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Nosei Hamigbaat - Who Murdered Agantha Flaskog

We also have no idea about the identity of the murderer or who "Agantha" is, why on earth did this band not continue beyond one album, and how is it related to "Mashina's" "Monsters of Glory" album???

Therefore, we will attempt to provide some information about one of the albums that contributed to Israeli rock in the 90s and became a significant mile stone.

Similar to many Israeli (and international) bands from the 1990s, the members of "Hat Bearers" ("Nosei Hamigbaat") were a unique mix. Their music was not mainstream or overly commercial (though some may label it as "pop"), and through their one and only album released in June 1991, we gain insight into this band that briefly enjoyed success in 1991.

There are key and intriguing details that are essential to comprehend the album's narrative.

An important and intriguing personality is Kobi Or, who was not only a journalist, poet, and publisher, but primarily a rock philosopher. This title intrigued us, and perhaps one day we will see it in Wikipedia under "rock philosophers." Let's not forget the essence of this story...

Kobe gained significant recognition in the realm of alternative music. At the age of 31, he initiated the production of an independent publication named "Khamor," commonly known as a "fanzine," which delved into the topics of music and literature. Kobe was responsible for writing, editing, and even physically printing the issues. The publication, "Hard," was not released on a regular schedule but was distributed for free in select record stores. The initial ten editions, spanning from 1979 to 1983, are highly regarded as valuable collectibles. Yoav Kutner was the first to highlight Kobe's exceptional writing skills, leading to increased visibility for him. Kobe's writing style was known for its abstract and associative nature, with a focus on quotes and references related to religion, death, history, and philosophy. His work left a lasting impact on a whole generation of artists and critics, such as Yossi Babeliky, Boaz Cohen, Ehad Fishoff, Gilad Kahane, and numerous others.

If you didn't catch the name mentioned in the previous sentence, you might be wondering, with all due respect, and there is respect (at least we hope so), what is the connection to the coverage?

But before we delve into that, let's share another interesting fact...

In 1984, the Charles A. Smith High School of Arts was founded in the community center of the Mosrara neighborhood in Jerusalem. At its inception, the school had around 90 students and offered three art majors. It resided in the Mosrara neighborhood for approximately three years before expanding and relocating near the bell garden in the city.

In the inaugural class of this small artistic school in Jerusalem in 1984, Ehad Fishoff, Alon Cohen, and Yashi Ader were students. At just 14 years old, the trio formed "Kobi Or's Cap Themes" (yes, the same Kobi Or mentioned in the third paragraph). They performed together during breaks, with Ahed as the vocalist and guitarist, Alon on drums, and Yshi Ader on keyboard. A year later, Tamir Albert joined the band as the lead guitarist and an additional vocalist, prompting the group to change its name to "Nosei Hamigbaat".

(Photo: Moti Rozitsky)

From the same school, everyone dropped out except for Yishai Adar, and the band held their rehearsals at Pishoff's parents' house in Motsah Ilit. Fischoff, Cohen, and Adar moved in together in Jerusalem and would travel to Tel Aviv weekly to explore record stores and draw inspiration from new music for their evolving work.

Initially, the band mainly performed in Jerusalem at the "Pargod" theater and the "Amadeus" club in Zion Square (known as "the underground club"). They were known for their unconventional music, creative performances, and avant-garde style. Fishoff recalls, "At our first show, we adorned the stage with toilet paper and rag dolls featuring a large penis. People thought we were crazy, but fortunately, our audience, mostly friends, embraced and enthusiastically supported our wild ideas."

During those early days, the band received a boost on the radio from Yossi Kassif, a renowned radio host, who featured them on his show "Kut Other" on the C channel. In 1987, Tel Aviv producer-promoter Moti Shahrabani took over managing the band and arranging performances for them beyond Jerusalem. Their shows were titled "Live in Beit Shemesh," and they independently produced a demo tape under the same name, featuring cover versions. Shahrabani described the band's performances as captivating, mentioning, "Ahad had an electrifying charisma, Albert would sometimes perform in his underwear, and he'd even play wild solos with just two strings. It was a magical experience that defied explanation."

