Yossi Sassi - Melting Clocks
Reviewer: Tiphany Mataï - 2012-08-09
Highlights: Simple Things, Drive
[Translated By: Carmina Khairallah]
“Do not dream away your life, live your dreams”
In 1991, Yossi Sassi founded alongside his friends the legendary group Orphaned Land, starting point of Oriental Metal all around the world. Twenty years later, that same guitarist decided to create more to show the music that lies inside him. Still just as attached to the project that he calls “the project of his life”, the young Israeli doesn’t move away from Orphaned Land but allows himself the creation of his own one man band by composing and producing his own music himself.
The musician’s talents are no longer to be proven. We shall remember his exceptional solos in Orphaned Land, especially that in “The Warrior” with more than four minutes of intensity and emotions. Also, the sir knows how to play more than 17 different traditional guitars and instruments while constantly experimenting and offering new horizons. In addition to that, Yossi Sassi has had the chance to share the stage with big metallic figures such as Metallica, Steven Wilson and even Marty Friedman and to cooperate with international artists, as well as to perform in more than thirty countries.
After his European oriental tour alongside Arkan and Myrath, the musician now dedicates himself to the release of his first solo album and an already booked first tour. So now arrives “Melting Clocks”, an astonishing album very different of what the Israeli usually offers us. The latter takes care of the most important part of the guitars as well as playing the keyboard, the Oud, the saz, the bouzouki and other traditional instruments. He surrounds himself with sophisticated musicians for the piano, the percussions, the nay and kawala flutes, the violins and other guitar parts. We thus find Marty Friedman (ex-Megadeth) on the guitar on “The Routine” while Yossi takes care of the bass guitar.
The album “Melting Clocks” is a conceptual piece about life, maybe yours, that which you live every day. The morning you wake up, you see the sun’s rays (“Fields of Sunlight”), you have to hurry up to go to work (“The Calling: Rush Hour”) and you realize that you only live among numbers, with, ultimately, few words (“Number’s World”). During the whole day you are invaded by your thoughts, you tell yourself that obviously you can’t be that good (“Ain’t Good Enough”), you realize what you make of your life with this routine (“The Routine). You’d love to relax and you start to dream, for a few minutes (“Sahara Afternoon”). At the end of the day, you rest a bit, while thinking that you will live the same things the next day (“Simple Things”). At night, you go to bed, with a feeling that things are complicated. You face your fears and this clock that follows you everywhere, all the time. You slip into your dreams until you wake up the next morning (“Melting Clocks”).
Yossi thus offers you a musical journey that follows you for a day, alternating genres and ambiances, mixing East and West, hard rock and World Music, as well as some ambient parts. You will find all of that in this “Melting Clocks”, but most of all a bath of softness and warmth. No aggressiveness, this album is the reflection of your everyday life, a mix of Yossi’s universe and of his own inspirations. The three first piece undeniably remind the listener of Satriani, with this singing and insisting guitar, unquestionably replacing a voice. Although, the musician doesn’t turn himself towards “guitar hero”, on the contrary. Even though his playing is very controlled and very mature, he isn’t in the domain of the technique and demonstration whatever the cost may be. It’s more like some progressive rock/metal at the junction of genres, where just as many oriental and occidental parts lay side to side, as in “Drive” and its symphonic folkloric breaks close to Orphaned Land’s latest album.
Thus, those who are not used to Arabic music still will be satisfied, exoticness not being the prime element of Yossi’s compositions. “The Calling: Rush Hour” for instance, stresses on lingering heavy rock while “Ain’t Good Enough” or “Another Day in the Office” are closer to an overexcited hard rock, blending Yossi’s sometimes nervous and sometimes airy chants as well as his unbeatable solos, resembling a second voice.
“Number’s World”, the album’s leading title, is without any doubt the strongest and richest in sonorities. It is some very warm oriental hard rock, although melancholic, where occidental couplets and oriental choruses, rich in his mix of electric and acoustic guitar and his range of oriental instruments, alternate. A beautiful success, before the jazzy “Melting Thoughts”, guided by an alarm clock’s “tic tac” service the rhythm and by Marina Maximilian Blumin’s suave voice, reminding the listener of the female parts sang on the band Air’s “Moon Safari”. One can also dream on the arabising “Sunset” or get carried away by the attaching and very melodic “Simple Things”.
This trip ends with an instrumental version of “Melting Thoughts” named “Melting Clocks”, as if you were restarting your routine yet another time. But you still have the choice. Will you, again and again, wake up the next day inside this routine that tires you and stops you from living your dreams? Or will you take the time to bend and make the clock that follows you, tell a prisoner’s drag, melt, in order to appreciate each moment of your life and finally do what you have always felt like doing, no matter the price?
Maybe you will find your answer by listening to this homogenous and particular album, far from what we may have heard coming from Yossi Sassi but modeled after his sincerity and sense of intensity.
Posted as part of our partnership with Tiphany Mataï, reviewer from the French Spirit of Metal Webzine. Original French review can be seen here.