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Noga Erez Imagines A Dystopia Where The Hand-People Judge Us All

Israeli singer-songwriter Noga Erez makes politically charged dance music — throbbing stuff whose aggressive, cathartic force is only magnified by messages about power and independence. Erez was recently tapped to open for Sylvan Esso on a European tour, which makes all the sense in the world: Both make grabby, stylistically inventive electro-pop that asserts itself in every note.

New Erez songs have been trickling out in the lead-up to a new album called Off The Radar, and the title track is the best yet. The video for "Off The Radar," directed and conceptualized by Eden Kalif and Daniella Meroz, looks as striking as the song is boldly banging.

"The music video deals with the concept of being judged, and the perceived necessity of having to meet the expectations of others," Kalif and Meroz write via email. "The characters perform in a 'competition' that has no real ending or winner, just like we feel when we put ourselves deep in the race of life."

In the "Off The Radar" video, that story is told through a string of grabby, sometimes unsettling images. "The video takes place at a bizarre sports event where all the participants are weird and eccentric creatures," Erez writes. "We wanted to create a world that shows characters who are trapped in a loop of trying to prove themselves. The judges of this contest are faceless. They express their approval by their moving hands, though you can't really tell whether they like or dislike the performances. It's a very festive-looking, yet very alienated world."

Noga Erez's Off The Radar is due out June 2 via City Slang.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)