iogi paints colourful and vibrantly rich sonic soundscapes

Tel Aviv native iogi aka Yogev Glusman is a craftsman of sound, a multi instrumentalist and producer who fuses together jazz, psychedelic pop, funk, folk and yacht rock to make soundscapes that are constantly shifting, swirling and swaying in their diverse and enticing movements. Being likened to the likes of Benny Sings and Jerry Paper, iogi has been making a name for himself for the past few years and now it feels like it’s his time to truly shine.

As a bassist, guitarist, violinist, and drummer, iogi has performed with several of Israeli’s biggest exports including Idan Raichel, the hip hop-leaning Yemenite sister trio A-WA, and Efraim Shamir and Yoni Rechter, both members of the legendary ‘70s Israeli prog-rock band Kaveret.

And now today he has returned with new album everything’s worth it, released via Raw Tapes, following on from his 2018 debut the ceiling. On his new album iogi is celebrating the joyous moments of life, backed by a swirling sonic landscape of psychedelic and jazz infused movements that are washed in an irresistible cool. We caught up with iogi to learn about the influences and ideas behind the new album.

What’s your musical story? How did you get into it?

I started as a classical violin player, and I played the violin from the age of 7 until I was 18 years old. At the age of 13, I got a classical guitar for my bar mitzvah from my brother & sister, which then led to the discovery of plenty of new music and genres that I was not aware of until that age, and that changed everything. When I was 17 I started playing the bass, and for many years it was my main instrument. Later in life, I got to play bass and guitar for many Israeli artists, and also tour with them worldwide. After almost 10 years of being a side musician, I had the urge to record my own music, which I did. From that point on, i started seeing myself not only as a musician and a player, but as an artist with his own taste. Since the first album came out, I have been more involved in studio work as a producer- for my music and for other people’s music. 

How would you describe your sound?

My sound is a mixture of sounds and tastes that i acquired during my years as a music listener, but also as a musician and producer. Generally, I would say that it is indie-pop, with influences from 70’s folk and psychedelic music.  

What’s the creative process behind a song?

All my songs begin with me sitting in front of the computer, with Ableton open. Usually I start by finding a beat or a groove that I like, and then I play guitar or synth over it. I have to finish the whole song structure in the same session I started the song, because if not – i will never be able to get back to it and finish it. Usually, I will finish the session once I have even a gibberish version of the melody. The next day, I will come to the studio, and probably write all the lyrics and finish the production of the song. If I love a song I am working on, I can finish it within two days.

Over what time and where was the new album created?

I started recording the album in my bedroom studio that i made in Jaffa, right after i finished recording and mixing my first solo album, the ceiling. It was a time in which i didn’t know what to do with my first album and how to release it, and if so – how will it be accepted. In this state i was, i started recording some of the songs for the album. I guess i just needed to move forward.

What’s the story you’re trying to tell on the new album?

I feel like this album is a natural continuation of my first album. It deals eventually with the same issues I dealt with 3 years ago, but from a more sober minded point of view. 

What was the best part of recording the new album? And what was the most challenging?

The best part of recording the album was doing it all by myself. The first album was produced alongside a good friend, Nomok, who helped me a lot during that process, but I think that for the new album I needed full independence. It was a good experience letting him listen to the songs once they were almost finished, rather than working together from scratch. The most challenging part was also doing it all by myself. I had to trust myself completely, and that was hard. Constantly believing that what i’m doing is good, without getting immediate feedback – was super challenging. 

Being a multi-instrumentalist what is your preferred instrument? And is there one you’d like to improve on?

Most definitely – drums. Drums are the most important instrument for me, and the one i love to play the most. Everything sits on top of it, and the song doesn’t lift off without it. Every song that i have in my heart and my brain – I know the drum part on it. I would love to improve my piano playing, i feel pretty stuck every time I sit in front of it.

Who are some of your biggest influences?

It evolves from Paul McCartney’s first solo albums, through Mac DeMarco and Real Estate, Super Furry Animals, Tame Impala – and back to Beach Boys.

Favourite show you’ve played?

One of the favorite shows i played with my band was 2 years ago, at Teder Tel Aviv. The place was packed, and that’s the moment that i felt that something new and special is starting to happen for me. 

What will it be like playing that first show once shows are allowed again? (Concerts aren’t currently allowed in the UK)

Actually, in Israel shows are allowed already. Things are still pretty weird, because the crowd is standing with their masks on and it is hard to know what they really feel, but it is great to feel the warmth of people and hear them sing with you.

everything’s worth it is out now via Raw Tapes, available to buy here.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard share new single ‘O.N.E’

Photo by Jamie Wdziekonski

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have shared new single “O.N.E” and an accompanying music video directed by Alex Mclarren. This comes after they released “If Not Now, Then When?” back in December, coming only a few weeks after their 16th studio album K.G. Read our original review here and where we placed it in our albums of the year list here.

The Australian 6-piece have also just announced their first show of 2021 at Sydney Music Bowl, Melbourne on February 26th with Tropical Fuck Storm as support. Tickets are on sale on Monday 1st of February.

Watch the new video below.

