Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Who is ohad benchetrit? (And Do Make Say Think for that matter?)

Q: What's my favorite musician who's name I honestly don't know how to pronounce?
A: Ohad Benchetrit, one of the founding members of the Mountie Rock band Do Make Say Think.

Charles Spearin (left) and Ohad Benchetrit (right) are the two leading forces behind Do Make Say Think, a mainly instrument heavy - non vocal - post rock band out of Canada. Charles and Ohad are consistent Members of Broken Social Scene (a big time favorite of yours truly).

A quick refresher on Mountie Rock:
It's the label I've given a genre that describes the interconnected independent music scene in Canada. It's bascially a family tree with interconnecting and common branches, with Broken Social Scene as it's "trunk." The creation of Broken Social Scene was a bunch of struggling musicians who all pooled together to make a side project - only the side project of BSS caught on and caught the folllowing initially intented for everybody's main project...

So back to Charles and Ohad... The project they call their own - together - is Do Make Say Think. (Not unlike how Brendan Canning and Kevin Drew are the heart of Broken Social Scene). What was especially cool about this show were that the opening acts consisted of the individual side/solo efforts of Charles and Ohad respectively.

First was Years. This is Ohad's baby, which is a very high-depth guitar experimentation. It's just him, and a guitar, but the sound is far more complex and compelling thanks to his use of looping his own guitar hooks together into a growing tapestry. Ohad is able to make a single guitar produce sounds of percussion, bass, rhythm, and even a sense of lyrical content to each track. To see his songs live was like watching a painter start with a blank canvas as he worked his way from mixing the different colors together to creating a clear image.

Next up was Charles' own musical idea: The Happiness Project, which is as experimental as you're gonna get. Very simply, he wanted to translate people's natural melodies in their normal speech patterns and syntax into music. He interviewed a couple of his neighbors and family on a recorder. After playing a minute of these interviews, we would listen to them again with the musical accompaniment. It was like a grown-up version of Peter and the Wolf.

Charles Spearin - The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project | MySpace Music Videos

All three acts were different combination of the same 9 musicians. They openly joked about this on stage. Different mixes of people playing under different banners. My friend that I went to this concert with jokingly yelled out "Ripoff!" and Charles laughed and responded back to him, "ha, you're right!" Foo me, it was a great illustration of why I like Mountie Rock - and how thankful I am of their musical creativity and paths they have led me down in discovery.

All 9 were used during Do Make Say Think's main set. And everybody showcased their talents of multiple instruments. Most of the songs used two drummers, two guitarists, one bass player, one violinist, one saxophonist, one pianist and two horn players. But sometimes Charles would put down the bass and pick up a french horn. Or Ohad would amazingly yield his beyond belief guitar skills to play the saxophone. The lady who's name I don't know, who mainly played the saxophone would use the keyboard on occasion and even one of the two drummers stepped around to show that drummer can be multifaceted as well.

I should also mention that DMST made a gallant effort when they performed their latest song, "Do" in an attempt up upset Phoenix's "1901" for Song of My Year. This is a group that I will easily want to see again the next time they come through town.

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