In 1988, the band members gathered at Hezi Davidian's home studio in Tel Aviv. Hezi, a member of the band "Maatz" who acted as a mentor to them, produced their recording "The Cassette," which was later released under the label "The Third Ear." This "cassette", which became a rare cult item, sold approximately 1,500 copies and featured the tracks "Voice of Another God," "Visit to the Mountain," and "Nosei Hamigbaat." "Tired," written by Amir Zeidner, a friend of Pishof's elite background, was also included. Sadly, Amir lost his life in a tank due to a roadside bomb explosion in southern Lebanon in 1988. The song "Visit to the Mountain" was dedicated to his memory. The band's concert tour during that period was named "Don't worry about the government."

(Photo: Eran Bendhaim)

As you are aware, the early 90s marked a significant golden era for Israeli rock, not only in the US but also in Israel. A wave of new young bands emerged, each with their unique style, some gaining mainstream success while others carved out their own niche. Acts such as "Avtipus", "Dr. Kasper's Rabbit Show", "Eyfo Hayeled?", "Zikney Tsfat", "Taarovet Ascot", "Hayehudim", "Rockfour", and many others rose to prominence during this period.

It is gratifying to see this young band finally receiving the recognition it deserves...

Simultaneously, the band also had gigs in Tel Aviv, primarily at the renowned "Penguin" club. During one of their performances, Shlomi Bracha from the "Mashina" band was present. He was struck by the fact that what he witnessed and heard was unlike anything he had encountered in Israel, leaving him impressed. Recognizing their potential, Bracha took it upon himself to introduce the band to the record company Hed Artzi for the production of an album. However, this process was not swift. It took a year of relentless efforts from Shlomi and Moti, along with arduous negotiations, before the young underground group finally signed with the prominent label of that era, "Hed Artzi" – known for representing various rock bands. Concurrently, in the same year, Yishai Ader departed from the band due to military enlistment, leading to Adam Horowitz taking over on bass and later welcoming guitarist Ram Orion into the group.

Later on, the band members will admit that their decision to sign with "Hed Artzi" was a major misstep, ultimately leading to the disbandment of the group.

Upon signing with the major label, the band embarks on the creation of their debut album, with Shlomi Bracha taking on the role of music producer. Shlomi, who hails directly from "Mashina's" record, had just released the successful album "Mortality Research Association" in the same year. The collaboration on the album was a two-way process, with Shlomi working to shape the unique material of the young band into refined songs that could be performed, while the band members introduced him to an unpolished, raw, and distinctive sound unlike anything he had encountered before. Shlomi acknowledged that working with the band members broadened his musical horizons, inspiring him to explore a variety of genres. This experience ultimately led to the creation of the "Glory Monsters" album, a departure from his previous work on mortality studies but perfectly aligned with the musical trends of the time.

It wasn't a straightforward process; in fact, it could be described as a continuous nightmare!!

In January 1991, amidst Saddam Hussein's threats to destroy Israel, the band, with Shlomi Bracha as their music producer and support from a major Israeli label, began working on their debut album at the Hamon recording studio in Ramat Gan. According to a fan in an interview, the studio experience was dreadful. The band members were described as loud and opinionated, with Tamir noting that Jacob Moreno, the technician, was not accustomed to their working style and was not fully supportive of their artistic direction, causing frequent tension that Shlomi had to manage. The band members felt a lack of creative harmony, constant conflict, and a sense of losing control over their artistry. Despite the chaos, the album was completed in just two days. The band had prepared their materials beforehand and spent most of the studio time, around three-and-a-half hours per song, in heated discussions with Shlomi and Moreno, who aimed for a grandiose sound while the band insisted on maintaining their original style.

