Exposé Online banner

Ahvak — Ahvak
(Cuneiform Rune 185, 2004, CD)

by Peter Thelen, 2004-04-01:

Ahvak Cover art

Dave Kerman said he was playing with a cool band over in Israel, and they were about to release their first album… but I sure wasn’t prepared for something of this caliber. Ahvak, a six piece of guitar, bass, two keyboardists (one doubling on sax, clarinet, and other stuff), drums, and computer, sound like a band of seasoned professionals (which they indeed are), not a new band on their first release. They are firmly in electrified chamber rock territory, often with a driving ferocious expediency that boldly eclipses their peers, who have clearly influenced their direction. The primary composers are the two keyboardists, Udi Susser and Roy Yarkoni, whose compositions bask in complexity and sheer chaotic splendor, exploring dark regions of tension, melodic alienation, and powerful contrasts, all with a burning urgency. When Kerman and bassist Ishay Sommer kick in, the busy and hectic structural support from the bottom supports an eclectic framework that gives every player a voice. Guitarist Yehuda Kotton blisters away under the surface, painting angular counterpoint and furious textures. The final piece of the puzzle is Udi Koomran on computer, treating and effecting the sound and offering some unique sonic events within the fabric of the musical mayhem that further edifies the results. There are vocals in a couple places – some understated spoken parts on the opener, and some heavily treated singing on the lengthy title track. Fans of Present, Miriodor, Henry Cow, Univers Zero, and the like will find plenty here to get excited about.


by Jeff Melton, 2004-04-01:

Sometime during recording of 5uu’s Abandonship, it became apparent to drummer Dave Kerman that he could no longer reside in the US and properly incorporate his unique set of musical influences. So what better idea than to go to the source and infuse a Middle Eastern inspiration? Ahvak is the band name of his joint endeavor with Israeli musicians of high caliber. Onboard again is Udi Koomran who has been Dave’s compositional counterpart since UTotem, and here suspiciously credited with computer. Composer credits lie with keyboardists Udi Susser and Roy Yarkoni who blend insanity, and crafted composition. “Bertha” lies in that all-important number two track location that usually makes or breaks an album and the song is a scorcher. Familiar flashes of Present are apparent throughout the disc but with a further emphasis on organized dissonance and a folksy flavor. Guitarist Yehuda Kotton is used sparingly throughout the disc; his sole songwriting composition is “Melet” that translates to cement in the native language. His contrasting piece begins with an acoustic guitar introduction that quickly veers off into Zappa territory. It’s clear that Kerman (despite his feelings that prog is dead) and this group use a similar approach to Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters. By extracting the root of a music source, they manage to bypass plateaus of earlier success. Fans of Present and Universe Zero will again rejoice as Kerman forges ahead. Highly recommended.


by Sean McFee, 2004-04-01:

Ahvak is an Israeli six-piece featuring a mix of newcomers and veterans of the progressive music scene. The two chief composers are Roy Yarkoni and Udi Susser, who both play keyboards (Susser doubles on woodwinds and Turkish ethnic instruments). Yehuda Kotton and Ishay Sommer accompany on guitar and bass (Kotton contributes a composition), while Dave Kerman (5uu’s, Thinking Plague, Blast, etc.) appears on drums. Continuing a trend we saw with Univers Zero’s Rhythmix, everything is recorded to computer where it can be further manipulated, in this case extensively by Udi Koomran, who has collaborated with Kerman in the past and can be seen as a sixth member of the group. I can only imagine Ahvak enjoyed working with Kerman a great deal, because the compositions bear a palpable influence from his previous work. Indeed it’s very much in the spirit of 5uu’s to take harmonically challenging compositions with jarring, mechanistic rhythms, and marry them with studio effects. The freshness in this case comes from Ahvak’s traditional elements, a Turkish / Balkan / Middle-East sensibility that pokes through the dissonant machinery like some weird Ottoman cyborg. Take a pinch of Univers Zero circa Heresie, add some Bulgarian wedding music, and roast over Noah’s Flame, and you have a pretty good idea what to expect.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 29 , 2004 releases

Related artist(s): Dave Kerman, Ahvak

More info
http://cuneiformrecords.bandcamp.com/album/ahvak

Latest news

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Magnum - Progressive Classics – This English "pomp-rock" (as those silly British metal mags used to call it) band has been around for donkey's years. Wide spread fame always seemed to elude them however, but given the...  (2000) » Read more

Cabezas de Cera - Fractal Sónico – I’m really late onto the CdC bandwagon. I’m sure most Exposé readers already know how wonderful this Mexican band is, but somehow I missed out till now. I must be the perfect audience for this...  (2007) » Read more

Robert Rich - Trances / Drones – This may be my favorite rerelease of the year, especially in the electronic/ambient vein. Trances and Drones were Stanford-based composer Rich's second and third cassette releases in 1984. While Rich...  (1995) » Read more

Volcano the Bear - Classic Erasmus Fusion – If you thought the weird bits of Ummagumma weren’t weird enough, have I got a band for you. We’re mostly out in Residents territory, only with a psychedelic edge, and you can have a little...  (2007) » Read more

Mahavishnu Orchestra - The Lost Trident Sessions – Out of the vaults come recordings for an aborted third album by the original line-up of the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Time to celebrate! This was the band who set out to chisel a trail across jazz and...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues