Yonatan Gat


Yonatan Gat by Anthony Kwan Chung.jpg

Yonatan Gat is a genre all to his own. His new opus, Universalistsout May 4th on Joyful Noise in US and Glitterbeat in Europe, sees the New York experimental composer refining his skills not only as guitarist and bandleader, but also as a producer. His followup to 2015's acclaimed Director sees Gat experimenting with splicing live-to-tape recordings of his live trio in ways that draw from everything between contemporary avant-garde to electric era Miles Davis to Brazilian experimentalists Os Mutantes (with which Yonatan recently released a split 7") pushing the envelope in ways that only a few can.

Over the previous decade, Gat became known as one of the world's top performers as founder and guitarist of Monotonix, hailed by SPIN as "the most exciting live band in rock’n’roll,” with concerts that quite literally destroyed the border between performer and audience, and were controversial enough to get them completely banned from playing their home country of Israel.

Unable to play shows in his home country and refusing to take part in its mandatory military service, Gat relocated to New York City. He began recording and performing as a bandleader, and in 2014 released the Iberian Passage EP, a debut that maintained his signature raw energy while switching the focus away from the shock-performance style of Monotonix to a more ritualistic, improvised, shamanic musical exploration. 2015 brought the genre-bending full-length Director, composed mostly of live improvisations by his trio and field recordings taken by Gat, the record was a mind-melting exploration through many different styles of music, from Brazilian psych and Afrobeat to free jazz, surf, and 20th century avant-garde that garnered rave reviews from the NY Times, Pitchfork and others.

Three years in the making, his 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.

A globally-sensitive intricate work set to be released in the hostile political climate of 2018, Universalists is inevitably charged with a sense of confrontational urgency. But while it is indeed a provocative work, it goes beyond exploring the distress of our time. Universalists goes on to emphasize not the distinction between genres, and by extension cultures, but the complex similarities.. 


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A mind blowingly prolific journey crossing vibes of DIY dives and avant-garde jazz spaces.
— Vice
Middle East-tinged solos over fierce tribal grooves, to ecstatic effect.
— The New Yorker
Echoes of funk from Benin; Cuban son from Senegal; Chicano rock from Los Angeles; Afro-Brazilian soul from Rio de Janeiro; and the pentatonic and Arabic scales that connect much of the world - but there’s always a lilt and an invitation in it. He leaves a space for you to get in. They were playing for themselves and they were playing for you, but they weren’t playing for any static definition of a concert.
— New York Times

Landmark Events

FME (2016)
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