Two years back and forth on the London-Tel-Aviv flight path, a mutual artistic curiosity, and a close friendship are the components that gave birth to Aviv and Steven's Blackfield project.
Aviv Geffen, a highly successful solo artist and outspoken (not to mention controversial) peace campaigner, with a string of gold albums in his own country, discovered the music of Steven's band Porcupine Tree in the mid 90's and followed their career development. In 2000 he invited the band to perform some concerts in Israel and met with Steven in London to discuss the idea. Something clicked and before long they had already collaborated on the very first Blackfield song. In 2001 the two met in a studio in Tel Aviv with the intention of recording a one-off EP. So pleased were they and the record company with the results however, that the EP originally scheduled for release in 2001 was cancelled and the decision was made to continue writing and recording with the aim of completing a full length LP. Over the next 18 months the pair fitted in Blackfield writing and recording sessions whenever they could between their other commitments and finally in October 2003 the album was complete.
The collaborative songs alongside songs written by each separately brought a unique meeting of cultures, which resulted in a sophisticated, melodic and melancholic rock album.
The 10 track album was first issued by Helicon/Universal in Israel in February 2004 and spawned two huge hit singles in "Hello" and "Pain". The success of the album meant that the next step to making Blackfield a live band could be taken, and in February a 5 piece band version of Blackfield made their debut by performing on several prime time Israeli TV shows.
In the meantime an international release for the album was arranged through Snapper Music in the UK, and the album was issued in August to phenomenal reviews in Europe and America, many hailing it as a masterpiece and an instant classic. Aviv and Steven undertook a major promotional campaign and the live band played two special concerts to launch the album, one each in their two home towns of Tel Aviv and London. Shortly afterwards a full European tour, and a shorter US tour took place. Several of the songs from Blackfield were also issued as singles in Europe and the band went on to score major hits in several countries.
The Blackfield band line up from 2004 to the present:
Steven Wilson - vocals, guitars, additional keyboards
Aviv Geffen - vocals, keyboards, additional guitars
Daniel Salomon - piano
Seffy Efrati - bass guitar
Tomer Z - drums, percussion
In March 2005, a 70 minute documentary film about the Blackfield tour of Europe was broadcast by Channel 10 in Israel.
Aviv and Steven spent the rest of 2005 writing new material and working on their own projects, but in early 2006 Steven moved to Israel for 6 months to enable Blackfield to work on a new album. As on the first album both songwriters composed original songs for Blackfield, but also a few of Aviv's songs previously recorded in Hebrew as a solo artist were selected and translated into English. This time the record was made in one short burst of activity (unlike the sporadic sessions for the first album that spanned 2 years). Using the now established 5 piece Blackfield band line up, the resulting album Blackfield II has a stronger sense of direction and power, and is described as "a collection of 10 perfectly crafted songs of beauty and melancholia, combining great hooks, sweeping strings, explosive guitars, and lush vocal harmonies."
In the meantime the band signed a new deal for the United States with Atlantic / We Put Out Records, which promises to bring their music to a wider audience in the States.
Blackfield II will be issued in February 2007 on Snapper (Europe) and Atlantic (USA), while the band undertake a major European and US tour throughout February and March.