The Brooklyn-based music label Shemspeed attracted international attention recently with their “Israeli remix of the Keffiyeh” (more of a tempest in a teapot, really, than a full-blown controversy), but that shouldn’t distract anyone from what the Jewish music production company spends most of its time doing: producing music.
Shemspeed has put out no less than two new albums in the last week: “Lishmah”, an EP from Darshan, and “Dreams in Static” by Diwon and Dugans. Despite the proximity of their releases, the two albums are profoundly different. Both, however, are best savored in meditative moment.
Darshan - a collaborative effort between Shir Yaakov Feinstein-Feit and Eden “Eprhyme” Pearlstein - melds hip-hop with the minor melodies usually associated with Jewish music. For Pearlstein, “Lishmah” follows on the heels of his solo album, “WayWordWonderWill” which was released in September. As Forward columnist Jay Michaelson wrote in his review,
What Eprhyme offers, like Matisyahu and Y-Love and others before him, is a Jewishness that is part of a global polyglot of choose-your-own-adventure identities, musical and otherwise. This is a nontriumphalist, nondual Judaism that celebrates Jewish particularism precisely because of its place within a multicultural pluralism. “We’re all one but all different — that’s what makes us so strong,” as Eprhyme distills it.
Much the same could be said of “Lishmah”, although in this case Eprhymes hard-driving lyrics are tempered and sweetened by Shir Yaakov’s more melody-driven sensibilities.
Meanwhile, “Dreams in Static” occupies an otherworldly, post-rock, electro-instrumental universe. A project of Diwon (aka “founder, director and mastermind” of Shemspeed Erez Safar) and Texas guitarist Dugans, “Dreams in Static” will officially be launched at the Shemspeed Winterfest on February 10.