock/Electronic groove band who have forged a name for themselves in Israel, the U.S. and Europe. The quartet provides soundscapes – some lasting forty-five minutes – that enchant the listener and has impressed critics. Ethiopian-Israeli singer-songwriter Ester Rada has progressed well the last couple of years and brings a unique blend of Ethio-Jazz and R&B to the adoring public.
Noga Erez is, in my view, the finest artist coming out of Tel Aviv – I shall talk more about the city in a minute. It is unsurprising she is so driven and productive right now. If one looks at some of the more modern artists she is surrounded by; there is enough to suggest Israel is one of the most fertile and fascinating nations for music. Lola Marsh is a band most have heard of. The synchronised harmonies and stunning songs have resounded around the world. They formed in 2013 (in Tel Aviv) and started as a duo – Yael Shoshana Cohen and Gil Landau; they are now a quintet. Sirens, their biggest hit, gained one-million streams on Spotify and has appeared on American T.V. Hoodna Orchestra is an ensemble from Tel Aviv who have free-flowing Afrobeat at their disposal; Middle Eastern flavours and dancefloor-filing rhythms. They are a hugely sought-after live act and make the feet move – gig-goers are helpless to resist the power and prowess of the beats. The band formed in 2012 and released their debut album in 2015 – last year was hugely successful and they are making big moves this year. Vocalist/songwriter Gal De Paz has been labelled ‘Israel’s Janis Joplin’ and is the leader of Rock band, The Paz Band. A fantastic group who have the potential to evolve from local roots and make an impression in other nations; Tigris see themselves as an ‘Afrodelic Power-Pop’ band but, in truth, are a crazy-catchy band that brings together a plethora of styles. They source from Ethiopia and West Africa; Caribbean splashes of the 1970s and contemporary Rock and Electronic. On Shoulder of Giants is an eight-member collective who have a background in Punk, Metal and Jazz. They provide a huge explosion of sounds and colours: one of the most astonishing live acts in Israel and ones to watch. This seems like a length diversion but it shows the type of acts playing in Israel. Noga Erez hails from a city that, not only has a vibrant and consistent music scene, but some of the best venues around.
Barby – down in Derech Kibbutz Galiot 52 – is one of the most reputable Indie-Rock venues in the city. Thurston Moore and Blonde Redhead have played there – a terrific space for upcoming acts and legendary groups. Zappa Club has outposts in Jerusalem and Haifa that has seen the likes of Hadag Nachasha and Animal Collective play. It is situated away from the hurly-burly of the inner-city (up in the north of Tel Aviv) and perfect if you want some quiet (comparatively) and a wonderful spread of music. Park Hayarkon has hosted some legends in the past – Michael Jackson and The Rolling Stones – and contemporary figures such as Rihanna. Radio EPGB has graffiti-painted inner décor and replicates the flair and looks of New York’s CBGB and brings together well-known artists with the best of the new breed. The Tel Aviv nightlife is bustling with funky beats, renowned D.J.s and bands that set alight the live scene. One can enjoy a film down at Lev or the Cinematheque or enjoy the fantastic history and beauty of the city. It is the live music – from Jazz jams to multi-genre festivals – that sets Tel Aviv apart. Small wonder Noga Erez has taken so much from Tel Aviv and creates such spectacular and immediate sounds. She makes music that unites various different people and has created an enormous amount of affection. It is hard creating music that brings disparate groups together but that is what Erez has done. Maybe it is her range of influences – more on that in a bit – but, I feel, it has something to do with Tel Aviv and the way she works. Certainty, there is something magic in the air (out there) but, as a musician, she tackles songwriting in a different way. There is that fearlessness and bold approach that has already stunned critics. The sounds are never overly-marketable but have that tangibility – keen not to push the listener away with anything too strange and odd. What strikes me about Erez is her blend of Israeli sounds and U.K./U.S. influences. It is obvious her home provides so much impetus and inspiration. From the bustling streets and gorgeous views; that mix of cultures, nationalities and religions – the incredible nightlife and spectacular music that drips from every wall and window.
