Hagar Levy – I Will Never Know

Hagar Levy sounds like she’s not in a good place in her relationship. In a re-release of ‘I Will Never Know’, taken from her debut album to celebrate its 5 year anniversary, we find her questioning the validity of her relationship. I hope for her sake that she’s still not in that relationship five years on – or at the very least that she now knows who her partner was speaking with on the phone when she arrived home. 

 

It strikes me that Hagar’s intuition is probably spot-on and that her partner is up to no good. If they clam up and don’t want to talk about it then they’ve got skeletons in the cupboard that they shouldn’t be keeping secret in any meaningful relationship. But that’s my naturally suspicious mind at play. It is of course entirely feasible that Hagar’s loving partner was organising a surprise birthday party for her and didn’t want to let on. 

Getting the balance between trusting another and trusting your own instinct is surely at the heart of any successful relationship.

We’re due an update on the relationship status and perhaps Hagar has been honing her neo-soul output this year to provide one. “2021 has been good so far,”, she says when we exchange e-mails. “I’m recording new material and taking my time with new projects. I really hope it will be a good year!!” – there are rumours that this could include putting music to some poems by Emily Dickinson and William Blake. 

I take the chance to ask Hagar, an artist living in Tel-Aviv, about the current Covid situation in Israel. We hear so much about it here in the UK where we’ve taken similar approaches to rapid vaccination. “Yes, Israel is seemingly getting back to some normalcy!“, she says. “Seemingly because the political instability is very grave, but we are out and about, meeting each other, going to restaurants and starting to go to shows…so the vaccines are good i suppose but generally everything is…unclear and unstable :/ But it’s seemingly like that everywhere!!

Hagar is seemingly fond of the word ‘seemingly’. We will never know. All might not be as obvious as it looks if you don’t scratch a little beneath the surface. Taking things at face value might not always be your best option. There are no clear and distinct conclusions to draw from today’s post, save for the song that Sonic Breakfast brings you is a strong one. Of that, there is no question.

Loving Backwards – Gorgeous Pulse

I know that many of my dearest friends have found 2020 a struggle. They tell me that their anxiety is going through the roof and that their panic attacks have become more sustained and frequent. Some won’t see 2021 because they’ve made a choice that this is all too much. It’s not been easy. 

When little makes sense, I often find that a healthy tablet of odd psychedelia clears the mind. And when it doesn’t entirely sort you out, it helps to rewire your brain so that little seems problematic any more. 

Take this track ‘Gorgeous Pulse’ by Loving Backwards. It manages to avoid any elongated pomposity that could be associated with the genre clocking in at a mere three and a half minutes. It doesn’t half pack a punch in that time. 

Changing time signature as often as a Tory Government backtracks (a lot), this wizard piece is the first single from a Tel Aviv consortium led by guitarist and vocalist, Or Izekson. When asked about the title, Or said, “the theme behind the phrase “Gorgeous Pulse” came to my mind while struggling with anxiety outbreaks during a personal crisis, which caused my heart to beat very strong and rapid. Writing this song was a way to address this, as in saying: “it’s OK, dear pulse, you’re absolutely gorgeous, and I have no quarrel with you”.”

‘It’s ok dear pulse, you’re absolutely gorgeous and I have no quarrel with you’ – let the power of that sink in for a second. We all should be telling ourselves how true that is every morning when we wake. It’s a beautiful statement and a helpful thought for these times.

Gorgeous Pulse comes with a magical video as well. An elderly wizard goes on a quest to regain his powers and is helped to do so by a young girl. It’s an epic journey in a short(ish) song but also an opportunity for Or to burn an old, broken guitar that he had at his disposal. 

You are all absolutely gorgeous. Make time for treats this weekend.

Jonathan Levy – Lover Boy

I’m still in Spain. I wasn’t really planning to spend this long over here when I left Blighty back in July. But the virus is raging and I’m now not there for Autumn back home. I have no qualms about missing the most miserable of seasons. Waking every day to bright blue skies here more than makes up for that disappointment.

That’s not to say that it’s all sunshine and laughter over here. There’s a new chill in the air that gets positively biting at night. With no central heating and porous walls, this villa feels the cold more than your standard terrace back in the UK. Tonight, I loaded the fire with wood from the garden and kept myself warm by prodding and poking away at the twigs as the flames flew up the flue. 

