Mixtape: DJs make music to break down borders

DJs Ophir Toubul and Gal Kadan are in the business of making music to break down borders. Culling sounds from all corners of the world, the duo (known as Laissez-Passer) strings together everything from Mizrahi music to Jamaican dancehall to Kanye West. Most of all, they just want you to dance.

By Ophir Toubul and Gal Kadan


Diblo Dibala – Laissez-Passer (Excerpt)
Stromae – Papaoutai
Major Lazer – Watch Out for This (Bumaye)
Eyal Golan – Hazak Mimeni
Mahendra Kapoor & Suresh Wadekar – Sada Vasda Raje Punjab (Uproot Andy RMX)
Rima – Sidi Mansour (feat. Rayan)
M.I.A. – Y.A.L.A.
TYP feat Omer Adam – Meshuga
Kanye West – New Slaves (Brenmar Club Edit)
Fnaïre – Z’Waq
Omer Adam ft. Arisa – Tel Aviv

Tell us a little bit about the mixtape

Ophir: This is the fifth mixtape to be put out by Laissez-Passer (not to be confused with the blog that deals with issues surrounding asylum seekers, foreign workers and refugees). The idea behind our mixes is to combine all kinds of different music from around the world. We chose to include ten new songs that we both love and think that represent the spirit of what is happening in the world right now. We put together a mix which includes M.I.A. from London by way of Sri Lanka, Major Lazer with a Jamaican tune, Stromae with a song about missing his Rwandan father, the Moroccan hip hop ensemble Fnaire, Kanye West and his brilliant song “New Slaves,” and of course the two most interesting artists around in Israel today – Omer Adam and Eyal Golan.

What was your first encounter with non-mainstream music?

Gal: It’s 2004. A friend puts on a Gogol Bordello album in the car, and my world just explodes. Gogol Bordello, at that point, was the epitome of “immigrant music” – political, heavy, ass kicking.

What kind of music did you grow up on?

Gal: I grew up on all kinds of rock music. From poppy things like Aerosmith to metal. Afterwards I moved toward electronic stuff – today it’s much more fluid. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of synth pop and new wave from the 80s. Last week I happened across Etnix’s “Kiturna Masalla” and fell in love. I look for things that combine electronica, pop and tradition. I dream of making that kind of music.

Etnix and Zehava Ben – Kiturna Masalla:

Do you prefer vinyl or digital?

Gal: My computer feels like it’s connected to my body, so my answer has to be digital. The entire discourse on quality of sound is a little fascist in my eyes. On the other hand, I am totally jealous of record collectors, and especially their need to find that one specific album they’ve been searching for all their lives – it’s such a romantic thing. Of course, after they’ve found it they move onto the next.

Today, selling records strays from love of music – it has simply become a collectors market. When I was in Istanbul, I spent half the time in record stores looking for rare Turkish rock. It pretty much cost as much as the entire trip itself.

How do you acquire most of your music?

Ophir: I mostly download, truthfully. I download the really rare music from Deezer when I can’t find on Soulseek. I like buying albums after shows, because I know that the music actually goes to the artist. But it has been years since I’ve just walked into a music store.

Gal: Digital stores: Beatport, Juno, Walla and lately even iTunes. The day that the iTunes began operating in Israel was a happy one for me. There were so many songs I wanted to get but couldn’t. I have no problem with downloading, but as someone who makes money from other people’s music, I think it’s fair that I purchase it.