Front Page Feature: Apifera

Apifera – Photo by Ben Kirschenbaum

Apifera are just on our horizon. Figures that seem a blur now, but will be as clear as daylight in the coming months. It is not everyday that a psychedelic jazz band comes into existence, and yet we are in the mere transition of the latest joining us. Yuval Havkin (Rejoicer), Nitai Hershkovits, Amir Bresler and Yonatan Albalak are the latest individuals to be piercing through the ever growing contemporary jazz scene. They find themselves based on the west coast paradise of music, Stones Throw; a label which has always specialised in putting forward the freshest fruits in the musical world, and Apifera is the epitome of this.

Nearly a month ago when Apifera were first announced with their upcoming debut album, Overstand, their artistic principles were described as “a new jazz group whose organic-sounding structures, harmonies and arrangements are intended to reflect the rich variety and equilibrium of the natural world.” When listening and spectating the band in action, it is clear to hear and visualise the landscape they resonate within. As musicians, their music is defined by their perceived soundscape produced as a collective and then the interaction with their own instruments. They each paint and evoke atmospheric qualities that contribute towards their beautiful landscapes. The band leads the listener through their world.

To find out more about this process and the band, we were able to speak to them and begin to understand everything we can expect to discover from Apifera in the upcoming months.

What is your story? How did you all meet? How did you end up making music together?

Nitai, Bresi (Amir) and Albi (Albalak) have been playing together for many years in the israeli jazz scene. Around 2014 Yuvi (Rejoicer) started combining his electronic sound with the jazzers, making albums under the label Time grove. About 3 years later there was a nice collection of records made, and the idea of a supergroup of all those musicians came to the table. That group recorded an album and played one show and then boiled down to this quartet.  We felt very comfortable composing together and wanted to explore that sound. 

How did the upcoming album, Overstand, come into fruition?

After writing a few tracks for the Time grove ensemble we got in the studio with no materials whatsoever and started throwing sounds into the air. We kept molding those sounds until they became tunes, recording each one right after it’s composed and after 3 days we had the album in a rough-mix state. after that it’s a day or two of mixing and we’re ready. The cool thing about it was that Stones Throw expressed interest in an early stage, so we had everything planned with them. 

Do you associate the songs off Overstand with real places? If so, what are these places?

Mostly places in our mind… sometimes we picture a feeling or a place the music could describe, Lake VU for example is a soundtrack for an afternoon chill around a water source, like, let’s say… a lake. 

In the writeup on Stones Throw’s website, Nitai says that you “paid a lot of attention to the textures, discussing timbres and temperatures in detail throughout the recording process.” What is the recording process when performed with such subtlety?

We are all very sensitive to tibre, and it’s important for us to define the hue of each instrument in a track even before recording. using synths, guitar pedals, drums, percussion and microphone placing we can go very deep in defining each tune’s temperature. When composing we are all with headphones, it gives us plenty of details to work with, and we can create in an augmented reality, and craft the dimensions (near-far, wide-narrow, hot-cold, sharp-dull) of each element. 

Also in this writeup, you highlight some of the influences on your sound including the folk music of your home country Israel, for those who may not have heard Israeli folk music, which albums would you recommend to get someone started?

  • Hakeves 16 (The 16th lamb) – An epic children’s album, sung by Israel’s top singers and composed by Yoni Rechter, one of the most important figures in Israeli music.
  • Matti Caspi – Probably the most influential composer who has left a mark on us all. 
  • Zohar Argov – Known as the king of mediterranian music, this guy was a legend in his short life and long after. 
  • Sasha Argov (unrelated to Zohar) – One of the earliest israeli composers, who has written hundreds of beautiful songs, working very modestly his entire life in the post office. 

The cover of Overstand is a really lovely painting, who created the image? 

The cover was painted by the amazing Hillel Eflal, who happens to be Albalak’s Cousin. We spoke to him a lot about what we wanted the cover to express, and he totally got it. He will also paint the cover for our next album.  

The album is heavily inspired by the natural world, where are your favourite places to feel closer to nature?

As long as you can hear some silence and breath fresh air – that’s good for us. We all grew up in cities, realizing humanity is seriously out of balance with nature, so even though we’re heavily plugged into the matrix we strive to express nature in our music as much as we can. Israel has amazing nature. One of our favorite places to be is the pool outside the studio where we record.

To gain an insight into the unconscious collation of your sound, which album do each of you wish you could have played on or been a part in the making of?

Along with Jamael Dean and Kiefer (to name two), how does it feel to be a part of the group pushing the jazz sound on Stones Throw?

It feels absolutely great to be in such good company! There’s a movement going on all over the world of Post-Jazz mixed with various influences, mainly electronic but every artist brings their flavour.We think there’s so many places where jazz can branch out, and we are ready to head out into the unknown.

As well as the album, what else can we expect to see from Apifera in the coming months?

A few live sessions, filmed in some cool places. and hopefully a release date for the second album, that believe it or not has already been mastered:)

Bonus question: What is the sound at the end of Lake VU?

After Albalak’s effects wash out you can barely hear the sound of Bresi burping. It happened during the take and we decided to keep it. That’s art baby.  

Thanks so much for your time, I hope you are all well.

Thank you, and hope to be talking to you again soon. 

Overstand comes out on the 30th October. Digital and vinyl are available through their bandcamp whilst also being available in local record shops around the world. They have also produced the song My Favourite Swing off the new album by Steve Arrington. Again, our sincerest thanks to Apifera for talking with us. Their sound is so vibrant and enjoyable; we are all so excited to hear the full-length album. For more information on Apifera and coverage on all their music. Keep it locked to Real Tasty Music.