Blackfield - Blackfield
"I Think This Is The Beginning Of A Beautiful Friendship"...
This famous phrase that ends the film "Casablanca", was not included in the original text, it was improvised and became a classic. This sentence can describe exactly what created the band of Aviv Geffen and Steven Wilson and the debut album which also bears the band's name "Blackfield", released on February 6, 2004.
In 2002, Aviv released his tenth album "Memento Mori" 10 years after the release of his debut album "It's Just the Moonlight". Aviv was already huge in Israeli terms with the aura of a rock star, a complex character, a controversial figure, provocative but musical, talented, and powerful.
But even Aviv the rockstar is a fan himself. He admired other bands as any music fan and one of them was "Porcupine Tree", Steven's famous band. Aviv admired Steven, he flew to the band's shows and even had a fan meeting with Steven.
In the early 2000s Israeli producer, Shuki Weiss brought the band to Israel for three shows, during that time he made the connection between Aviv and Steven, the initial connection was formed very quickly and the two became friends, but the musical collaboration did not happen that quickly.
Aviv said that for months he tried to collaborate with Steven but without success, he sent him lyrics, demos, and even finished materials but did not receive any response from Steven until...
One day Aviv gets an envelope with a CD from Steven. The CD included music that Aviv created himself and Steven wrote the lyrics for and recorded his vocals. Aviv said that the minute he put the CD in the car audio system he just started crying, he could not believe that Wilson himself, whom he admires so much, wrote and recorded vocals for music that Aviv wrote and composed himself. At that moment he knew something was going to happen between the two. In one of the interviews, Steven said that although he loves Aviv very much and appreciates him as a person and a musician, he would not have come to collaborate with him without the love and inexplicable connection he has to Israel. Steven said he was fascinated by the country, the culture, and the people, and his love pushed him to create with Aviv.
And not only that, Steven even moved to Israel and lived here for a while.
(Photo: Steven Wilson Productions)
At that time Aviv really wanted to break out of Israel's borders, he felt very identified and even belonged to Israeli culture as if he could not break away from it and that is his fate. He was determined to recalculate a route and it was not easy. Aviv had a great fear of being alone and a great fear of flying so he decided he had to take a significant step. Aviv said he had been in psychotherapy for a year and a half to treat himself, not only in terms of fear of flying but also in terms of his personal identity, relationship, and more. All of this was a kind of preparation or rather led to what created "Blackfield".
So the two new members started collaborating as they send each other materials and created together in Israel and England. While collaborating, Aviv recorded vocals for the two songs "The Sound of Muzak" and "Prodigal" on "Porcupine Tree's" seventh album "In Absentia", released in 2002.
Over time the two created enough material for an EP and planned to release it back in 2001, But the materials accumulated and it was decided to make a full album out of them and release it in 2004.
The album was released in Israel and Europe in 2004, and in the United States in 2005. The album reached sales of over one hundred thousand records all over the world. The album consists of eight original songs, and three songs by Aviv Geffen translated into English by Wilson - "Cloudy Now" (based on a song in the same name from Aviv's Israeli album), "Scars" (based on the same song from "Journey Diary") and "Glow" (predicted it's release on the album "With Time"), the songs were re-recorded by the group. Apart from Steven and Aviv the group ensembled Daniel Salomon on keyboards, Seffy Efrati on bass, Gavin Harrison ("Porcupine Tree") on drums, Yirmi Kaplan and Chris Maitland also on drums. Four singles have been released from the album: "Hello", "Pain", "Blackfield" and "Cloudy Now".
(Photo: Steven Wilson Productions)
In our opinion this is an exemplary album that brings these two artists to play together creativity and talent, a combination of softness and melancholy with roughness and aggression, Aviv brings his emotions and Steven his incredible talent. A dramatic and complex album on one hand but also a simple melody on the other. Wilson said he brought the complexity and depth of the Prog from which he came from and Aviv brought the pops and melodies in lyrics and melody. To date, this is the band's most notable album, the band released five more albums later when the last one was released in 2020.
The amazing collaboration between Aviv and Steven erupts right from the opening song "Open Mind" written by Wilson and composed by Aviv. A very dynamic song that starts soft and quiet with a classical guitar and later erupts with a rough riff and returns the circle of quiet-loud.
It is followed by the no less amazing theme song "Blackfield". The simple piano melody composed by Wilson just doesn't go out of our heads. A melodic and catchy piece that is just waiting for the acoustic guitar to wrap it with softness that it is impossible not to indulge. Salomon's Hammond and Wilson's howling solos make this song no less than perfect, without a doubt one of the album's highlights.
"Glow" is simply pure "glowing" firefly magic in the sky of darkness, until Aviv arrives and in the last third of the song lights up the spotlight in a big light with the rough sound that blends in with Wilson's sawing guitar.
No offense to Aviv, but Steven's voice in "Scars" do kindness with the amazing song. Wilson also contributed to the English rendition of the lyrics as well as of the song "Cloudy Now".
"Lullaby" does sound like a lullaby led by Daniel Salomon's marvelous piano playing. Salmon is also responsible for the strings arrangments in this song, as well as other songs on the album ("Open Mind", "Summer" and "Hello"). The excerpts from an old movie that are incorporated into the song take us back to similar excerpts from Pink Floyd's album "The Wall", and this is not the last time this album will evoke "pink" memories.
Anyone who listens to the closing track "Hello" and especially to Wilson's guitar work there, can not help but get flashbacks from "Pink Floyd" and we certainly do not say that is a bad thing. This is a great song that deserves all the superlatives.
It is interesting to note, that 8 of the ten songs on the album were composed by Aviv Geffen, among them is "Pain" which Aviv wrote, composed and sang and is without a doubt one of the greatest songs on the album.
After the release of the album and in an attempt to increase the audience, the band decided to go on a tour in Europe and the US. The tour in Europe is documented in Moti Kirshenbaum's film "The Dream Bus". The band (drummer Tomer Zedekiah replaced Gavin), their instruments, and technical staff on a tour (no matter where), this is the pinnacle of rock 'n' roll, sorry, that's the meaning of rock 'n' roll !!!
Aviv was so excited about this dream come true that when he entered the bus he just sat and cried for an hour in the coffee corner of the bus.
BTW, Shuki Weiss accompanied the band throughout the tour.
Blackfield's debut album is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and special albums released In Israel. "Blackfield" is indeed the product of a dream come true for Aviv Geffen, but somewhere it is a dream come true for all Israeli music industry!!!