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Aviv Geffen

Aviv Geffen (àáéá âôï, born May 10, 1973) is an Israeli rock musician, singer, songwriter, producer, keyboardist and guitarist. He is the son of writer and poet Yehonatan Geffen and Nurit Makover, brother of Shira Geffen, and a graduate of Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music.

Geffen was and is extremely popular among Israeli youth, who were later known as the "Moonlight Children", in the 1990s. Politically, he associates with the Israeli left. His music contains subjects such as love and peace, but also death, suicide, the army, and refusal to serve. He is also controversial because of his decision not to serve in the IDF, though officially, he was dismissed for medical reasons.

Early career

Geffen's first appearance was in the film Hamitpahat (1987), for which he wrote and sang the song "Ima". In 1992, he played a part in the teenage television series A Matter of Time. That year, he also wrote a song for the Israeli movie The Beach Boys. Aviv performed in clubs with his band "The Mistakes (Hatauyot)" (the Hebrew name is purposefully misspelled in two places). He made his debut performance with "Cloudy Now" (Achshav Meunan), a song which later became his musical icon, and 12 years later was translated for the Blackfield project. In 1990, he recorded his first song, "Friend" (Chaver), together with the band "Cats in the Piping". In 1991, he released his first album, That's Only The Moonlight (Ze Rak Or Hayareach). All of its songs were written and the music composed by Geffen himself. Achshav Meunan was Geffen's second album, which was released in 1993 and reached Gold in the same year. It was produced by Moshe Levi and Ofer Meiri, who created a typical Geffen sound. Aviv expressed his generation's dissatisfaction with the government. The song "Cloudy Now" was followed by the question that many Israeli teenagers asked with Geffen - "Do you want change?"

The Moonlight Children

In 1994, Geffen released his third album, Aviv Geffen III, which marked a change in Geffen's sound. The production was made by Geffen and Lior Tevet. The album featured the major hit: "Run Away (Ha'im Lehiot Bach Mehohav)", which was followed by a video. This album followed in the success of Achshav Me'unan. In his next album, Nowhere (Shumakom), Geffen took charge of the production, albeit with help from Reuven Shapira (as sound engineer), and producer Moshe Levi. Geffen wrote the lyrics and music. As a political activist, Geffen also expressed the hope for peace with Israel's neighbors.

In November 4, 1995, the Israeli peace political parties had decided to arrange a rally to support the peace process. Geffen was invited to sing in that rally, and surprisingly decided to perform "Cry for You" (Livkot Lekha), which Geffen wrote and gave to Israeli singer Arik Einstein. Only later it was found out the lyrics had prophetically preceded the tragic assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin later that night. "Cry for You" became a kind of national anthem, and was the song that symboled the Candle Children movement. In 1996, Geffen released The Letter (Hamikhtav). The Tears Rebellion (Mered Hadmaot) was written after the murder in 1995. Furthermore, it expressed a change and a turning point in Geffen's music. Later, in 1996, Aviv recorded what was known later as "The Israeli version of 'Imagine'", "Let's Walk for the Dream (Shir Tikva)", which expressed deeply Aviv's vision.

In 1997, Geffen released his first compilation, which included a CD with the best songs of the early era, and a second CD which included B-Sides and live performances. An attempt to widen his audience on a global level saw one of Geffen's more unusual albums - "Hollowed (Halulim)". Like his bigger "brothers", it was also produced by Moshe Levi, but unlike them, it is a hard, cold, alienated album, full of distortions. Despite heavy advertising (such as billboards), the album failed commercially.

1999 saw the release of Geffen's 8th studio album - White Nights (Leilot Levanim), which was created under the influence of the changes in Aviv's life. Moshe Levi was again the producer; the combination of the two created a soft & melodic album compared to "Hollowed (Halulim)". The album contained the song "Mexico" which stayed in the Israeli charts for a long time.

In 2006 the 11th album by Geffen was released, "With Time (Im Hazman)". The theme song is a cover to a French chanson by Leo Ferre, which indicated matureness & sobering from the clichés that he symboled in his first years. Most recently he compiled a 2CD/1DVD live album, simply titled Live. Lately, Geffen declared himself radical left.