I shall move on soon but, before then, I wanted to look at something not often mention in music reviews: the music video and how vital that is. Many artists, most, in fact, have to produce them but I wonder how much prominence they are afforded. By that, I am concerned many see it as an inevitable stage of marketing: not expending too much effort and imagination with their videos. It is understandable, to a degree. It is exhausting taking care of all parts of music and it can be difficult finding a budget to create a video that is ‘sufficient’ and impressive. That said; one can produce a video that captures the mind and remains in the memory. I am really interested in the music video and what artists can come up with. It is the chance to do something fantastic and get involved in filmmaking. Look back through the years and all those music videos we love and cherish. For me, I remember those videos that stray from the ordinary and take a lot of skill. I have admiration for simplicity but, thinking about directors like Michel Gondry: his videos are some of the most enduring of all time. The French director has just created a film, Détour, shot entirely on the iPhone 7 Plus. It is worth watching this because; it shows what an imagination and low budget can lead to. Of course, Gondry is famed for his stylish and magical videos – ones that skew visuals and mess with the mind. It is Hard to summarise and define but you need to look at his back catalogue and impressive C.V. Looking at Erez and one gets a similar sense of amazement and originality. Off the Radar, her previous song, was met with acclaim. Not only because of the phenomenal sound but its arresting visuals. "The video takes place at a bizarre sports event where all the participants are weird and eccentric creatures,” says Erez. “We wanted to create a world that shows characters who are trapped in a loop of trying to prove themselves. The judges of this contest are faceless. They express their approval by their moving hands, though you can't really tell whether they like or dislike the performances. It's a very festive looking, yet very alienated world".
PHOTO CREDIT: @juliadrummond
Directors Eden Kalif and Daniella Meroz add that it “deals with the concept of being judged, and the perceived necessity of having to meet the expectations of others. The characters perform in a ‘competition’ that has no real ending or winner, just like we feel when we put ourselves deep in the race of life”. It is small wonder the video got such a reaction and acclaim when it was unveiled to the world. New track, Noisy, provides a similar treat for the senses. It is a remarkable promotional video that emanates from an artist fascinated by visuals and their power. What I love about Noga Erez is the way she mixes the surreal with fantastical. There are dancers and strange figures; mind-melting, drug-infused trippiness and all manner of incredible scenes. For Noisy; it is more conventional but no less striking. There are dancers and attacks; a confidence that reminds me of Beyoncé and M.I.A. In fact, both artists come to mind when watching the video. Erez, in it, is in command and strutting; she wields a baseball bat and creates a sassiness and vitality that puts me in mind of those legends. The video is different to her previous work but shows a consistency and sense of creativity few of her peers share. I am amazed by the visuals of Noisy and the way the video gets into the mind. Whilst there have been some YouTube detractors – isn’t it always the way there?! – one cannot deny the way the video makes its presence known and perfectly accompanies the song’s lyrics. The track itself, as I shall expand upon, is brimming with passion, prowess and force. It would be easy to make a video that was needlessly brash – with very little imagination and intelligence – but that is not the case with Noga Erez.
I have mentioned artists like M.I.A. already. That is someone Erez takes inspiration from. Aside from that; Björk is someone who has made a big impression. It is hard to say when these artists came to Erez’s mind but, looking at her background, it is extraordinary the way she came into music. She was born four days before the Gulf War started and there was, it seems, no doubt music would be her vocation. It would have been easy to let the turmoil and instability around her derail her flair and passion for music. That way of escaping – getting inside the music and a safer world – was instrumental in her young life. Growing up on local artists of Tel Aviv and sounds she heard on the radio; that has led to a young artist who combines some inspiration legends and fresh sounds. Of course, she is her own boss and not beholden to any other musicians. She wants to, as she’s said, provide escapism and fun for people – Erez is not naïve and knows what importance music has. Not taking that for granted; the way she blends her influences into her own works is deeply impressive. Working in collaboration with her partner Ori Rousso; there is a cerebral quality and curiosity that is loveable and mind-blowing. Yes, there are elements of M.I.A. and fka Twigs; bit of Frank Ocean and Flying Lotuses – acts she takes guidance from – but the individuality and originality reign large. Erez explains how people come from different backgrounds – and can have different stories – but share the same love of music. There is a singularity that can be born from the compartmentalisation of the human experience. Every musician has influences but I am impressed by the range and quality of the names Erez takes from. Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean are two of America’s best; there are shades of Tel Aviv musicians and some British idols too. I have mentioned how sensational Tel Aviv’s sounds and artists have made an impression on the wider world.
PHOTO CREDIT: @chrisssalmeida
I will come to look at Noisy very soon but, before I come to the song, I want to chat about international artists that manage to transcend from local levels and make a name for themselves in the world market. For Erez, she has worked around Israel and spent her formative years performing at some of the best spots in Tel Aviv. It is easy to remain there and take full advantage of the magnitude and diversity of the live scene. Gaining popularity and acclaim; Erez embraced her wanderlust and has travelled the world. Erez has been busy touring and has many great dates approaching – I shall allude to them in the conclusion. It is always encouraging when artists manage to cement a reputation internationally. Critics and journalists are aware of Israel’s music scene but one wonders how effective their features are. I have mentioned some great artists in Israel but how many other people are aware of the country’s music scene? It seems likely those genuine music lovers know about Israel but you’d be surprised. Too much focus is reserved for the U.S. and U.K. – we do not often explore beyond the obvious and different nations. That has to change because, as I have found, being more adventurous leads to some fantastic discoveries. Israel is hardly a new nation or minor one of that: it is a packed and stunning nation for new music. International artists play there and always take something special away. Erez has gained local acclaim but has seen her music translate throughout the world. The demand is there, and so, she has found herself traversing the globe and taking her music to the masses. I hope that continues because she is one of those artists you feel will be hitting the mainstream very soon. The U.K. is a natural base for her and country that has taken Erez’s music to heart. I hope she spends more time in the country and gets requests from other nations.
