I’ve always had an active imagination. As a little boy, I used to spin round and round and make noises. Everybody called it “explosions”. But “they” didn’t understand me. They didn’t get exactly why I was spinning and making noises, so they just laughed and let me do it without asking too many questions. They figured it must be a passing phase. I remember them asking me: “Hey, Alon, will you still be making explosions when you’re twenty?” And I always replied, “Yes.” I looked for a way to silence those people so they’d stop bothering me. I remember what those “explosions” were. It was my imagination, expressing what I felt, in the most liberated way possible. I would run in circles, making sounds, as I conjured up films, music and stories in my head. I created worlds and imagined explosions. I would think, pretend, imagine, and let my thoughts run wild in sounds. Today, I still make explosions. But in a different way; today I make music. My grandmother once said, “He didn’t stop making explosions; he started making music.”
In 2009, when I was in elementary school, a friend came to talk to me. He said that he’d found the software program of a giant piano that creates trance music, just like the kind our favorite artists made back then. Something about this idea really appealed to me. It was more than just an idea. That’s how I started to play, to reverse things, to destroy them, the way I would do in a computer game. Basically it was just a hobby. I created music and even burned a disk that I called my first album, which I proudly gave to all my friends. When I got to junior high school, everything became much more serious. I remember the feeling that took control over my life — music, music and more music. My imagination had never been better. I remember one particular day, I got an idea to try something I was sure wouldn’t work. Anyway, I sent a piece I had written to one of my favorite artists at that time, and he responded in an amazing way. He said I had a very bright future. He asked me why I hadn’t signed a contract with a recording company, urging me to do so immediately. In a burst of enthusiasm, I began to send my music to different people and I got a similar response from all of them. I remember that excitement, how elated I felt from their reactions. That same day I also met my first music teacher, but he tried to convince me that he had nothing to teach me if I could create things like that. I insisted on studying with him, and as I began, he realized he’d been wrong. He understood that I had a lot to learn from someone with his many years of experience. During the years I spent in junior high school, I realized that music is everything to me. It’s more important than friends, more than love, more than family and more than me. Slowly I realized that music is me, and I am music. I can’t separate myself from it. Everything I do will be through music and it will always be there.
As music grew to be the central focus in my life, I cut myself off from everything else. I hated every minute of school, for me, it was like being in a prison. I stopped going out with friends at night and dating girls. I invested everything in learning, teachers, online lessons, whatever was available. If I wasn’t studying music, than I was making it. I was completely wrapped up in music, and everything else that had been meaningful before was pushed into a corner. I managed to get by three years of junior high school with great difficulty, ups and downs, dramas and nightmares. But the one thing I loved kept my head above water, it always kept me happy. Before I started high school, I got scared. I didn’t want to go back to jail all over again, and this time I sensed it would be even worse. I remember the day I came to take entrance exams for music majors at the high school. The moment I got out of the car, I had a bad feeling, which grew stronger as I entered the building. Walking down the halls was all it took for me to realize that I wasn’t going back there. I couldn’t do it. The farther I went down the halls, the more this terrible dread overcame me.
One day, one of the teachers made me a tempting offer. He thought that I should transfer to a special kind of university, called the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music. He said it was meant for people like me, and that it would be so much better to learn what I really wanted, instead of just wasting my time in high school. At first it was a fantasy, but little by little, and with a lot of support, that dream became a reality. I enrolled in the Rimon School. I arrived at the school with a very specific purpose: to be exposed to the world of music that I didn’t know yet. I wanted to understand the different forms, from classical to jazz, and to become more familiar with renowned composers and various instruments. I wanted to learn how to play the piano, notes, chords, steps, harmony, and so on. In other words, I came to study anything about music that doesn’t come from the electronic world of your computer. As the youngest student there, I knew it wouldn’t be easy to make new friends at the school. I was also afraid that I would lose touch with many of my former friends, and this turned out to be true. After completing three years in junior high school, I kept minimal contact with people, everyone, that is, except for my family, and even that stopped after I arrived at the Rimon School. I invested every fiber of my being to exploring music to my fullest potential. I had no friends, no girlfriend and nowhere to go. Still, I was the happiest person I could possibly be. Whenever I discovered a new and interesting move or scale, I was inspired and filled with pure joy. Over the years I developed musically and personally. I would write compositions and then delete them, sign recording contracts and then cancel them, create things and then throw them away.
