Aviv Geffen

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Aviv Geffen
Aviv Geffen AG.jpg
Aviv Geffen
Background information
Native name אביב גפן
Birth name Aviv Geffen
Born (1973-05-10) May 10, 1973 (age 41)
Ramat Gan, Israel
Genres Alternative rock, post-punk, glam rock, pop rock, piano rock, new prog, experimental rock
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter, producer
Instruments Vocals, keyboards, guitar, piano, mellotron, xylophone
Years active 1990–present
Associated acts Blackfield
Notable instruments
Fender Toronado
Fender Lead Series
Disklavier
Yamaha PSR-185
Rhodes piano

Aviv Geffen (Hebrew: אביב גפן‎, born May 10, 1973) is an Israeli rock musician, singer, songwriter, producer, keyboardist and guitarist. He is the son of writer and poet Yehonatan Geffen and Nurit Makover, brother of actress Shira Geffen, and an alumnus of Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music.

Geffen was and is extremely popular among Israeli youth, who were known during the 1990s as the "Moonlight Children". Politically, he associates with the Israeli left. His music deals with subjects such as love, peace, death, suicide, politics, the army in general and the IDF specifically. He is often criticized for not serving in the IDF, though, officially, he was discharged for medical reasons.[1]

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Geffen was born and raised in Ramat Gan. Geffen's first public performance was in 1984, in the Israeli youth program "Sminiyot BaAvir" on the Israeli Channel 1, in which he sang the song "You're only 40 years old" which his sister wrote and which he composed by himself. In 1987 Geffen participated in the amateur film "Hamitpahat" (The Napkin), for which he wrote and sang the song "Ima" (Mom).

1990s[edit]

In 1990, Geffen recorded his first song, "Friend" (Chaver), together with the band "Cats in the Piping". In 1992, he released his first album, It's Only The Moonlight (Ze Rak Or Hayareach). All of its songs were written and the music composed by Geffen himself.

Also in 1992, he played a part in the teenage television series A Matter of Time. That year, he also wrote a song for the Israeli movie The Beach Boys. Aviv performed in clubs with his band "The Mistakes" (Hatauyot) (the Hebrew name is purposefully misspelled in two places).

In 1993, Geffen released his second album, It's Cloudy Now (Achshav Me'unan) which reached Gold in the same year. It was produced by Moshe Levi and Ofer Meiri, who created a typical Geffen sound. Aviv expressed his generation's dissatisfaction with the Israeli government. The title track "It's Cloudy Now" was followed by the question that many Israeli teenagers asked with Geffen – "Do you want change?"

In 1994, Geffen released his third album, Aviv Geffen III, a concept album about negative effects on someone who was forced to join the army, the album did not mark a change in Geffen's sound. The production was handled by Geffen and Lior Tevet. The album featured the major hit "Should I Be In Love With You" (Ha'im Lehiot Bach Mehohav), which was promoted by a video. This album followed in the success of Achshav Me'unan.

In his next album, Nowhere (Shumakom), Geffen took charge of the production, albeit with help from Reuven Shapira (as sound engineer), and producer Moshe Levi. Geffen again wrote all the lyrics and music.

As a political activist, Geffen also expressed the hope for peace with Israel's neighbors.

On November 4, 1995, the Israeli peace political parties had decided to arrange a rally to support the peace process. Geffen was invited to sing in that rally, and surprisingly decided to perform "Cry for You" (Livkot Lekha), which Geffen wrote and gave to Israeli singer Arik Einstein. Only later it was found out the lyrics had prophetically preceded the tragic assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin later that night.[2] "Cry for You" became a kind of national anthem, and was the song that symboled the Candle Children movement.

In 1996, Geffen released The Letter (Hamikhtav). The Tears Rebellion (Mered Hadmaot) was written after the murder in 1995. Furthermore, it expressed a change and a turning point in Geffen's music. Later, in 1996, Aviv recorded what was known later as "The Israeli version of 'Imagine'", "Let's Walk for the Dream" (Shir Tikva), which expressed deeply Aviv's vision.