PHOTO CREDIT: @Yinon fuchs
The opening seconds of Noisy feature a bit of howl and spectral electronics. The song sort of rushing in from nowhere and catches you off guard. There is no huge compositional arrival but the sound of Erez in the spotlight. Her voice is stern and resonant but has some vulnerability and affection to it. “Hold me/I’m just trying to be good” are intriguing opening sentiments that get the mind working in all sorts of ways. There is that romantic possibility but, also, the potential of rebellion and a free spirit – someone who needs to be held back because there is that temptation to strike and run. It seems it is “all talking” at the moment and the noise is quite distracting. There is the need to shut it all off – that sentiment is repeated for maximum effect – and, whether it is a needless conversation or an explosion of sound, it causes the heroine to flee and take action. In the first stages, there are those tribal/bellicose beats that summon physicality and provoke strutting. The listener engages with a funkiness and swagger of the beats; the sheer sway and entrance of the electronics – the heroine up-front and singing with pride and intent. Soon enough, maybe as an ironic nod to the noise and chatter around her – Erez unleashes a repeated wordless chorus that mimics an electronic beat. It stridulates and vibrates to create the sensation of the head spinning and mind buzzing. It is at this point – building from the tension and stress of the opening –the heroine gets involved and strides into the open. Follow the video and one will see Erez joined by some female cohorts. They step boldly into action – Erez wielding a baseball bat – and seem to be confronting a person. The “poor kid in a wealthy town” does not want sympathy or any sort of dispensation. She does not want problems or troubles but is responding to a situation that is causing her dismay and annoyance.
Perhaps, Erez is responding to the way she views music – all noise and chatter without much substance and meaning. She is in a part of Israel that is quite prosperous but not enjoying the same comforts and privilege of many. The same can be said of somewhere like London: different boroughs that vary in terms of their people and wealth. Erez does not want to be understood but she knows this countdown – perhaps the struggle and time it takes to create a music career – is going to be long. She knows all this and is not naïve. Many come into music and assume things are going to happen instantly. This is not the case here: the heroine is armed for the challenge and ready for the fight. Maybe, there is somewhere who assumes she is ingénue and rather young – not quite ready for what is ahead of her. Instead, she is hungry but has a pragmatic and settled perspective. The lyrics have an oblique quality to them and do not instantly allude to a particular person or subject. One can extrapolate what they want and interpret the words in different ways. In my mind; I got the idea of a young woman who wants a lot of success and accomplishment but is entering music at a difficult time. Her homeland is wonderful and vibrant but she is modest and candid. There are those who try to deter her or build up unrealistic expectations; maybe try and get to her or assume she is someone she is not. Noisy builds throughout and gets more intense as it progresses. A lot of Tel Aviv’s finest and most striking young artists mix electronic sounds and beats with elements of other nations. Like ADI; Erez creates warrior vibes and rumbling percussion; together with African beats and British-American sounds. It is a scintillating concoction that provokes all manner of reactions.
PHOTO CREDIT: Ron Kohen
There is, it seems, contractual obligations and issues in music. Perhaps personal relationships are being assessed but, one hears a young woman who is addressing the struggles and realities of music. There might be some people trying to distract Erez and tell her she can’t make it. That endless noise and chatter is getting to her but she is fighting back and brashly reacting. That sense of confidence and physicality is the biggest impression one gets from Noisy. The song is a mantra and anthem from a young woman who is trying to make her own way in music – she is, it seems, having to confront a lot of naysayers and people that are not on her side. Many artists might take it to heart and let it get them down. Conversely, Erez is reacting with defiance and self-pride. She knows it will be a long road but is prepared for the fight and tough days. Maybe I am misinterpreting the lyrics but that is what I get from the song. It is a track about purity and individuality – voices contradicting and trying to lead her stray – and that battle to remain pure and original. Noisy is a typically strong and exciting cut from Off the Radar. Thinking about that album title, in the context of the song, and it might be about a yearning for anonymity and private. Erez may yearn for time to create music and a life she wants to live. That pressure and expectation is on her: leading to tension and a need to speak out. Whatever the true circumstances of Noisy; it is a passionate and fantastic moment from a young artist who is no short supply of confidence and ability. Her L.P. has fifteen tracks and each sound essential and needed. There is no wastage and indulgence when it comes to Noga Erez. Make sure you check out Noisy – and its incredible video – and fall for a musician who has many more years to come.