As time passed, I gradually matured. On January 20, 2015, I made my first real album, “Masters of the Human Imagination.” I had a clear concept of what I wanted to include in my first album, I already had chosen the title and the name of each piece. I also knew the length of each one and how it would sound. I remember the reflections I had sometimes, when I would go outside of the studio to take a break while I was working on my album. I would say to myself, it’s really happening…I’m making my dreams come true. I was actually recording those songs that had just been playing in my head. In terms of my musical development, I’d advanced tremendously and nothing else mattered. I developed obsessive-compulsive thoughts over it, the need to make sure that everything had to be perfect. These worries always occupied my mind, yet, my imagination was overflowing, and I was happy.
Then one day something struck me, a realization that made me very uncomfortable. It was a holiday, and the normal thing was for everyone to be out with their friends. I called a few people who had been my best friends. They tried to explain, as politely as they could, that if I hadn’t been in touch with them for years, then I can’t just casually call up wanting to go out together. So, that holiday evening, I ended up eating out in a restaurant with my family. They didn’t want me to just sit at home and they couldn’t understand what their son was doing on such a day without his friends. So they took me to restaurant, because they wanted to make me happy. Then it hit me, what about my friends? Where had they gone? I had to find a way to get close to them again. And it came back very slowly, over a long period of time. I was able to rekindle and heal the relationships I had neglected. I learned to become a friend again, one of our social group, and I was surprised by what I was learning. I made a point of going out with them every holiday, and little by little I learned to combine my music and obsessions with reality. And this is something I’m still learning. I guess sometimes we have to wear all different kinds of masks to survive and keep on going.
Music for me has always been and always will be, above all, over myself, over friends, over and above the love of family. I believe that music is everything, just as important as the way we talk, the way we think, the way our dreams come to us at night. Music enters the conversations we have in the morning. We can compare it to physics, mathematics and the evolution of everything that a person sees through his own perceptions. It accompanies us in life through our highs and lows, to the places we love less, and the places we love most. I believe that when people first meet you they see your body, your clothes, and your jewelry. They hear your speech and gaze into your eyes. That’s how they decide who you are. When people listen to your music, they look deep into your brain, and they can see the bad, the good, the obsessions, what you’re trying to hide and what you’re trying to show. And that is the real you, not what you’re trying to impress people with in all kinds of superficial ways, with your money and a few pictures on social networks. My music is me no matter what happens to me as a man, it always remain. I never stopped making “explosions.” The only difference is that today, the “explosions” are not just in my head, now they are my music.
Interview by Jameson Huddle
Alon first started using sounds to express his active imagination simply with his mouth, but in 2009 a friend introduced him to software that created musical sounds without the use of a physical instrument. Creating music on the computer let his imagination free and used up his free time, as most hobbies do. However, when he reached junior high music became more important to him, and he writes, “Music is me, and I am music” (Mor, Biography). All other joys were minimal compared to letting his imagination free in music, so he neglected them. Thankfully he was able to transfer from a normal public school to the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, where he was able to put his focus on music. He learned much and on January 20, 2015, he released the last track in his first album, “Masters of the Human Imagination.” Alon developed obsessive-compulsive disorder, which drove him to do certain things over and over as well as only allowing him to be satisfied with perfection. Existentialism is a transcending of nihilism accepting that the world is absurd, and that the only meaning and worth in life is what a person can create for themselves while they are alive. Alon portrays an existentialist worldview in his tracks: “Demons” shows a search for beauty in the dark world, “Stories We’ve Made” shows the absurdity of life and particularly death, and “Nothing Ends,” shows the worth and value in his imagination and music.
“Demons” starts with a slow, ominous rise of electronic waves and pluck drums with simple whispery, yet dark, vocals in the background. It escalates to some indistinguishable words or sounds from the human voice followed by drums and a beautiful guitar plucking melody. When the tension has built sufficiently a dark, heavy bass and a metallic crushing noise begin in short intervals with drums in between, constituting the first drop. At the halfway point through the drop there is a quick pause for two bells then a drum break and continuation of the drop. The first drop fades into clicking noises that sound like small rocks sliding down a hill; then there is an interlude and buildup consisting of plucks and a guitar break as well as Middle Eastern style drums. The details and short sounds make a good melody and drums into an unexpected, lively, entertaining but still dark, build up to the second drop. As tension builds to the second drop, a soft synth wave oscillates into a reverse pad which leads directly into the drop, consisting of metallic crushing noises each with a definite end and beginning as well as drums and other more individual noises to help keep it interesting and show the diversity of human logic and musical skills artists use. After the second metallic noise a break of driving drums drives into the rest of the drop, which includes a stunning break of oscillating synthesizers. After the second drop a guitar hits with a beautiful yet sad melody, which is continued by a synth and then goes back to guitar. A piano and organ lead directly into string instruments playing the same notes showing the unity of the sound system and the tension that it can build. A synth pluck and drums begin the lead into the last drop, followed by a more oscillating pluck and faster drums. It leads the most dreadfully beautiful series of metallic dying sounds and plucks but quickly fades into bells and strings; yet before the end of the track, it returns to dark bass and demonic breathing sounds.
