Avi Ronen is going to change how you view not only dance music but also the guitar’s role in that style. With Trancefusion, Ronen has created a crosscultural, genre-busting collection of tunes that will obliterate stereotypes and boundaries with its mix of techno beats, Middle Eastern melodies, and killer guitar work. The idea for this project came many years ago when Ronen was exposed to Goa trance music in his native Israel. “When I first heard it, I thought it was lame,” he admits, “but then a friend took me to an outdoor party where it was playing and it was all over. I fell in love with it.”
Ronen’s travels would take him to India and the Far East before settling on the island of Maui, where he works as a guitar builder and musician. The bulk of the guitar tracks on Trancefusion were played on instruments built by Ronen. On the opener, “Tie Die,” he plays a guitar made of mango wood that he claims has “sustain from here to the moon.” The tune features spooky synths and haunting vocals that hypnotize for several minutes before the guitar comes in, with crying bends, dreamy echo, and yes, gobs of sustain. The rest of the signal chain was “a wah, a Tube Screamer, and a 7-watt Little Lanilei tube amp.” Other guitar tones on the album were created with a Boss GS- 10 run direct in stereo.
Joining Ronen on the album are DJ Gidi Snapir and vocalist Keren Porat-Snapir and they spin trippy tapestries of techno that can be rocking, as on “Teti Beti,” pulsing (“Slicer”), or pensive (“Janata Chill”). Spin this record at your next party and see what happens. Maui Tribe.