Fireside joy (and it is captivating to watch the flames tell their tales as they create their crackles) needs a solid sort of music; for me, you can’t beat a strong dose of acoustic folk when the orange hue is raging. The lyric has to be right; you don’t want a morose, break-up tune or, god forbid, a murder ballad right now. Such songs are better suited to the gently glowing, dying embers at the aftermath. This moment calls for declarations of love that has lasted the distance.

And that’s what you get in Lover Boy from Jonathan Levy. Our hair might be falling out or changing colour and our bodies have most definitely gained a few pounds but we’ve got each other as a constant. This is a tune about stability, about growing old gracefully and fanning the flames of love. 

Jonathan delivers the acoustic ballad (that builds with cinematic flourish) impeccably. Think of the Beatles at their most romantic crossed with Elvis Costello minus the gravelly voice and insane wordplay and you might be in Jonathan’s ballpark. His vocal goes semi-falsetto during the sweet chorus – there’s more than a tinge of Ben Folds in the tone though Jonathan uses guitar rather than piano as his primary instrument. 

The logs burn. The duvet beckons. It’s going to be a cold night. I settle and smile as the consistency takes hold and the future maps out. 

Memory In Plant – An Epic Triumph

“Have you ever been placed in your own prison from your thoughts of how you see your past? We wrapped this feeling in a Up/down beat song.”

It was in this way that Memory In Plant first got in touch with Sonic Breakfast by E-mail.

In truth, this is probably a pretty universal feeling; surely, even the most productive and dynamic of us (I don’t count myself in that group) are trapped. We beat ourselves up over the mistakes we’ve made and the opportunities we failed to take. And seek comfort in repeating patterns of behaviour simply because they’re familiar.

A few weeks later, Memory In Plant sent me a link to their EP, ‘An Epic Triumph’. Intrigued, I listened. There’s much going on. Cluttered yet simple, complex yet accessible, mysterious yet obvious, this is an EP of contrasts. It dabs in the psychedelic paint pot but refuses to be pinned to any genre for too long.

In an effort to get beyond the mystery, I sent an E-mail with questions to the band. Here’s the responses I received: –

Many readers of ‘Sonic Breakfast’ won’t know much about Memory In Plant. How would you introduce yourself to them? What are Memory In Plant about? What makes you get out of bed in the morning?

We are a Psychedelic band with no obligation to a certain genre. The whole point is to do what ever the fuck we want.
The things that makes us get out of bed in the morning (and sometimes at noon) is mainly our day job, but also making our own music which is the perfect escape from it.

You’ve recently released ‘An Epic Triumph’ to positive reviews. What is it that makes you proudest about this EP?

That it’s truly An Epic Triumph! We created this thing that has no specific rules and people really get it.

A fair bit is made of your special recording process? It certainly generates a creative sound. How does this recording/writing process work in practice?

In practice, the writing and recording were as one. The main work was to build the parts of the songs and to make them sound as one unit. The album was recorded in our humble home studios and that was a big part of the sound of this album.
We didn’t try to imitate the sound of professional studios, We used what we had. Because we didn’t work with a time and money limit, we had the chance to use unconventional recording methods and embrace the mistakes.

Who and what are your influences?

We prefer to let the listeners to speculate who and what by hearing our music.

How much does living in Tel Aviv influence the sort of band that you are? Is there a ‘scene’ there and if so, do you sit comfortably within it?

Living in a rough neighbourhood at south Tel Aviv does have its effects on some parts of the album. Living with a lot of immigrates around you, and in Israel as a Melting pot in general, has made dreams of a better places put a kind of new world sound on this album. There is a scene in Tel Aviv and there are some great bands over here, but they are outnumbered than the potential audience. We are not sitting with the scene here, we’re standing with our luggage, ready to tour the big world and to see some amazing places.

A number of reviews have mentioned the ‘psychedelic’ aspects of your recordings. If you were forced to listen to ‘An Epic Triumph’ on a drug, what drug would that be? Combinations also allowed!!!

Actually, we asked our fans this question and as of this moment only one answered us that he would totally hear the album with the after effect of “psychedelic toad licking”. We recommend to listen to the album with all the drugs that you can get (not all at once) and then please contact us and tell us about your trippy experience.

What might the next year hold for Memory In Plant? Do you have any plans for translating these recordings into a live thing?

We are working on the live show a while now, planning on playing where ever they let us. Also working on some new stuff, always.

 

 

For those who are now itching to listen to ‘An Epic Triumph’ in its entirety (highly recommended), you can find it here….