A simple piece of wood with seven holes — that’s what Itzhak Ventura uses to transport listeners to another time and place. Inspired by street performers in Spain, Ventura dug deep into the lineage of a Middle Eastern flute called the ney, slowly developing his own style by studying with teachers in Turkey, Israel and the United States. Today, Ventura plays with the Jerusalem Orchestra East West and has collaborated with rapper Tuna; he also recently appeared on Jarak Qaribak, the collaboration between Israeli singer Dudu Tassa and Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood.  “Like the flute itself,” he says, “I’m a tube. This music runs through me.” With his latest album – Ein-Sof, out on Tel Aviv’s Raw Tapes – he’s elevated his mystical playing to a different dimension.

With Ein-Sof — which translates to there is no end — Ventura has created a mysterious, slowly-unfolding album pairing his fluttering ney with an ambient-electronic soundbath from producer/musician Rejoicer. The record pushes boundaries. “I want people to feel the connection of heart and spirit,” says Ventura. “The ney itself is a reed cut from its source; this sound reflects how we are also separated from the divine. And these songs bring us closer to unity.” To create the first single from the album, “Doosh Doosh,” Ventura lifted melodic phrases from a traditional Persian song, adding his own gorgeous swirls and twists, as Rejoicer sequenced synths create a royal elegance. The title of the album’s second single, “Haleli,” comes from the Hebrew word for “prayer.” Ventura channeled its melody while sitting in Egypt’s Sinai desert, facing the Red Sea — humbled to be alone in such a wide-open swath of Earth.

Label: Raw Tapes

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