HAILING from Tel Aviv but these days based in Berlin, RAS are bringing their own brightly eastern Mediterranean twist on classic Seventies’ funk and soul, mixing slow jams with influences from Greek, Turkish and Arabic music for a heady and sometimes psychedelic brew.
Multi-instrumentalists and producers Dekel Adin and Eden Leshem come replete with vintage drum machines and synths, guitars and other trappings, and a Tascam Portastudio, which they used to create their 2019 debut album in a week’s intense recording – a record that undeservedly flew under the radar.
Another session of red-eyed recording commitment led to the RAS II EP last year, which was picked up over at 6 Music by Mary Anne Hobbs, Tom Ravenscroft, Gilles Peterson and Huey; it eventually picked up a 12″ pressing from the Vinyl Factory, and that’s still available.
Now the new album, RAS III, is in the can and ready; from which they’re enticing you into the slow hip-grind of their world with a first single, “Lo Zaz”, the video for which is just down there. You can feel the sweat drip from those slow organ shimmers, funk guitar chops, soulful singing.
RAS III contains six tracks of hypnotic boogie and Balearic slow jams, each upwards of six or seven minutes.
But what are the lyrics? You say: you can almost make them out. Well in fact they sing in Hebrew, knitting together phonetics of in-jokes, surrealism, and nonsense – the singing is there as an evocation, part of the music, not a separate dialogue. In doing so of course they follow in an abstruse lineage that includes Magma, Cocteau Twins, Sigur Rós – and Adriano Celentano. Mix that with lo-fi recording and a sincere commitment to the funk and you’re onto a winner.
RAS’ RAS III will be released digitally by Botniss on May 7th; it’s up for pre-order at Bandcamp, now.