The Jascha Ephraim Memorial Library
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The Jascha Ephraim Memorial Library

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"Four Stars"

'70s pop songwriting sensibilities crafted from simple synthesizer bleeps, plastic drum machines and a friendly vocodered voice from this North Carolina troubadour. Less weird than Arial Pink, but still should be filed in the same stack of CDs. Repeat listens will keep it towards the top of said pile. JG - URB Magazine


"Five out of Five Astronauts Raining"

Jascha has another fan. His quirky little self-entitled album is some of the best fun, lyrically humorous and synthy-jazzy summer sundae stuff I’ve found lately. Piano-y bippy-ness and fabulous percussion accompanies Jascha's delectable voice, which fills each song with explicitly funny-as-hell lyrics that you'll want get ears around. Jascha sings, "Yeah I'm a f*cking Hebrew screw up..." which, by the way, is set to one of the most mesmerizing, beautifully orchestrated and full-bodied synth tunes ever. Maybe Bootsy Collins and Jascha should hook up for a project? They have some similar musical riffs going on.

If music can be this delicious - with piano sprinkles, topped off with a nutty twist - then Jascha is really the ice cream man driving around in that little white van. He’s coming around the neighborhood so give him your change. - Jive Magazine


"Random Acts"

As a songwriter, he's at least as clever in his wordplay as any acoustic folkie, and even performing alone, he's more fun to listen to than any local indie-rock band. Jascha Ephraim's music also provokes more excited stomping than anything on the hard-core/punk front. And, man, the guy can dance. On the surface, Ephraim's style is firmly based in the catchiest of post-disco '80s synth-pop – and yet his awesomely funny lyrics deliver his music beyond that realm. His songs explore such twisted subjects – riding around on the back of a dinosaur, or the Columbia space-shuttle disaster – that it's hard not to find something to enjoy. Look for the disc to be dropped sometime before summer. - Mountain Xpress


"Jascha's Last Stand"

No matter how you slice it, Jascha Ephraim is an unlikely local-music icon.

Far from embracing the over-earnestness so common to members of the singer/songwriters' club, Jascha is a self-mocking lyricist, his songs covering such vaunted themes as his ex-bandmate's whistling ("Chompers") and the dubiousness of his own rock-star daydreams ("Hebrew Screw-Up").

Yet in his own way, the rail-thin synth-pop performer has become a downtown musical phenomenon – not bad for a guy who likes to sing about the antics of his grandmother.

Stranger still, Jascha does it all with only a CD of his own prerecorded tracks as backing.

And yet his early demo recordings have become part of the standard currency of the Asheville rock scene, traded with great eagerness. Since March, Jascha's hungry legion of listeners has awaited the release of his much-talked-about, self-released debut album, something he's repeatedly promised would be available any day – that is, as soon as his dad got through mastering it, and his mom had finished making the cover art.

Yet nothing ever came of it.

Then, not too long ago, I got an e-mail from Jascha reporting that he was leaving Asheville to seek greener pastures on the West Coast.

New CD or no, it seemed high time to shine a little extra light on the brain of Asheville's most unlikely pop star. What follows are excerpts from an interview done earlier this year.

... - Mountain Xpress


Discography

*New album spring 2007*

Jascha Ephraim (s/t)
2004 Exotic Recordings

Butthawk
1998 (unreleased)

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Since touring North America on Amtrak for a month with his clairvoyant ex-girlfriend, Jascha Ephraim has stopped performing his grotesque multimedia pop show. He's been hard at work in his room for two years composing, recording, and meticulously hyper-editing a new album of brain melting chamber music and sound collage.

Jascha Ephraim first made a name for himself in the vibrant music scene of Asheville, NC, for an energetic and theatrical solo act involving exaggerated pop music, synchronized video projections, and costumes that were simultaneously over-sexed and awkwardly childish. He released his self-titled album in 2004 on Connecticut label Exotic Recordings. It gained great reviews, college radio airplay, a devoted following across the country, and a spot on Vice Magazine's music video sampler DVD.

Shortly after moving to San Francisco for greater creative opportunities, Jascha began to depart from his acclaimed pop style. The heavy production and synthesizers have given way to unnaturally bare recordings of orchestral instruments, a variety of unusual voices, and anxious ambiance. Each minute detail has been painstakingly authored and edited to create a bad trip out of beautiful compositions.

Jascha's new live orchestra, the Jascha Ephraim Memorial Library, combines his earlier visual theatrics with the heightened spectacle of precise musicianship. The Library can involve anywhere from six to twelve people including dancers, cameramen, light controllers, tape machine operators, and, of course, a variety of impressive musicians. The performance involves the entire audience by pouring off the stage with structures, decorations, dancing, and flying debris. Jascha conducts from atop a towering muumuu with flashlight beams in a thin fog. Each performance is unique and personal and not to be missed.