Musical collaboration

A year later, in September 2000, Geffen's 9th album ,"Yoman Masa" ("Journal"), saw release. for the first time produced by Louie Lahav, and in a new label - "Helicon". Geffen collaborated with two notable colleagues - Daniel Salomon (who joined from the "White Nights (Leilot Levanim)" Tour) and Moshe Levi who was involved in the orchestration. Aviv had recorded 11 melodic songs, with a bonus track - a tribute to Bob Dylan - an Israeli cover to "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall (Geshem Kaved Omed Lipol)" (translated by his father). The album produced three notable hits for Geffen: "Wake Up (Uri Ur)", "Scars (Zalakot)" & "Journal (Yoman Masa)" (together with Arik Einstein).

Two years after "Journal" - April 2002 - Geffen released his next album: "Memento Mori", which he dedicated to his grandmother who died a short time before the album's release. The name was taken from the Latin phrase, "Remember The Death" (meaning one should remember he is mortal). Like his previous albums, "Memento Mori" was soft (but still features harder compositions). The album featured two major hits: "Ray of Light (Keren Or)" and "Moving Forward (Holech Kadima)." From this album came the single Sad Song (Shir Atzuv).

It was announced in 2008 that he was recording his first English-language solo album, with Trevor Horn producing. Sessions for the English language album are continuing in Israel with producer Ken Nelson

Blackfield

Main article: Blackfield

In 2001, Geffen joined Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree to form a new group, "Blackfield". Blackfield combines the musical efforts of both musicians and they perform their own original composition as well as Aviv's own songs translated into English. From the collaboration between Geffen & Wilson, that started in 2000, came "Hello" - which was the first single from the "Blackfield" project, used as a build-up for a successful tour in Europe, and a successful first album Blackfield, released in 2004. Its followup Blackfield II was released in early 2007, followed by the live DVD Blackfield: Live in NYC later in the year.

Recent Projects

After releasing two albums as Blackfield, Geffen announced in November 2007 that he was recording his first English-language studio album. In January 2008 his single 'End of the World' charted at number one in Poland and he performed at Bush Hall in London on the 31st. He released a single (Silence) at the end of 2008 and is touring throughout January 2009, with dates in Krakow, Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Amsterdam, Munich, Paris and London.

In June, he announced that recording had begun at Sarm West Studios, with Trevor Horn producing and Steven Wilson and Mike Garson featuring on the album. These sessions led to his debut English-language album, Aviv Geffen, released towards the end of summer 2009. The debut single released was 'It was Meant to be a Love Song'.

Musical influences

Over the years, Geffen's musical style has been influenced by rock bands like U2, Radiohead, Nirvana, and artists like John Lennon and Bob Dylan. Geffen's piano and guitar playing is mainly influenced by Radiohead's Thom Yorke and U2's The Edge. Geffen has often cited Bob Dylan and Roger Waters as major influences.

Discography

Solo albums

  • 1992 - "Ze Rak Or Hayareach" ("It's Only The Moonlight")
  • 1993 - "Ahshav Meunan" ("It's Cloudy Now")
  • 1994 - "Aviv Geffen III"
  • 1995 - "Shumakom" ("Nowhere")
  • 1996 - "HaMihtav" ("The Letter")
  • 1997 - "Hayareach Malee" ("Full Moon")
  • 1998 - "Halulim" ("Hollows")
  • 1999 - "Leyloth Levanim" ("White Nights")
  • 2000 - "Yoman Masah" ("Travelogue")
  • 2002 - "Memento Mori"
  • 2006 - "Im Hazman" ("With The Time")
  • 2006 - "Rak Shirey Ahava" ("Love Songs Only")
  • 2009 - "Aviv Geffen"

Solo singles never released on album

  • 1991 - "Haver" ("Friend")
  • 1999 - "Rock and Roll"
  • 2000 - "Kmo BaShir" ("Like in The Song")
  • 2001 - "Geshem Kaved Omed Lipol" (Hebrew version of Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall")

With Blackfield

  • 2004 - Blackfield
  • 2007 - Blackfield II

Work for other artists

  • 1993 - Keren Hachth, album "Keren Hachth"
  • 1999 - Rockfour, album "Rockfour Live"
  • 2001 - Porcupine Tree, album "In Absentia"
  • 2002 - Daniel Salomon, album "Daniel Salomon", (also producer)
  • 2003 - Shachar Even-Tzur, album "Eyrumim" ("Naked"), (also producer)
  • 2005 - Daniel Salomon, album "Rabot HaDrachim", ("There's Many Ways")
  • 2006 - Ninette Tayeb, album "Yehefa" ("Barefoot"), (also producer)