Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Benny K'ton

Album can be previewed/purchased at Mostly Music.com

Reviewer: Mindy

The Benny Kton story is an interesting one. When Eli was in Israel, Benny called him that he wanted to audition to be part of his techno group. Eli met Benny in a hotel lobby and this kollel guy with his white shirt, black suit and tzitzis did not look like the type of guy who would fit in with a techno group… Then Benny gave Eli a demo cd of songs he had sung and played the instruments for. Eli listened to it and was blown away, and he decided to produce the cd.

This CD is very different from the usual JM fare. It’s a mix of techno music and regular instruments. This style for a CD probably has some kind of an official genre term, but I don’t know what it’s called, so I’ll describe it as a kind of airy/floaty music. It’s extremely relaxing, mellow music, which can put you to sleep if you listen too much to it. The voice is also very soothing and relaxing – sort of Yitzchak Simcha-style. The CD has mostly slow songs, but they’re all good and “different”. I think it shows incredible talent, for one guy to do an album from A to Z. The choir consists of Yehonatan Schwartzmer, Yehuda Peizer, and Shneur Steinberg. Benny thanks his parents and in laws without their names, and I think he is married although he doesn’t mention a wife anywhere. I think he’s trying to stay kinda anonymous; he didn’t appear on any radio shows and is not doing any concerts. He’s just a young man who wanted to share his music with the rest of the world.

Benny’s last name caused quite a stir in the radio industry – Nachum Segal kept calling him K’tahn and K’tohne until Eli appeared on the show and set the record straight. Al Gordon called him – guess what – Benny Kuh-tuhn for the chasidishe listeners! Lol. I guess we now know the pronounciation.

Here we go with the songs. All songs composed by Benny unless otherwise noted.

1. Kel Adon. Composed by Shneur Steinberg. This song is what convinced many people to buy the album. The intro is the same as the first half of Mendy Wald’s Sameach but the tune isn’t remotely similar. It’s a great tune, nice harmony, and very smooth music. It’s just about the only really fast song on the album (besides for the English song) so some ppl were disappointed when it ended up being a mostly-slow album. The music is extremely professional. Hard to believe that one person played all of the instruments. Some of them even sound real. I believe that some of them are real.

2. Rachmana. Composed by Rabbi S. Schechter. This happens to be a beautiful slow song and I really like it. The harmonies are great and it’s a very guitar-based song. Because of Benny’s style, there are no crazy highs or heartrending heartzige songs. All of them are just mellow, relaxing, soothing music. This song however does fall under the category of a heartzige song and I really enjoy it. There’s some really nice acapella towards the end. This song and Ad Heino are my favorite slow songs on the album.

3. Modeh Ani. A slightly up-tempo song, coming off Rachmana, but still not a fast song. But it’s not the moving slow kind, yet not the Shalsheles-Godol kind either. This song is interesting in the fact that it doesn’t really have a high part. The beginning and end of Modeh Ani is sung in the same tune. Think Goldwag’s Aleinu and you get the picture.

4. Vaani Tefilasi. The CD slows down once again. Very nice electric guitar intro. Another nice smooth mellow song. Quite a bit of heartzige stuff thrown in there, with good electric guitar interludes.

5. Can You Please. Here we come to a nice lebedik techno style English song with some otherworldly effects. I like the song a lot but I absolutely do not understand the message, nor do I like the use of the word “savior”, which is a word used to refer to the non Jewish messiah. Whatever this song is supposed to mean, I like the music and tune a lot.

6. V’Chulom Mekablim. Composed by Benny Kton and Yoel Rosenberg. This has a nice choir accompanying the main vocals and this song is actually good enough that you can envision it being on a popular album. Very smooth music and vocals, nice hora tempo, and good choir work. Great beat; you will be tapping to the music throughout.

7. Ad Heino. Composed by Rabbi S. Schechter. Another beautiful slow song replete with those airy, swirly, reverb effects which give the song a hypnotic effect. This song competes with my favorite slow song spot with Rachmana.

8. Nodeh Lecho. Cool rock style song with very interesting/different percussion. This is the “fun” song of the album.

9. Achas Shoalti. This starts with some digitally modified space-age technology and guitar work. At this point the listener can be kind of tired from the slow song string on the album so it’s a little hard to get into this song, but it’s very nice. Cool choir interjections and nice piano work.

10. V’Haer Aineinu. Just when you thought the cd would end off with a bang, comes another slow song. I feel the cd shouldve ended with a fast number. It doesn’t leave you with a feeling of satisfaction – ahhh, this was a good listen; it ends with a song that could’ve done well at number 8 or 9 just as well.

All in all you can see what kind of album this is – a rather relaxing, mellow, smooth, up-to-date technologically album, with plenty of real instruments combined with techno beats. It’s perfect for background listening or when you’re in a relaxed mood (like now when I’m chatting, surfing, and so forth). Benny is a very talented young man who shows his composing, instrumental, and vocal capabilities wonderfully on the album. I hope he does well and we can expect a Benny Kton 2 out in the near future.

Comments on this review can be left below.


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