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The Code of the Mouth:
The code of the mouth is a set of rules The Mouth and Foot committed to follow since the beginning. The mare existence of the code, and the keeping of it, are essential for the survival of the group, that decided to release an album every six years until its members reach 80 years of age. In order to fulfill such a serious commitment there must be discipline. And in order to keep the discipline, rules are needed.
However, although the initial impression may be a little rigid, it is important to emphasize the the code of the Mouth is a live and dynamic creature, which nourishes the group’s creativity and supports it. Many rules go with the Mouth from the first moment, but there are also those who are established from album to album, or are discovered and uncovered in time. Following is a selection of prominent rules from the code of the Mouth.
1. An album every six years
The most important rule of all. The commitment to keep it is more important than any other aspect in the existence of the Mouth and Foot. "If we fail it, we have no dignity, reliability or any good reason to exist at all," said once a member of the group emotionally. Luckily, this rule was never violated.
2. One cover – many colours
All Mouth albums have an identical cover, that includes the main Mouth image (on the front), and the secondary mouth image (in the booklet). In order to distinguish between the albums, the colour system was developed. Each album has its unique colour, which is decided in a special meeting. The method by which the right colour is chosen for each album will never be exposed (the colours of the existing four albums to date are yellow, pink, silver and green).
3. Casio is king
The central musical instrument of the Mouth and Foot is the Casio organ. Different models of Casio organs served the group successfully from the first days. The automatic accompaniment function of these organs is the skeleton around which most of the group’s songs are created. The Mouth and Foot hope to continue and strengthen the warm relationship between it and the Japanese company.
4. The patriotic cover version
The last track in every Mouth album is an improvised version of a known Israeli song. The decision which song will be covered is made early on in the album preparation process (second to third year). This fact allows the Mouth members three to four years during which they can listen to the original song and contemplate its hidden potential – with no practical result, which is strictly forbidden at this stage. This slow building of creative energy waiting to erupt is eventually released in the studio, where the cover version is recorded in one take and with no rehearsals (songs covered so far are "Ammunition Hill", "Here Comes the peace", "Got to Continue Playing" and "One Heart").
5. The Open Invitation
In each album an open invitation is sent to friends or artists admired by the Mouth, to take part in one or two tracks. This is done in order not to lose contact with the outside world (in the first album, an army unit took part in the song "David Ashkenazi", written by two of the soldiers; in the second, one text was requested from David Krosney and "Completion Song" by the admired group Heda Boshes was covered; in the third, a text was requested from Etgar Keret and another of Alexander Pushkin RIP was translated; in the fourth, one text was written by Hila Gavron and the Cookies Choir took part in "Herusalema", originally performed by the Saddle Nomads).
6. The song with the fatal meaning
The one before last song in each album has a fatal theme – in melody, lyrics, title or all three. Ending was always an important element in the Mouth and Foot’s body of work, and this rule celebrates this tendency (the fatal songs to date are "Farewell Song", "Completion Song", "Closing Song" and "Not With Us").
7. The locating title
The long time between albums finds the Mouth and Foot in a different place each time – geography and mentally. It’s important for the group to note this in the titles of the albums. The first album was titled "Between the Sea and Swamps". From the song with this title that appeared in the second album (see next rule) you could understand it meant the occupied territories. The second album found the Mouth and Foot in Space. The third brought the group back to the reality of Jerusalem, a city that influenced it a lot, and the fourth arrives at the South African village of Kaligaro.
8. The song with the previous album’s title
Every album includes a song which has the title of the previous album (see previous rule). This rule is one of the code rules which fills up parts of any future album with potential content, even before the six-year count has started.
9. The Spirit of recording
The basic idea is to maintain a level of maximal freshness, simplicity and intuitiveness in the recorded tracks. The first two albums were recorded in a day on a four-track tape, the home recording instrument of days past. "Jerusalem" and ""Kaligaro" were recorded into a computer in a few short sessions. The Mouth and Foot don’t rehearse before the recordings. The pre-production process contains a series of meeting spread over the six years between an album to the next (see rule 1). The meeting take place in the members’ houses around the world, and there some of the songs are written.
10. The record label goes bankrupt
Possibly the most mysterious and dark rule in the code. It is beyond the group’s control or comprehension. History shows that every record label that releases an album for the Mouth and Foot goes bankrupt within a few years, and in any case before the release on the next Mouth album (The Third Ear, Kasbah Records, Levantini). It is believed that this rule proves that only those who are prepared to sacrifice themselves (even if unknowingly), deserve to release a Mouth album.
11. Sales figures double
Sales figures show that Mouth sales double with the release of every album.
12. The short song
Each album includes a short song that contains one verse that is sang, followed by a longer instrumental part. The short song has no chorus or C part. The short songs so far are: "In the Jungle of Bangkok", "Gun in Hand", "Mangal Moni", and "Offhandedly". It should be noted that the song appearing under "The short song" rule is not necessarily the shortest song of the album.
13. The secret message
Inside the patriotic cover version (see rule 4), a hidden message will be sent from the Mouth and Foot to a known person in Israeli public life, who has some relation to the song, the album or the period. The messages and the people they are aimed at will remain secret, of course.
14. The song that directs allegation towards a member of the beautiful gender in second person
In each album there will be a song that is aimed directly at an imagined representative of the other gender, with a list if allegations ("You want me in the Garbage", "Unplanned Child II", "Little Smile", "Don’t tell me Tomorrow").
Finally, we must also mention one unwritten rule. This rule cannot be written because it is beyond our control to ensure that this rule will be kept every time, but so far it was:
15. The Mouth and Foot outbreak
Every Mouth Year (a year when a Mouth and Foot album is released), there is an outbreak of the Mouth and Foot disease somewhere in the world. This is true for 1989, 1995, 2001 and 2007. Again, we can’t guarantee this rule will be kept in the future.