Haifa Producer, Shuzin, Creates an Anonymous Field of Sounds
Location doesn’t seem to faze the Haifa-native, whose lounge room, recording studio, and Chigurh haircut feel worthy of a Tarantino set. “There’s no fomo in Haifa,” says Shuzin, attesting to his palpable work ethic.
By Asher Parkes
Photo credit - Matansky
Originally published in As Promised magazine, November 2020.
“Haifa works, Jerusalem prays, Tel Aviv plays.” The maxim attests to Israel’s third-largest city, offering some of the world’s most significant investment opportunities. From an arts perspective, Haifa lacks the pulsating Tel Aviv nightlife and fabled creative schools of Jerusalem but is home to the blossoming of a weighty cultural scene. It is curious therefore to meet Shuzin, a musician, artist, producer, and everything-er (whose name originates from a Haifa inside joke) in a second-floor apartment in the Hadar HaCarmel suburb—a mixed neighborhood inhabited by Arabs, Ultra-Orthodox Jews, and old-timers, all of whom enjoy the glorious view of the Haifa Port.
Location doesn’t seem to faze the Haifa-native, whose lounge room, recording studio, and Chigurh haircut feel worthy of a Tarantino set. “There’s no fomo in Haifa,” says Shuzin, attesting to his palpable work ethic. Vintage microphones, a Rhodes piano, and a vinyl collection of independent records you’ve never heard of compose the furniture. “It’s the only way I listen to music,” he admits, conceding his purist inclinations. “It’s a certain amount of respect you give to the songs—if you put a record on, you’ll give at least 20 minutes for the first side.”
It’s difficult to identify who exactly he is. A long-time member of Haifa’s Ghostown artist collective where he still relishes in tagging the murals he paints with an underground moniker, Shuzin made inroads in the Israeli music scene more than a decade ago. He has a significant share in a handful of pioneering electronic bands of differing sub-genres, notably 3421 and Geshem. He’s produced Neo-soul and R&B works for artists as prolific as Ester Rada. Still, he chooses not to maintain a single creative voice, or a name.
Watching Shuzin perform live, you get the sense of a character actor in the world of music. His concerts are almost equal parts song to theater, and in each stage-act, you’re deceived into thinking he’s a different player. Shuzin feels a certain adrenalin in separating projects, letting each one develop a unique personality. “I prefer watering a field and seeing what grows, rather than focusing on just one flower.” Eliciting mystery is also cherished. “In a world which is so transparent and televised, it’s nice to have some distance and keep things a little blurred.” He’s loosely alluding to an enigmatic 1970s artist and Eastern-European immigrant character he created, who has his own cult following and catalog of records cut on 4-track magnetic tape, and whose name he prefers remain unpublished.
Shuzin has a characteristic interest in sound, almost obsessively so. “I want the records I make to feel addictive, epic sounds you’d want to hear all the time,” he says, without noting any particular project. He considers the Israeli 00’s band Izabo as one of the greatest in the last few decades, owing to a “sound that says something.” Less concerned with global recognition as he is with distribution, Shuzin hopes one day others around the world will appreciate, on vinyl, the sound of the art he creates.