Recorded April 1996 at Interton Studio "Im Eimer", Berlin.
Kletka Red slapped a bursting, energetic sound onto recorded format that the Tzadik label released. Guitarist and vocalist Leonid Soybelman leads this eclectic project, accompanied by guitarist Andy Ex (of the Ex) and drummer Tony Buck, with occasional bass playing by Joe Williamson. Hijacking opens with an in-your-face, angsty, rollicking arrangement of the traditional Romanian klezmer tune "Sirba." The first original of the album, "Eighth Day," is reminiscent of Sonic Youth's instrumentals, but more disjointed; there aren't feedback drones arcing over the separate moments, tying them together. If each measure were a separate stone pillar, the song is like running atop Ireland's Giant's Causeway with increasing rapidity, then plummeting, and the wind rushing by is the sound of speed metal. The next tune, "Trigger," juxtaposes guitar rock frenzied chaos against sections of demented groove. There are just a few songs with vocals ("D'Mame," for example), and these are sung in Yiddish. De(con)structionists of traditional klezmer tunes, Kletka Red crafts these into a fresh and warped punk form.
All Music Guide
Berlin resident Leonid Soybelman's frantic originals and punk covers of klezmer classics (sung in Yiddish) jerks Jewish music into the 21st Century with a refreshing approach that hits you like a metal matzoh ball. Featuring the remarkable guitarist Andy Ex (of the Dutch band The Ex) and drummer Tony Buck (formerly of Japan's Ground Zero).
An essential purchase for fans of The Ex, or anyone interested in adventurous new rock or the cutting edge of Jewish culture.
Kletka Red is a high energy avant-punk quartet led by Leonid Soybelman who was also the singer and guitarist for Ne Zhdali. Guitarist Andy Ex, drummer Tony Buck and bassist Joe Williamson rounds out this very imaginative assault on rock and traditional music. Their first two albums are freely available from the Ne Zdahli web site.
Hijacking pits punk rock and avant garde noise against Klezmer. Soybelman and company take on the Yiddish musical genre with a passion. From the first strains of "Sirba", the traditional dance music is slammed with lighting speed and heavy volume. At times there is a sense of Sonic Youth-like overload. Soybelman's guitar often reminds me of Fred Frith's fragmented style especially on tracks like "Trigger". When Soybelman takes a vocal the song becomes slightly more traditional as on "D'Mame but there is always enough going on that you know this isn't your grand parent's idea of a folk song. Actually, all are Klezmer standards with the exception of three original tracks by Soybelman. HiJacking will surprise and delight you from the first listen.
What the first album did for Klezmer, their second album titled Hybrid does for other European folk traditions. The first track sounds downright old fashioned while "Wire" delivers the hard metal/punk sounds mixed with various levels of madness that make Kletka Red so much fun to listen to. There are more vocals on this album which I consider a plus. I find "Persecution Complex.Skimp" to be an especially creative mixture of sound and musical pyrotechnics.