Released in 2018 on Joyful Noise Records
The new album from guitarist Yonatan Gat finds cohesiveness in its sprawling diversity. Stylistically it combines the rawness of garage rock, the thematic improvisation of Free jazz, and the experimental editing of musique concréte with psychedelic production, Arabic and Klezmer scales and surfy tremelo guitars. While his telepathic trio with bassist Sergio Sayeg and bombastic drummer Gal Lazer (one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen) serve as the foundation for much of the album, Universalists also features a wide range of musical collaborations. Among these are horn players, vocalists singing foreign tongues, Thor Harris and Sarah Gautier on marimbas, and the amazing Eastern Medicine Singers doing Algonquin chants and drumming. Even the recording of this album was all over the place, occurring in a variety of studios with several legendary producers such as Steve Albini at Electrical Audio in Chicago, Calvin Johnson at Dub Narcotic in Olympia (WA), and Seth Manchester at Machines with Magnets in Rhode Island. While it would be easy for an album like this to fall into disorder, it is joyfully united by the celebratory, grateful reverence that comes from creating and playing music together.