Following up his 2007 ode to Paul Celan, Dan Kaufman writes a gothic masterpiece inspired by the ancient Roman Jewish community and the Italian Resistance to the Nazi occupation of Italy. Tracks like album opener “Et Shaare Ratzon” are swirling ahistorical melodies packed with aural hooks and haunting poetry about World War II.
“Pillar Without Mercy”
My album of the year matches hasidic niggunim with the slow burn of doom metal. The familiar chants aren’t malleable; even slowed down into trudging dirges they maintain their sweeping ecstasy propelled into divine transcendence. Originally hasidic songs borrowed tunes from Polish bar songs and the French national anthem — in 2013 it is up to the task of transforming doom metal from something foreboding into something holy.
By The Epichorus
JTS semicha candidate Zach Fredman and Sudanese singer Alsarah make gorgeous music together on their debut, “One Bead.” The way Jewish devotional hymns and North African chants mix together is testament to the power and elegance of the two lead singers, whose voices intertwine around Hebrew and English lyrics in peaceful meditation.