Washington Hebrew

Michael Kentoff“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

For Michael Kentoff, singer-songwriter of the experimental pop group, The Caribbean, songwriting is problem solving. When Kentoff became fascinated with the electronic dance genre footwork, he wondered if he could apply indie-pop songcraft to its cut-up production style. The result is Kentoff’s self-titled solo debut, a satisfying amalgamation of adventurous soundscapes and well-crafted melodies.


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“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 title Washington Hebrew will elicit from my parents. Can’t wait.”

Michael Kentoff


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      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.