Washington Hebrew

Washington Hebrew“They are bound to confound your expectations several times on any given album, and if you’re into that, they’re good enough at putting these weird songs together that they can pull you in with surprising ease.”Pitchfork on The Caribbean

Having performed in The Caribbean since 2000 and with no pressing desire to go ‘solo’ or work outside that secure, familiar context, Washington Hebrew acts as both a leap and bridge for Michael Kentoff. Inspired by his use of samples and loops for installations, remixes and soundtrack projects, Kentoff has employed these raw materials to craft new songs akin to the wonderfully skewed and melodic pop of The Caribbean, but with a magic all its own.
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Discography

Washington Hebrew


April 2017

Having performed in The Caribbean since 2000 and with no pressing desire to go ‘solo’ or work outside that secure, familiar context, Washington Hebrew acts as both a leap and bridge for Kentoff. Inspired by his use of samples and loops for installations, remixes and soundtrack projects, Kentoff has employed these raw materials to craft new songs akin to the wonderfully skewed and melodic pop of The Caribbean, but with a magic all its own.

In Michael’s own words, “I wanted Washington Hebrew to take what I loved of Chicago footwork, soundtracks, Dilla, and broken beats, take existing sounds and music, sample them, chop them up (often beyond recognition), and create completely new hooks and songs out of the raw, pulpy material. Recorded largely (although not entirely) alone, I was able to work on the nine songs making up Washington Hebrew in the studio, at coffee shops, at work, helping the record radiate an intimate, sneaky, and slightly indulgent glow while emphasizing the glitchy, danceable beats that made me look really weird while I mixed tracks at Starbucks.”

Biography

“To people of a certain age or perspective, Washington Hebrew might be a troublesome handle. Some may well see it as repudiation of or contempt for religion and/or me flipping the bird to the site of my bar mitzvah. The truth isn’t so contentious: indifference to the faith and/or my childhood synagogue aside, it recently occurred to me — with the clarity of distance — that the name Washington Hebrew is elegant, spellbinding, and odd. First, it is the only temple I know of without any actual Hebrew in its name. Second, it gives the city stylish primacy. Third, it has a strange heaviness.

“Having performed in The Caribbean since 2000, I haven’t harbored any pressing desire to go “solo” or work outside that secure, familiar context. But, with a boring day job and an obsession with Ableton Live, it just sort of happened. And once the project started coming into being, I set out for it two primary tenets: (1) don’t take songs away from The Caribbean and (2) transport me into uncomfortable, uncharted territory.

“Having long sampled and looped music and sounds for installation, remix, and soundtrack projects, I wanted, with Washington Hebrew, to take what I loved of Chicago footwork, soundtracks, Dilla, and broken beats, take existing sounds and music, sample them, chop them up (often beyond recognition), and create completely new hooks and songs out of the raw, pulpy material. I could best write my own songs that didn’t breach tenet (1) by treating sounds and disparate samples as guitar and piano – and then laying new melodies and lyrics over the hot mess.

“Recorded largely (although not entirely) alone, I was able to work on the nine songs making up Washington Hebrew in the studio, at coffee shops, at work . . . helping the record radiate an intimate, sneaky, and slightly indulgent glow while emphasizing the glitchy, danceable beats that made me look really weird while I mixed tracks at Starbucks. Legitimate goals, all. As is in the inevitable sigh the name Washington Hebrew will elicit from my parents. Can’t wait.”

Michael Kentoff

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Licensing

Washington Hebrew’s music is  available for licensing (master & sync cleared) through Hidden Shoal. Please contact us with some basic details about your project and the track(s) you wish to use and we’ll be sure to get back to you straight away.

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