Off the Radar is the fifteen-track album from Nora Erez – it is a month old and has been gathering some great reviews. That is no surprise considering the quality and innovation she brings to the songs. Noisy is a terrific and bold track that has caught the imagination and made a big impact with critics around the world. She plays the Melt! Festival, in Germany, on 13th July; she heads to Italy at the end of the month. We will hear her in the U.K. on 5th August – as part of the Visions 2017 festival – and she remains in Europe until November. Well, she gets to go back home but it seems there is a huge amount of love for her over here. I see there are few U.S. dates approaching but that is likely to change. Let’s hope cities like New York and Los Angeles come to their senses and get Erez over there. The U.S. approach has provided her some kind words: there is a big fanbase for her music in America and I know that is only likely to increase. I would be shocked were she to remain quiet in the next few years. Off the Radar is an ironical title: the Israeli singer is very much ON the radar and in the mindset right now. I am confident Erez will transcend to rare heights and, very soon, make it as a mainstream artist. She has the potential and the aptitude to handle the responsibilities. I can appreciate the lure and gravitas of Tel Aviv. It is a marvellous city and one that has created so many great musicians. It would be tempting to remain there but I can see Erez relocating to somewhere like the U.S. I know there are opportunities in Israel but, the bigger she becomes, the harder it might be sustaining a career there. The U.S. and U.K. are stocked and capacious enough to accommodate her ambitions and demands. Maybe I am wrong but it would be nice, selfishly, if she moved to London.
I will bring the review down but, before I do, a quick recap concerning some of the points I raised earlier. I want to look back at Israel and Tel Aviv; music videos and creating memorable visuals; bringing influences into your music and why it is important to get under the critical skin. As I said earlier; I have not reviewed an Israeli artist for a while – ADI was on these pages a few months back. How many of us ‘get away’ from the U.K. and investigate musicians from other parts of the globe?! I think we are too restricted and have little time seeing what other nations are producing. Many countries are a bit threadbare when it comes to impressive music. That is not the case with Israel: one of those nations that consistently pumps out tremendous and promising musicians. There are some incredible live venues there and a great atmosphere. The people are warm and friendly; the history of places like Tel Aviv eye-catching and wondrous. I have never been there but must make time to visit the nation. I can see why Tel Aviv is so special to Erez. She is surrounded by myriad sounds – African and Middle Eastern elements; Western influence and all styles – and every genre you can think of. I have mentioned a few Israeli artists that are worth time and appreciation. It is a wonderful nation and one that deserves a lot more time. Noga Erez is one of the biggest exports of Israel and shows the inventiveness and quality of the music emanating from there. I am fascinated by the music videos Noga Erez produces. They are always staggering and skilful. I love Noisy’s video as it is one that differs from previous work but is no less bold and imaginative. Many artists struggle to create enduring music videos and one wonders whether that is an issue with the budget. Noisy is a track/video that does not need a lot of money to make sure it sticks in the mind.
PHOTO CREDIT: Sasha Prilutsky
I am fascinated by music videos and why various musicians chose to create the films they do. The classic videos are notable for a number of different reasons. I have mentioned Michel Gondry already. He is someone who pushes the limits of the mind and can summon something profound and mind-blowing with little budget. Other directors, like Chris Cunningham, are noted for their darker and more disturbing videos – although he has a great emotional range and should not be pigeonholed. Whatever you look for in a music video; there are plenty of options out there. Noga Erez is an artist who grew up at a time when great artists like Björk were hitting their stride. She is someone I hear a lot of in Erez. That same quirkiness and genre-fusing ability. There are elements of M.I.A. in Erez; older artists and legends from the 1970s – plenty of modern artists, local and international, that go into a terrific melting pot. There are few that have such a variegated, vibrant and fulsome set of influences as Erez. It is clear music was a huge role model in her early life. Being born after the turmoil of the Gulf War; the distraction and escapism of music was vital. Erez writes music that helps others escape so that must stem from her childhood. I engaged myself in music from a young age but did not have the same upbringing and circumstances as Erez. I am impressed by the way she can unite disparate sounds and make it sound original and fresh. I will bring this to a close but want to return to that opening point about critical acclaim and how important that is. If some YouTube commentators have been less-than-positive regarding Erez: the critics have been fairer and seen the true potential of her music. There are few as immediate, impactful and urgent as Erez. I know there are artists who take from M.I.A. and acts like that – able to summon the same sort of command and physicality. There is something special about Noga Erez that means her music (and visuals) get into the brain and compel you to follow her career. That career is getting stronger and more impressive by the release. Off the Radar is an album that announces her potential and key strengths. The critics have already shown their affection and, given the fact the album is so affecting, that praise is going to increase. Noisy is a typical cut that proves Tel Aviv’s Noga Erez is…
PHOTO CREDIT: Ori Rousso
AS exciting as they come.
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