Brazilian soul, psych, bossa and jazz, reimagined from Berlin, via the Dead Sea, on Moriah Plaza’s dreamy first album for Batov Records.
Moriah Plaza co-founders Tamir Chen and Moosh Lahav first encountered and fell in love with the beautiful and hypnotic sounds of Brazilian bossa nova and samba as children in Tel Aviv in the nineties, via the many local bands and tribute groups that had sprung up since the first wave of bossa had hit swept across the world. Likewise they developed a fascination with elevator muzak, film soundtracks, and even the hotel pianist performing day-by-day in the lobby of the Sheraton Moriah where Tamir’s mother worked, overlooking the Dead Sea.
Relocating years later to the vastly different environment of Berlin, capital of a country that enjoyed its own Brazilian moment, Tamir and Moosh’s shared passion for Brazilian music would encourage them to create their own songs inspired by the warm pulse of Brazil, albeit a world apart, through a vastly different lens.
Whilst the initial inspiration for Moriah Plaza can be traced back to Tel Aviv and the Dead Sea, the band itself was conceived by Tamir and Moosh in Solarium Studio, Berlin, from the broken fragments of their former shoegaze band, Soda Fabric, who had the honour of backing outsider legend Daniel Johnston. They would go on to write and record their debut album in close collaboration with two Brazilians and fellow Berlin residents,, poet and singer Cecília Erisman, and singer, songwriter, synth operator and Tropical Disco Club founder Flavia Annechini.
The album opens with “Desendereçada”. Dirty drum machine beats thud away under flutes and extraneous noises and a spoken word commentary. The oddness and allure of the intro is a perfect introduction to the world of Moriah Plaza.
The pace picks up on “Mais Amor”. A beautiful Brazilian soul jazz number with a sublime vocal from Flavia Annechini that will surely appeal to the global dancefloor jazz scene. “Te Peço” daws us in deeper with sweetest jazz vocal over an irresistible bassline and bossa drums that transforms halfway through into a modern soul rhythm crowned by flute and horns. A flute solo from Moosh Lahav leads us into the final uplifting refrain.
The Pharoah Sanders meets Ravi Shankar in Rio grooves of “Estelar” have that fresh feeling that will certainly appeal to fans of modern favourites Rebecca Vasment and Ruby Rushton. Next up, the mysterious “Lagoon de Merim” is practically two songs in one, the first half an atmospheric string-topped number somewhere between Arthur Verocai and Cinematic Orchestra, before snappy drums beats and playful organ chords introduce a slow brassy samba that fills the whole sonic room.
“Teu Porto” is a must for all DJs, mixing calypso, highlife and house, lilting guitars and smooth vocals by Cecilia Erismann.. The deep samba house grooves of “Samba Moosh” close us out. The rich blend of sweet vocals, soaring flute and gritty synths carry us off into the sunset.
Moriah Plaza’s self-titled debut album is a major addition to the global soul and jazz scene. providing the perfect summer soundtrack for music lovers around the world.