Guest Selector: Moscoman

Feature by Claire Francis | 02 Nov 2016

Moscoman takes us on a tour of Tel Aviv's best clubbing locations, and shares ten of the best tracks from his homeland ahead of the release of his Subaru Pesha collaboration EP 

September 2016 marked a defining moment in the burgeoning career of Israeli-born DJ, producer, remixer and label owner Chen Moscovici – specifically, the release of A Shot In the Light, his debut album. Now based in Berlin, Moscovici aka Moscoman is best known for his playful house music productions that incorporate the unique sounds of the Middle East.

On 4 November the Disco Halal label boss will unveil his latest project Subaru Pesha, a collaborative EP with friends (and fellow Tel Aviv natives) Red Axes and French artist Krikor, with Roman Flügel providing remixes. Ahead of the EP drop, these ten selections for The Skinny reflect Moscoman’s influences while growing up in Israel, along with the tracks that currently inspire him.

“There is no specific kind, every night is a different story,” says Moscovici of the most heavily played types of club music in his homeland. “There are a lot of imports every week and it sets the tone of what's up. But the locals play local music mainly and there is no shortage of local talent.

“I think Tel Aviv is much more happening in the small places. Of course, Berlin has the big clubs which is great, but I really love small places – in any given night of the week at any given bar, you can hear an awesome DJ, whether a local or from outside the city.”

When asked how Israel’s clubbing community operates amidst the country’s longstanding political and religious tensions, Moscovici asserts, “It's really a non-issue. There’s no connection between political and religious views and clubbing; there’s no place for it. It's a place of unity and love, and pretty much people that come to listen to good music and get fucked up. The rest can be dealt with on a daily basis. The night time is not the right time.”

And speaking of the night time, where does Moscoman consider the best of Israel’s clubbing hotspots?

“Block, Breakfast, Bootleg, Alphabet. The order doesn’t matter.”

Nosei Hamigbaat – Bikur Bahar

I think I first heard this track around ten years ago, perhaps more. It came out on their first cassette 1988. I came across it at the only normal Tel Aviv record store, Black Hole Records, which reissued it. I totally forgot about it ‘til I released my first EP on I’m A Cliché, the Moscoman EP, and it reminded Autarkic of this track. Punk at his best. 

Autarkic – Asi Keta Ga

Autarkic is the legacy of the Israeli punk/new wave scene, adding to it his sense of the dancefloor. I don’t think there's something more on point than this dude now – luckily I signed him with blood! He has so many things coming soon, and each one is amazing!

Rhetorical Band – Shomer Arayot 

When I first heard the late Yossi Elephant’s vocal, it was magic. It feels like the only thing that kept us apart was the reverb on the track. Every song that he released, which sadly wasn't so many, is the best song in history. This is the kind of artist that makes you a music addict. Plus his guitar sound is what I've been trying to recreate all my life. Rest in peace.

Shlomo Artzi – Tirkod (Dance) 

This weird waltz was the first time I ever heard a Jupiter-8. I could never understand this singer when I was young. He is a ladies' man, he is a father; the real Israeli pop star. You can hate him as much as you love him. I used to hate him, but you can’t ignore him. Now I love him. I got older, and I can understand what he is talking about.

Asaf Amdursky – 15 Min. 

This man, once my idol, now my friend and idol, is an Israeli artist who is always with the times, with the most adjustable and innovating sound. He produced dozens of other artists, he is a great singer and a great lyrical gangster. The first time I met him I was 18. He won’t remember it, but this song from Silent Motors reminded me of Herb Alpert’s song Rise, and I told him that. He didn’t take it well (I didn’t say 'reminds me', haha).

Eviatar Banai – Russian Theatre

The best descendent of the famous Israeli Banai family. This song, from his first album, which was produced by Said Amdursky, is the most amazing break-up song in history. These days he found God again and he won’t sing this song anymore. He says it doesn’t speak to him anymore but it will never stop speaking to me.

Matti Caspi – You Will See The Way 

Say what you will but Matti Caspi is the most important artist in the history of Israel. He composed or took part in the composition of perhaps 1000 songs (no exaggeration) that are all part of the Israeli pantheon. I can’t choose one, not even 100, that I love the most. This is an amazing one though. 

Sharon Rotter – Ha’Nizoz 

Written by Barry Shaharof, ex-Minimal Compact and one of the most famous Israeli singers, with a distinctive guitar sound and Middle Eastern tastes. The song is sung by Sharon Rotter, who has since disappeared, and appears on the soundtrack of one of the weirdest movies shot in Israel in the '90s, Clara The Saint. Go watch it, it makes more sense over there.

Ilan Virtzberg – Couldn’t Do Anything With It 

A simple and beautiful ballad that shows the strength of Israeli music with its guitars. For a small country, there are so many great guitar players, they all hit the perfect spot.

Soda Fabric – Teenage Illusions 

The future of the Israeli rock scene. With international appeal, this shoegazing band is a bunch of 25-year-old dreamers. I'm happy to say we’re good friends, two of them even play in my Moscoman Live band. They have a really good album out and more to come, I’m sure.

The Subaru Pesha EP is released on Disco Halal on 4 Nov; Moscoman plays Glasgow’s Stereo on 11 Nov.