Three years in the making, Yonatan Gat’s latest LP Universalists is a conceptual and crafted snapshot of an artist evolving and experimenting, broadening his musical palette to incorporate vocals, vibraphones, horns, strings and samples, all the while remaining loyal to his live ferocity. Every recording of Gat’s band in Universalists was performed (many completely improvised) live, each in a different studio, before they were meticulously edited, rearranged, reframed and reinvented by Gat, with additional production from Silver Jews’ David Berman.
The track, impossible to categorize, opens with a mysterious recording of an Italo-Spanish choir – but it only takes 20 seconds for the voices get manipulated, chopped and mangled beyond recognition into stuttering rhythms below Yonatan’s live band – guitar, bass, saxophone and drums working up an uncontrollable maelstrom of punk and free jazz
When talking about the track & video Yonatan says:
“The best way to represent chaos is to embrace it. Instead of hiding the out-of-control nature of what ended up becoming ‘Cue the Machines’, we went with it. We sampled the live recording of the band itself and created stutters and glitches that add to the disorientation.
The vocal samples may be from Italy, but they originate in Andalucía, a part of Spain I got to spend a lot time in, watching the music and studying with incredible flamenco guitarists. Looking for the intensity I heard in the concerts in Andalucía gave me the idea to add the stutter effects, which almost sound like a digital representation of the right hand of a flamenco guitarist.
The video, directed by Gigi Ben Artzi (who also directed Medicine and shot the album art) is a homage to the genre, including a hypnotizing performance by one of the best upcoming dancers in the NY scene – Ryan Rockmore. Some of the singers are heavyweights of the same flamenco scene – Pedro Cortes, Ismael Fernandez and Jose Moreno. There is a guest appearance by Maalem Hassan Ben Jaafar, who leads the legendary NY-based Moroccan band, Innov Gnawa.”