The Aleph Zero label and its talented artists pushed forward levels of creativity once again, this time with CUTS, the project of musician and producer Nadav Katz from Israel. Somewhere between the music of Zero 7 and R.E.M, lies the spacious world of CUTS, called Hold the Sun. It is the latest chapter in Aleph Zero's colorful sonic exploration, and though you can hear all kinds of influences in there, it doesn't sound like any other band or artist. It sounds like CUTS. You can say it's folktronica, electro acoustic, downtempo or chill, and all those labels can fit I guess, but in the end you can't really define it, and when the music is good like in this case, it's a good thing. What we have here is a lavish moody suit of twelve beautiful songs, yes, that's right, songs, not tracks. There is one wonderfully looming instrumental piece (Shades of Black), but that's all.
Never too dark, but also never too sweet, the album flows smoothly from piece to piece and is interesting and full of gloomy charm from start to finish. In charge of the vocals is Omri Klein, bringing an atmospheric, dynamic and penetrating shade to the music with his lovely voice and strong lyrics. The album is filled with rich guitar layers, tricky synth streams and groovy basslines, provided by Nadav, who is responsible for the electronic core of the album, writing, producing, and also played some drums and percussion. Shay Raviv (the only current member of Violet Vision) worked with Nadav on one song here, The Wheels Will Turn, a sort of a post-rock electronica fusion that also got a nice music video (look it up on youtube). A gentle yet deep song. Elad Rizikowitz played drums on the dreamy, slowmo Swallow Your Pride and the more upbeat, striking A Devil Inside that also features Gal Binyamin on violin. Barak Rozen played the santoor on the open roads hit Religious Standards. I really can't pick one favorite song, because they are all great and combined together work very well as an album, but The Worst Is Behind Us, A Devil Inside, Your Wickedness, Shades of Black, Every Time I'm Stuck, Religious Standards, Solid Steel and Love (a creative cover to John Lennon's song, and a perfect finish for the album) really captured me strongly already from the first time I heard them. But the rest of the songs captured me quickly afterwards. Yes, the songs are accessible and melodic, but there are sounds, movements and scents that reveal themselves more slowly than others with each listening session. This release sits very nicely in the diverse Aleph Zero catalog, especially next to some of the more recent releases like Places I Miss That I Haven't Been To by Eitan Reiter, Falling Through The Earth by Fredrik Íhr, and also next to some older ones like Everyday Life by Unoccupied (Nadav Katz's project with Eitan Reiter), and Dream Wide Awake by Omnimotion. Once again Aleph Zero proved that they have the balls to release what ever they want and think is fresh and unique, without taking into consideration current trends and what will sell more.