In 1997, Geffen released his first compilation, which included a CD with the best songs of the early era, and a second CD which included B-Sides and live performances. An attempt to widen his audience on a global level saw one of Geffen's more unusual albums – "Hollowed" (Halulim). Like his bigger "brothers", it was also produced by Moshe Levi, but unlike them, it is a hard, cold, alienated album, full of distortions. Despite heavy advertising (such as billboards), the album failed commercially.

1999 saw the release of Geffen's 8th studio album – White Nights (Leilot Levanim), which was created under the influence of the changes in Aviv's life. Moshe Levi was again the producer; the combination of the two created a soft and melodic album compared to "Hollowed (Halulim)". The album contained the song "Mexico" which stayed in the Israeli charts for a long time.

2000s–present[edit]

In September 2000, Geffen released his 9th album,"Yoman Masa" ("Journey"), for the first time produced by Louie Lahav, and on a new label – "Helicon". Geffen collaborated with two notable colleagues – Daniel Salomon (who joined from the "White Nights (Leilot Levanim)" Tour) and Moshe Levi who was involved in the orchestration. Aviv had recorded 11 melodic songs, with a bonus track – a tribute to Bob Dylan – an Israeli cover to "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" (Geshem Kaved Omed Lipol) (translated by his father). The album produced three notable hits for Geffen: "Wake Up" (Uri Ur), "Scars (Zalakot)" & "Journey" (Yoman Masa) (together with Arik Einstein).

In 2001 Geffen met and began to collaborate with British rock star Steven Wilson, with whom he created the band Blackfield. Blackfield combines the musical efforts of both musicians and they perform their own original compositions as well as Aviv's own songs translated into English. The band released three highly acclaimed albums in the mid-2000s (see ahead) and conducted major tours for each release. Their fourth release in 2013 saw Wilson take more of a back seat due to his own increasing workload, opting to produce the album and contribute minor writing and recording work only.

Two years after "Journey" (April 2002), Geffen released his next album: "Memento Mori", which he dedicated to his grandmother who died a short time before the album's release. The name was taken from the Latin phrase, "Remember You Will Die" (meaning one should remember one's mortality). Like his previous albums, "Memento Mori" was soft (but still features harder compositions). The album featured two major hits: "Ray of Light (Keren Or)" and "Moving Forward (Holech Kadima)." From this album came the single Sad Song (Shir Atzuv).

In 2003 the Israeli documentary film "Aviv" was released which focused on Aviv Geffen's life. The film premiered at the Bangkok International Film Festival.

Blackfield in concert, Geffen on right (2005)
Aviv Geffen, 2005

In 2004 the album "Blackfield" was released which was a result of the collaboration between Geffen & Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree.[3][4] Its followup Blackfield II was released in early 2007,[5] followed by the live DVD Blackfield: Live in NYC later in the year. Both of the Blackfield albums spawned several hits, notably "Blackfield", "Pain" and "Once". A third album, entitled "Welcome to my DNA" was released in March 2011, in which most songs were written by Geffen. It also contains a renewed version of the track Zigota (זיגוטה) from his album "Memento Mori".

In 2006 Geffen's 11th album "With Time (Im Hazman)" was released. The theme song is a cover to a French chanson by Léo Ferré, which indicated matureness and sobering from the clichés that he symbolized in his initial years. Most recently he compiled a 2CD/1DVD live album, simply titled Live. Lately, Geffen declared himself radical left.[6]

After releasing two albums with Blackfield, Geffen announced in November 2007 that he was recording his first English-language studio album.[7] In January 2008 his single 'End of the World' charted at number one in Poland and he performed at Bush Hall in London on the 31st. He released a single (Silence) at the end of 2008 and is touring throughout January 2009, with dates in Kraków, Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Amsterdam, Munich, Paris and London.

