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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Matisyahu: Shattered- Album Review

Matisyahu: Shattered- Album Review

By T.O. Snob

When I first became aware of Matisyahu I assumed he would be a flash in the pan. Somehow the novelty of a Hasidic Jew who raps to reggae couldn't sustain itself.

Boy was I wrong.

This week saw the release of his new EP Shattered. Consisting of four new songs, the EP is a precursor to his forthcoming full length album Light (due in early 2009).

Much of the EP was recorded in Jamaica, and the island vibe is rife throughout the tracks. Matisyahu was joined by Jamaican reggae rhythm combo Sly & Robbie on drum and bass.

The lead-off track "Smash Lies" is the most hip hop song. Opening with banjo and string samples it quickly falls into a groovy hip hop beat over which Matisyahu lays down reggae infused vocals.

The standout song on the EP is "So Hi So Lo". The most rock(ish) track, it is lifted by bright, hopeful vocals and an easy-going mellow ska lilt worthy of Sublime. Speaking of ska, one of the all-time greats, Norwood Fisher of Fishbone fame, joins Matisyahu on the song.

"Two Child One Drop" is an intriguing song. Beginning with the island vibe that permeates much of Shattered, the 6-minute track eventually morphs into a middle eastern style outro.

While I'm still not sold on Matisyahu's ability to stay interesting and vital over the long term, Shattered is a decent feel good EP.

Best track: "Si Hi So Lo"

Track listing for Shattered:
  • Smash Lies- MP3
  • So Hi So Lo
  • Two Child One Drop
  • I Will Be Light
Matisyahu plays the Phoenix in Toronto on Nov. 16th and Metropolis in Montreal on Nov. 17th.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Review: Matisyahu’s new EP Shattered

Matisyahu strays too far from genre on new EP

by Michael Merline
Thursday, October 23, 2008

Matisyahu’s new EP Shattered is awfully short at only four songs and 18 minutes — but that’s a good thing. The accurately titled Shattered plays like a bad stepping stone between albums and should be treated as such.

It’s not that Matisyahu or his cast of bandmates are inherently bad musicians. In fact, that’s pretty far from the case. Matisyahu’s sometimes hard-to-find first album, Shake of the Dust…Arise, is notable for some truly novel moments and at representing a time in the Hasidic-Jewish reggae artist’s career when his lyrics and unique image didn’t feel tired or gimmicky.

But it’s been a solid live album, a mainstream LP that embraced syrupy production and finally a questionable remix-EP since then, and Shattered doesn’t suggest Matisyahu is going to return to that more hypnotic reggae sound. Instead, he just keeps pumping out the pop and not the well thought-out kind. These four new tracks, namely the likely single candidate “So Hi, So Lo,” are overproduced and feel dubiously canned. And who says “So Lo” and honestly expects success?

The moments of hypnotic dancehall digression that marked Shake and make up much of Matisyahu’s more satisfying live performances barely make appearances here. “Smash Lies” trudges along over a tinny drum-line that sounds like it’s pulled straight from a bad 50 Cent outtake, but at least the song’s refrain does shed a few layers of gloss. The whole track should have had that feel, and it’s a damn shame.

Matisyahu seems to have lost all his reggae charm that — for the same reasons Matisyahu was once more intriguing — got everybody and their cousin to buy Bob Marley’s Legend. Shattered moves away from the grimy authenticity inherent in reggae as a genre and instead embraces a soulless digital touch.

And it doesn’t help that Matisyahu’s moralist religious lectures are getting harpy and uninspired instead of refreshingly spiritual and sophisticated. His fun vocal stylings do come through in varying ways on “Two Child One Drop.” If only he didn’t ruin that satisfying moment with such banal lyrics as “These are the demons that come through my life/ They’ve killed me over 1000 times.” For the third studio release in a row, Matisyahu ends on a whiny note (“I Will Be Light” this time around), again asking an unsympathetic frat-party audience to heed his preaching.

Sure, the religious aspect is supposed to be the point of Matisyahu’s music, but people really just want to hear some quality reggae. His nods to traditional Jewish folk music are admirable but sound so out of place mixed with electronic beats and synths that they’re hard to take seriously.

As for the not-so-serious stuff, the few instances of Matisyahu’s beatboxing abilities present on Shattered are buried beneath suffocating production. They sadly feel like poorly-executed afterthoughts when they could have supplied some much needed organic sound — sonic fresh-air — to these new tracks.

Matisyahu’s style is still interesting, but it’s getting less unique. For this reason, the bearded rocker in the black steeple-hat shines in a live format but lets his work get mangled in the studio. Matisyahu is trying to lighten up, which isn’t a bad thing, but adding more and more polish and straying from slinky reggae song structures is going about it the wrong way.

It’s not that Shattered is totally unlistenable. In fact, it spins to a finish before you know it. But its faults keep it from being something worth returning to, and it doesn’t suggest promise for Matisyahu’s next full-length. Another concert recording is in order for Mr. Miller — maybe in the process of putting that out he can get back to his roots and recall what made him a novelty that lasted in the first place.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008



Grammy-nominated artist Matisyahu is back with his newest work, Shattered, out today, October 21, through Epic Records.
Produced by David Kahne (Paul McCartney, Regina Spektor, Sublime), Shattered features songs from Matisyahu's forthcoming album, recorded and mixed in Jamaica, New York, Los Angeles, and Virginia. Several guest artists contribute to the four-song EP: ground-breaking Jamaican reggae rhythm section Sly & Robbie (drums and bass, "Two Child One Drop" and "I Will Be Light"), son of legendary reggae artist Freddie McGregor and among Jamaica’s youngest and most innovative young producers Stephen McGregor (co-producer, keyboards, drum-programming, "Smash Lies") , Fish (drums, "So Hi So Lo") and Norwood Fisher (bass, "So Hi So Lo") of the legendary L.A. alt-punk-ska band Fishbone and experimental turntablist Ooah from the Glitch Mob (co-producer, co-writer, drum programming on "Two Child One Drop").
Enjoy a free copy of "Smash Lies", off of Shattered!

Download Free "Smash Lies" MP3


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Stan Ipcus and Matisyahu "WP"

Stan Ipcus and Matisyahu "WP"

Stan Ipcus brings Matisyahu on stage to perform a remix of "WP" over the Bob Marley "Waiting in Vain" instrumental, live from Piano's in NYC July 2006

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Matisyahu T-Shirts

Matisyahu Shirts

 Long Sleeve T-ShirtMatisyahu, Vice Stencil T-Shirt

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Matisyahu - One Woman Dub

Matisyahu - One Woman Dub

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Matisyahu @ Project Earth 08

Matisyahu @ Project Earth 08

A Special Visitor was kept under wraps,at the Majestic Oaks of Harmony Park during Project Earth 08. Shortly before Wookie Foot wrapped up their set,Jo Jo announced Matisyahu as a special guest, and the crowd went crazy. I love this place, WELCOME HOME!!

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tags: , , , חיפוש ספרים ספרים משומשים ספרים יד שניה ארכיון ספרים חיפוש ספרים חיפוש ספר גינון