As the co-founder of Monotonix, guitarist and composer Yonatan Gat was part of a band that was once hailed as being one of most intense rock bands in the world. But after five years of recording and touring, a period that saw two full-length efforts and an EP, plus a touring schedule that had the band in over 40 countries, Gat had decided to take a little time off — that is until he was inspired to do an impromptu solo effort, titled Iberian Passage.
The material on Iberian Passage was heavily influenced by early Os Mutantes, Miles Davis and the drumming of Igor Domingues. And while in Portugal, Gat began collaborating with Domingues – first on a 7 inch EP titled, Live at Cafe Au Lait and Gat’s solo effort.
Gat’s latest effort, Director was recorded live by Chris Woodhouse, best known for his work with Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees over three days during a US tour. When Gat and his backing band featuring Gal Lazer (drums) and Sergio Sayeg of Garotos Suecas (bass) walked into the studio, they had hoped to capture the wild, improvised feel and sound of their live show – and with that in mind, Gat and company spent hours upon hours playing and recording improvised material. And over the following months, the band and Woodhouse spent time sorting through session tapes and editing the entire thing down to one conclusive, narrative whole.
Much like Gat’s previous efforts, Director will likely cement the guitarist and composer’s reputation for genre-bending, psychedelic work – as the material often possesses elements of Brazilian psychedelia, Afrobeat, free jazz, Middle Eastern folk, surf music, 20th century classical avant-garde and others, sometimes within the same song. And interestingly, some of influences on the album was the work of famed composers Ennio Morricone and Nino Rota.
“Gibraltar,” the first single off Director begins with a rollicking surf rock meets tribal drum section, before Gat joins in with some hypnotic guitar lines that manage to sound as though they possess elements of Algerian rock (I think of Karthala 72) psych rock and surfer rock before ending in wild peals of feedback. What makes the composition interesting to me is that it’s strangely accessible while being quite a bit of a “what the fuck/stoner freak out.” And in some way, the song sounds as though it could be part of an indie movie soundtrack – – you can probably picture the movie’s protagonist tripping on LSD in the desert or in a field and suddenly the world turns into an explosion of color and activity.