Hebrew guide to progressive rock

Atmosphera (Hebrew spelling for "Atmosphere")

Review by Uri Breitman

Atmosphera is a relatively unknown Israeli progressive rock band from the late 70's. They recorded two long, epic pieces for an album with English lyrics (Shakespeare & Lord Tennyson), but the album was too far-out for the small Israeli music industry, so the master tapes were archived and the album was never issued on vinyl.

25 years later, a small progressive rock & psychedelia collectors' label, MIO records, gathered all the tapes, videos and information on the disbanded group, and released the album on a 2-CD package, with bonus tracks and a digital videoclip. This project was executed mainly for export, using the internet, webshops and progressive rock online communities. None the less, the Israeli Army Radio promoted the album in Yoav Kutner's popular daily broadcast. The Atmosphera videoclip was also aired on the Israeli music channel, on which Kutner is the chief editor. The album sold well abroad, and the first edition was soon out of print. MIO Records issued a 2nd edition, which is also popular.

Atmosphera's style is "mainstream prog-rock" - heavily influenced by YES's symphonic style. The music is melodic, classical and well-arranged. Their drummer is influenced by Bruford's style, the bassist emulates Squire's sound, the keyboardist uses some of Wakeman's playing tricks, and even their soloist sounds very much like the high-pitched Jon Anderson. "Yes" fans have enjoyed this highly-capable group of musicians, who offer virtuousic abilites and solid compositional skills.

The double album boasts three major highlights:
- "Lady of Shalott" - the title track
- "Cuckoo - Alternate Version" (new remix with added Mellotron and digital effects)
- The avant-garde "Catharsis" by a different, later line-up called Istopy.

The musicians:
Efrayim Barak - Vocals
Moti Fonseka - Guitar
Alon Nadel - Bass
Yuval Rivlin - Keyboards
Ami Lipner (later re-named himself to Mi El-Ma) - Drums

Watch Atmosphera's Video Clip - Lady of Shalott
Atmosphera - Lady of Shalott
Learn more about Israeli progressive rock:

Zingale - the most famous Israeli progressive rock group
Ahvak - modern Israeli avant-prog by Cuneiform
Lord Flimnap - Neo-prog trio from the 80's
Sympozion - Modern counterpoint compositions in the spirit of Gentle Giant
Hot Fur (Parva Chama) - Zappa-influenced group, debut album on Musea Records
Zoltan's Israeli prog page
Israeli Progressive Rock history at GEPR's webzine