Switched on – Yotam Avni: Was Here (Kompakt)

What’s the story?

For his debut album, Tel Aviv producer Yotam Avni is looking to combine two of his deep musical loves – Detroit techno and the sort of jazz you might hear on the ECM label. With that in mind, Kompakt is his ideal label home, and the Cologne label have been encouraging his solo output through a succession of well-received tracks and remixes. Avni is honing his sound, bringing it back to the elements – and Was Here, his first album after almost a decade of recording, is a clear statement of his musical identity.

What’s the music like?

The priority here is the rhythm, which Avni often sets out at the start of the track – but melody and texture come through as each piece develops to assume equal importance. There are some sultry atmospheres here, especially when the jazzier elements are introduced. The muted trumpet of It Was What It Was works very well, as does Free Darius Now.

A sparing use of vocals is also effective, meaning the guest appearances of Georg Levin (Island Hopper) and dOP (with trumpeter Greg Paulus on Just Another Day) really stand out. So too does Vortex, a really fine track that grows into its main feature, a hypnotic chant, creating a smoky atmosphere.

Does it all work?

Yes. This is classy deep techno but with a hot-weather twist, very atmospheric and with a few really nice elements worked in from other musical forms. Avni gets his rhythm tracks on the deep side and they provide a solid foundation on which he can always build.

Is it recommended?

Yes. Another good find for Kompakt! Highly recommended.

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