Indeed, the debut album "Who Killed Agnetha Falskog" was released on June 27, 1991. Agnetha Plaskov is a play on the name "Anita Platskog", who is the renowned Swedish singer from the band "ABBA", the most successful Swedish pop band ever. The album features revamped versions of the band's old songs that had been previously released on tapes (such as "Live in Beit Shemesh" and "Holiday Gift"), along with new songs. Most of the album's tracks were penned by Ehad Fishoff, with "Boom and Trouble" and "Fiction" written by Adam Horowitz, and "Am I a political text?" co-written by Ehad Fishoff and Ruti Ashouri. The music was a collaborative effort among all band members.

Prior to the album's release, four singles were put out: "Next in line is a horse", a new version of "Live in Beit Shemesh" (also included on the cassette), "Ish, Kupa and Masha's", and a new version of "Am I a political text?". Subsequently, four more singles were released ("Bristles", "Boom and Trouble", "Holiday Gift", and "Fiction"). The album spawned several hits, including "Next in line is a horse", "I am a political text", "Holiday Gift", and "In the direction of the stubble", leading the band to embark on a nationwide concert tour, culminating with a performance on the main stage at the "Arad Festival" in the summer of 1991.

Despite the successful tour and significant radio airplay, the album did not achieve commercial success and was even deemed a failure. While other emerging bands were selling tens of thousands of copies, Flaskog managed to sell only five thousand. The album eventually gained recognition and became a milestone in Israeli rock only in the early 2000s when it attained gold album status.

The beginning of the end had already started...

By the end of 1991, as the band members began working on their next album, disagreements arose among them regarding the musical direction. What had made their sound and lyrics unique and special also led to their breakup. Each band member brought their own unconventional ideas, but this time they struggled to blend them together. Fishoff revealed in an interview that this disharmony was at the core of the band: "The whole story was discordant, with a perpetual lack of understanding and communication, always dissonant and conflicting." Muti suggested that success was their downfall, as egos clashed and hindered their collaboration: "Everyone was talented, but the pursuit of fame, coupled with egos, blinded them."

The band's final performance took place at the "Liquid" club in Tel Aviv on November 22, 1991.

Following the split, the band divided into two factions: the first group named "Next in Line is Nothing" consisted of Pishoff, Ram Orion, and Vichy Ader (who rejoined the group). They performed a series of farewell shows under this name, offering electronic-industrial renditions of the band's songs. Pishoff and Orion remained part of the band "Hefa and Telefiim," committing to releasing an album every six years according to their self-imposed "code."

The other faction retained the original band name and collaborated with Zvika Pick on a "comeback" album. They embarked on a successful concert tour with Pick, known as "Zvika Pick and the Hat Bearers," lasting about a year and a half. The tour featured the addition of the drummer from "Dorlaks Sadlaks" and Inbal Perlmutter. During this period, the band members re-recorded some of their songs with Pick, releasing three tracks as radio singles, including the popular "Living with Him" and the "Frecha Song."

(Photo: Yitzhak Elharar)

The album "Nosei Hamigbaat" was released in 1996 by Moti Shahrabani, who faced financial difficulties after the band's breakup. It featured songs from various periods of the band, many of which were previously only available on tapes. While three songs from the album were also included in "Who Killed Agatha Falskog," they were presented in a different version. Additionally, seven songs were selected from the "cassette". The first two tracks of the album, along with "New Material," were recorded during the band's final concert tour in 1992. The song "Radio" was captured live at "Roxanne" in August 1991.

On December 26, 2013, the original band members reunited to celebrate the reissue of their first "cassette" on the Anova label in digital format. In December 2015, the "cassette" was officially released as a vinyl record with the band's authorization, after an unauthorized release prompted a public warning against purchasing it.

In 2018, Albert and Orion, joined by other musicians, embarked on a special tour commemorating the 30th anniversary of the "cassette's" release.

Listen to the album on: Spotify, Apple Music

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