“Stories We’ve Made” begins with a building low synth followed by two bells and then a drop which has an eerie melody and heavy rising and falling bass, with a mixture of strings. Piano cords follow, then are joined with a beautiful voice, with a little reverb added to the first two lines, singing, “Hush my sweetie, sorrow is a choice: lay your head and listen to my voice, these are stormy times that you and I have passed, and it’s fine when we break down” (Mor, Stories We’ve Made). The track builds to a series of strings and drum which emphasize her voice for 11 seconds as she sings, “With all these words I always told, he couldn’t ever rise. And I had fought, I moved the stars in every night and night.” The music slows and the only sounds are an arpeggio pluck and piano chords as she sings “Why? We cry? You are perfect. You’re one of a kind. This world, can’t understand it yet.” And then an oscillating note builds quickly to the second drop as she sings “We can’t understand it yet.” The whole song’s tone is rather eerie, but after hearing her sing, the second drop is more eerie than the first drop even though the sounds are mostly the same; however, an extra pluck break was added near the end, and as a whole it uses more oscillations than the first drop. The end is by far the most eerie sounding as the music, it falls to a low reverse piano chord leading to her voice singing “I tried, I did my best, to make him rise. And I could not keep him, alive.” The piano stops after she sings, “him,” and the song ends with just her voice singing, “alive,” for the last 11 seconds of the recording, with pause before and reverb at the end.
“Nothing Ends” begins with what at first sounds like the chirping of birds, but then turns to what is obviously more of a synth sound. This is immediately followed a reverse pad of the synth bells leading into bell-sounding synths. A bass drum is added to the bells, then strings, starting with very low sounds and getting much higher. A few white noise or static sounds are used after the first set of strings, then the strings come back giving the music an oscillating feel. Near the end of the second set of strings, the music has a few choir-like notes and a rising choir note leads to a Middle Eastern style drum beat with short intervals and clicky clap noises. The drum is complemented by an electric guitar melody which turns more acoustic after several bars, then the third set of strings begins with a bell and a rising choir note. After a bar or so a drum/cymbal with short reverb marks a sufficient rise in tension, for soon afterwards electric notes are added in to give the music a sort of drive and energy for the first time in the piece. But the energy is quickly destroyed by unwinding sounds, and white noise bursts, and a metallic voice saying an indistinguishable word. The strings build quickly to a simple fade ending.
Alon’s OCD and general requirement of perfection causes him to have a hard time creating music and using his imagination when things around him aren’t exactly as they should be. He cares about every little detail “I can spend a whole night just on figuring out the placement of some cable behind the monitor,” and even that is sometimes not enough (Mor, interview). In “Demons,” Alon was able to push through the darkness and imperfection of his situation for the first time (Mor, interview). He used the darkness and imperfections of the world to carry his imagination as he creates a perfect track showing the realities of life being good and terrible at the same time. In the track “Demons,” Alon used metallic sounds, distortion, oscillations, drums, guitar, synths, and the human voice to give the track a dark tone. This shows an existentialist worldview by transcending of darkness to give even the darkness meaning. The lyrics and tone of “Stories We’ve Made” emphasize the absurdity of life and the world, and maintain that death is the worst absurdity of life. Everyone can choose how to react to life: “Sorrow is a choice” (Mor, “Stories We’ve Made”). “It’s fine when we breakdown,” because as the lyrics show a person can fight and lose; “You are perfect” and “You are one of a kind” and “This world, can’t understand it yet.” (Mor, “Stories We’ve Made”). She sings “I did my best, to make him rise. And I could not keep him, alive.” (Mor, “Stories We’ve Made”) Sadness permeates the style and notes as well as the atmosphere of the music, emphasizing in one more way that death is cruel and absurd.
Alon gives life, beauty, and worth through his imaginative music. The track “Nothing Ends” is beautiful and is a great example of how Alon gives purpose to his life through the imagination he puts into creating music, as well as the imagination he inspires in others through his music. “I focus my existence on music, that’s my way, that’s my path, that’s my place in this world.” (Mor, interview). The beauty and joy in Alon’s life comes from his music: “my imagination was overflowing, and I was happy.” (Mor, interview). I think Alon believes music is the only way he can communicate the entirety of himself to the world. He finds his joy and fulfillment in music. He can express his OCD only through the detail and cycling he creates in his music. In existentialist terms, music is Alon’s god.