In June, he announced that recording had begun at Sarm West Studios, with Trevor Horn producing and Steven Wilson and Mike Garson featuring on the album. These sessions led to his debut English-language album, Aviv Geffen, released towards the end of summer 2009. The debut single released was 'It was Meant to be a Love Song'.

In March 2011, Blackfield's third studio album was released called "Welcome to my DNA".[8]

Beginning in 2012, Aviv Geffen served as one of the four judges on the Israeli version of the singing competition The Voice Israel.

Aviv Geffen’s newest EP – Mr Down & Mrs High was be released in the UK on May 23, 2012. Part produced by Tony Visconti and Trevor Horn, the EP features four tracks, includes the lead song Mr Down & Mrs High, with 'Jerusalem', Highway' and 'When Summer Comes' .

Musical influences[edit]

Over the years, Geffen's musical style has been influenced by rock bands like Pink Floyd, U2, Radiohead, Nirvana, and artists like John Lennon and Bob Dylan. Geffen's piano and guitar playing is mainly influenced by Radiohead's Thom Yorke and U2's The Edge. Geffen has often cited Bob Dylan and Roger Waters as major influences.

Discography[edit]

Solo albums[edit]

  • 1992 – Ze Rak Or Hayareach ("It's Only The Moonlight")
  • 1993 – Ahshav Meunan ("It's Cloudy Now")
  • 1994 – Aviv Geffen III
  • 1995 – Nowhere
  • 1996 – The Letter
  • 1997 – Yareach Malé ("Full Moon") - 2CD compilation album.
  • 1998 – Halulim ("Hollowed")
  • 1999 – Leyloth Levanim ("White Nights")
  • 2000 – Yoman Massah ("Journey")
  • 2002 – Memento Mori
  • 2006 – Im Hazman ("As Time Goes By")
  • 2006 - Mihuts LaTacharut ("Out Of The Race") – Exclusive to the Ltd edition 2CD version of "As Time Goes By".
  • 2007 – Rak Shirey Ahava (Only Love Songs) - Love songs collection sold exclusively at the Aroma Espresso Bar chain.
  • 2008 – Live – 2CD and DVD box set.
  • 2009 – Aviv Geffen - First English language album.
  • 2012 – Mosaic
  • 2012 - Mr. Down & Mrs. High - E.P.
  • 2014 – Cracks

Singles not included in albums[edit]

  • 1991 – "Haver" ("Friend")
  • 1999 – "Rock and Roll"
  • 2000 – "Kmo BaShir" ("Like in The Song")

Albums with Blackfield[edit]

Work for other artists[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Geffen performing with his father Yehonatan Geffen (2005)

Geffen is the son of producer Nurit Geffen and author and poet Yehonatan Geffen. His sister is actress Shira Geffen. Geffen was named after his deceased grandmother, Aviva Geffen.

In 1996 Geffen married Israeli actress Elana Berkowitz. The couple divorced in 1998.

In 2005 Geffen married Shani Friedan after a seven-year relationship. The couple's first son, Dylan, was born in 2007. He is named after singer Bob Dylan.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "חדשות – תקשורת nrg – האביב מגיע לגלצ". Nrg.co.il. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Aviv Geffen". Jewishvirtuallibrary.org. November 4, 1995. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  3. ^ Anderson, Rick (February 22, 2005). "Blackfield". AllMusic. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Blackfield Biography". Starpulse.com. June 17, 2010. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  5. ^ Greenberg, Adam. "Blackfield II". AllMusic. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Leftist Rocker Sings His Country's Praises". The Jewish Daily Forward. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  7. ^ Asthana, Anushka. "Aviv Geffen recording his first English-language studio album". London: Times. Retrieved August 26, 2011. [dead link]
  8. ^ Ruhlmann, William (March 28, 2011). "Welcome to My DNA – Blackfield". AllMusic. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  9. ^ Aviv Geffen – Biography

External links[edit]