Liquid Saloon ‘Liquid Saloon’ (Raw Tapes) 5/5

The self-titled debut project from the super group that comprise Liquid Saloon unites long-term collaborators, and Raw Tapes Records stalwarts, Amir Bresler, Nomok and Sefi Zisling for an exciting and versatile jazz record released through the independent Israeli record label.

Collectively and individually, the work of this incredibly talented trio of musicians has done much to help shape the Raw Tapes sound over the past few years including their work for label mates iogi (‘The Ceiling’, 2018), Echo (‘Calling On Wonders’, 2016) and Nitai Hershkovits (‘I Asked You A Question’, 2016).

Founded in 2008 in Tel Aviv by Yuval Havkin, who himself is perhaps better known by a variety of monikers including his production identity Rejoicer, Raw Tapes Records have embraced their love of instrumental hip-hop, dusty beat tapes and jazz, and have truly proved to be a pioneering record label whose evolution over these last ten years has been staggering. Much of the label’s success can be attributed in large part to the prolific nature of Rejoicer’s music-making and to the contributions of the aforementioned artists. ‘Liquid Saloon’ is very much the continuation of the label’s vision and commitment to genre-defying music and serves as a stellar extension for each of the trio’s output thus far.

In terms of each’s solo work, drummer Amir Bresler can boast his previous single releases ‘Afro Golden Line’ and ‘Fish’ from 2017; trumpeter Sefi Zisling has his solo album ‘Beyond The Things I Know’, also from 2017, and keyboardist Nomok has a variety of projects for Raw Tapes with the earliest beat tape EP dating back to 2013’s ‘Blind Kick’. Each of Liquid Saloon’s members bring a wealth of experience from their own projects as well as their outside contributions to the album that was recorded over a three-month period during weekly recording sessions.

Rejoicer joins Liquid Saloon for production throughout the project even earning himself a guest spot on keyboards for the lush closing number ‘Slow Loris’. Additional musical guests and Raw Tapes affiliates appear including keyboardist Nitai Hershkovits (‘Gueta’) and Eyal Talmudi (‘Belibi’) on clarinet; label mate Jenny Penkin, who herself had an excellent release with last year’s ‘Him, on the other hand’, appears on the album’s only vocal track, ‘Won’t Be Led By Fear’, which is a real highlight, as is the 1970’s style soul of opener ‘Naive By Choice’ and the eclectic genre-mash of ‘Polaroid Banana’, along with its accompanying video.

Last year would have marked Raw Tapes’ 10th birthday and it’s a celebration that is marked through each of their incredible releases including this really thrilling project from Liquid Saloon. Albeit belatedly, happy ten years Raw Tapes, and here’s to another ten!

Imran Mirza