Raz Mesinai’s unique methods in producing and teaching has made him one of New York’s most in demand teachers of music production today.
- United States, New York City, NY
Raz began experimenting with cassettes and sampling at the age of 10, and at 14, was discovered by legendary musician Juma Sultan, a multi instrumentalist who collaborated with Jimi Hendrix and worked closely with the early Fairlight CMI Sampler.
Although Raz was trying to create music for Breakdancers in his neighborhood in New York City, Juma immediately recognized that Raz was also, unknowingly, working in similar ways to Jamaican Dub producers and experimental Rock musicians, such as Richie Havens and Jimi Hendrix.
To help guide Raz’s development, Juma gave him a Mutli-Vox Tape Echo machine and a ribbon microphone, which Raz later used, along with percussion, drum machines, tape recorders and samplers, to produce his early productions.
Since then, Raz’s productions have continuously surprised and inspired thousands of artists from around the world of various fields and disciplines, including experimental and contemporary music, avant garde, dub, dub step, experimental hip hop, free jazz, noise, drone music, electronic music and Dancehall. Raz Mesinai’s project Badawi (1996-2011) helped define a style of music for film and media about horror and crisis in the Middle East, and his duo project with John Ward, Sub Dub, was a catalyst for the so called “illbient scene” in the 90’s in NYC. After Raz’s album from 1999, Badawi: The Heretic Of Ether (Asphodel) was used as the template for the score to the blockbuster film, Black Hawk Down by Ridley Scott, Raz pioneered and coined the term “Score Design”, the act of conceptualizing and producing temp and underscore for films with particularly demanding needs, eventually leading him to work on major motion pictures, including Darren Aronofsky’s “The Fountain”, “Black Swan” and “The Wrestler” and more recently, Yaron Zilberman’s “A Late Quartet”. In 2004, Raz was awarded the prestigious Sundance Composers Lab Fellowship, where he worked on scores for Sundance Directors, with one on one guidance from composers John Adams, Osvaldo Golijov, Thomas Newman, Ed Shearmur and Jeff Beal, leading him to compose original scores for several documentaries and feature films.
Raz has received commissions from The Lincoln Center Festival, Carnegie Hall, Kronos Quartet, Ethel, The Kitchen and many other prestigious institutions and ensembles, and has, officially, remixed such artists as Burning Spear (Sub Dub), Shackleton (Badawi) and Arto Lindsay (Sub Dub) among others. Over the past 15 years, Raz has taught master classes in music production, sound design and film scoring at UCSD, The New School, Dub Spot and NYU and now works exclusively for the UPA. Raz is CEO of the sound design company Myth & Sound, Co owner of Trans-media production company Dub Fiction and co runs the record labels Silo Rumor w/ Jonathan Uliel Saldana and The Index w/ Dave Q.
Fun Facts: 1. To get the best results for each production, Raz rebuilds his entire studio from scratch, often combining his work as a visual artist to create sculpturesque environments that are also functioning recording studios. For instance, Raz re-created the environment from Kafka’s story “The Metamorphosis” for his album Before The Law (Tzadik, 2001) and produced the psycho erotic horror album, The Unspeakable (BSI, 2000) in a studio built within a baby crib surrounded by the headless bodies of mannequins that he found outside of a clothing store in Soho.
2. When Mary Anne Hobbs asked Raz to do a mix for BBC Radio, he produced the Dub Opera Inanna’s Descent To The Netherworld, which disturbed the producers at the BBC so much that they demanded she state a disclaimer before playing it.
3. In the early 90’s, Mesinai landed an opportunity to write an issue of Marvel Comics Presents #99, which he used as a way to explore his idea of Trans Media Graffiti, and promote his “SoundBoy” concept and character. Many years later, the comic reached Hip Hop producer and rapper HPrizm (aka High Priest of Anti Pop Consortium) among others.
4. Raz was commissioned to draw a graphic novel for the album Black Sun (Hyperdub), written and produced by Kode9 and The Space Ape.
5. Raz was in the music video for Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat) by The Digable Planets, and can be spotted if you freeze frame at the line “my man with the Astroid Belt”.
6. Raz’s score to Hellraiser 6 was thrown out for being “too scary for the film”, and later became the album The Unspeakable (BSI, The Index) 2000.
7. In 2012 Raz produced and directed the underground film, Tunnel Vision, which was released on Tzadik DVD Series, and hailed by film composer John Zorn as “A 21st century cult classic”.
8. Raz was one of the first Ableton Live Certified Trainers.
9. Raz is the grandson of abstract sculptor and decorated war artist Manuel Bromberg.
10. Raz composed and produced the album Resurrections For Goatskin (Tzadik, 2003), using only skins from goats as source material.
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