Itamar Kluger is best known for his work with the Şatellites, a six-piece band whose blend of Turkish folk and psych with funk and disco won them champions and listeners across the globe, from KEXP in Seattle to BBC Radio 6 Music, and FIP in France.
With Eje Eje, Itamar brews a fresh blend of psychedelic rock and funk, incorporating a wide range of influences, from Levantine dabke, Persian bandari music played at weddings and other celebrations, the traditional “Khaliji” music heard across the Gulf, and Turkish traditional folk music, to the more international renown sounds of Afrobeat, Saharan blues, indie rock, electronica, and Jamaican roots & dub.
Eje Eje’s special blend of musical perspectives reflects Itamar’s interest in humankind’s subjective perception of reality, informed by national and global cultural movements and traditions, and insistence on collectively creating and sharing stories, at times to explain the unexplainable.
Itamar noted the difference between the symmetrical Western concept of four seasons, celebrated by Vilvaldi, versus the five seasons of the Chinese calendar, winter, spring, summer, end of summer, and fall. The end of summer is a short season, characterized by the elemental earth, the time of year when fruit fall and rot beneath the trees.
Each of the tracks on ‘Five Seasons’ reflects the spirit of the season in which it was written, and the terrain that inspired it, from the arid, mountainous desert to the sleepy streets of Eje Eje’s hometown of Haifa and the busy crowded streets of Jaffa, Tel Aviv, where he currently reside.
Bass and percussion combine into a deadly groove on the lead single “Black Sea Majic”, laying the groundwork for a mantra-like saz to lead the melody, accompanied by giggling synths, mimicking the sound of the woodwind Armenian duduk, building into a continuous trace, the beginning half forgotten and the end lost. Hearing it back, Itamar imagines a bustling market in a small town by the shores of the Black Sea.
Recorded in spring, “Saved from the Jazz” provided the first taste of this new project, appearing on Batov Records’ first full compilation of ‘Middle Eastern Grooves’. A beautiful collage of guitar grooves over a deadly drum rhythm. This continues on “That Rainy Dawn”, a winter piece that slowly evolves, featuring an electro baglama over an Egyptian baladi rhythm.
‘Five Seasons’ invites the listener on an incredible journey, across the year, from the desert to the crowded streets of Jaffa, via an incredible soundtrack drawing on a plethora of relatable sounds traded and heard across the region, both traditional and modern.