Un petit chef-d'oeuvre d'inventivité dans lequel les espaces sauvages et arides du Moyen-Orient réussissent à pénétrer une petite salle de répétition perdue dans la banlieue de Tel Aviv, ou Lyon ou Los Angeles ou peu importe, en fait ! Un plaidoyer pour l'universalisme !
Favorite track: Rise Insects, Rise!.
It is said of the Tel Aviv cockroaches that they are not particularily keen on climbing, and thus generally do not impose themselves on those who dwell above the ground floors. If this is indeed the case, and was the case in the early 20th century, then it may easily be imagined that what the composer and performer Zelig Rabitchnyak was most nostalgic for, after having abandoned the Mediterranean to try his luck in America, was precisely that self-restraint of the holy land bugs. Leading a meager existence in the 1910s New Mexico, Rabitchnyak, by then wholeheartedly devoted to his unique vision of merging klezmer with blue grass, had the poor luck of occupying a third-floor apartment literally swarming with the vile insects. Small wonder then that they should also creep their way into his subconscious. In a twisted sort of way we may all be grateful for his misfortune, because Rabitchnyak turned that experience into an opus of rare beauty: a magnificent opera entitled Love for Three Cockroaches.
Now, Igor Krutogolov of the Israeli band Kruzenshtern i Parohod may not have known all this when he embarked on the trip of his life to follow the trail of his musical hero, but he knew he hit gold when he discovered the original notations of Love for Three Cockroaches in a state library. The weight of this finding turned out to be even greater when Krutogolov noticed the date at the bottom of the score sheet: 1913, six years before Sergei Prokofiev composed his acclaimed Love for Three Oranges. Appalled at the obvious injustice, but equally excited by the possibilities, Krutogolov set out to inject life back into Rabitchnyak’s work. Upon studying the seemingly incomprehensible sheets of music, however, he grew weary and doubtful, as if the sullen reality of Rabitchnyak’s daily struggle overpowered and paralyzed him. Krutogolov felt lonesome in his quest to bring Rabitchnyak’s work back to life and came close to abandoning the project altogether. What stroke of chance then that he would stumble upon a gig by Mitch and Mitch, whose love for obscure and forgotten giants of music had materialised in the form of the obscure and widely neglected album entitled Twelve Catchy Tunes (We Wish We Had Composed)! Imagine his surprise and joy upon hearing a tune by Zelig Rabitchnyak. Suddenly, the smelly corpse of the cockroach opera seemed to twitch. It is now not only twitching but very much alive, thanks to two intense recording sessions organised by Auris Media Records and undertaken by Mitch and Mitch together with Kruzenshtern i Parohod in a lovely, cockroach-free, third-floor studio in Tel Aviv in December of 2008 and June of 2009. The little that was left of Rabitchnyak’s original score and the opera’s arias has been filtered through Krutogolov’s and Mitch and Mitch’s personal styles and now beams with raw Eastern European slash Middle Eastern energy which makes the complicated arrangements and fast changes in mood seem natural and effortless. However unpleasant your past experiences were with cockroaches and with opera, you are hereby invited to forget all that and prepare for an unforgettable journey into the mind of Zelig Rabitchnyak, courtesy of Mitch and Mitch and Israel’s maddest – Kruzenshtern i Parohod.
released January 2, 2010
Igor Krutogolov - vocal, saw
Mitch - electric & acoustic guitar, banjo, keyboard, choir
Mitch - bass, percussion, some guitar (but really, just a little), piano & keyboards, stylophone, glockenspiel,choir
Serious Mitch - lotsa percussion, melodica, choir
Mr.Bitch - electric guitar, banjo, percussion
Rev. James Boned Mitch - drums, percussion, some guitar (as above), choir
Boris Martzinovsky - accordion, piano & keyboards, choir
Ruslan Gross - clarinet, choir
Roy Harmon - trumpet
Crackin' Mitch - vibraphone, marimba, glockenspiel
Half-Mitch Half-Ape - chopiano
All tracks are composed by Zelig Rabitchnyak
Arranged by Igor Krutogolov & Mitch & Mitch
Produced by Mitch, Igor Krutogolov, Boris Martzinovsky & Mitch
Recorded on 16/17/18/20 December 2008 & 9/10/11/12/13 June 2009 at Kicha Studios (Tel-Aviv, Israel)
Recorded & mixed by Marko Gurkan
Assisted by Hadar Fridberg, Raz Liran and/or Gal Fisher
Mastered by Dominique Brethes at Wolf Studios (London)
Artwork & design by Igor Krutogolov
Executive producer: Victor Levin