“I’m driving down the road when I hear this incredible voice coming out of my car speakers — part Janis Joplin, part Nina Simone — and I wonder, “Who is she?” – NPR
“Billie Holiday and Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan are all in there, but they add up to a wholly original sound, with songs that are beautifully written and fervently performed” – New York Times
You will remember him the incredibly successful remix of German DJ Wankelmut’s Reckoning Song: One Day/Reckoning Song became a huge hit in all European charts. The YouTube remix has garnered more than 200,000,000 viewers to date. The original version of Reckoning Song (One Day) surpassed 27,000,000 viewers.
The album Agnorisis, released in 2020, is a triumph of his talent and artistic maturity, with irresistible quality soul, blues, funk, pop sounds. Four singles from the album: Earth Odyssey, Lost Horse, Anagnorisis (whose video is by Wim Wenders), 900 Days.
While the previous albums, including ‘Different Pulses’ or ‘The Reckoning’, were written in a couple of weeks, for the new album the creative process was highly influenced by nature and silence, almost following its rhythms. “I remember learning to cut olive branches to prepare the trees for next year. I was astonished to see how much of the tree had to be cut in order to help it live better. Local farmers showed me that by cutting many of the branches, more air was reaching the inside of the tree, more sun, making it stronger and more resilient to parasites and disease. I tried to do the same with my songs. Cut, trim and remove big parts for the song to use its energy to grow stronger roots and a stronger structure. Take time and let the song grow naturally” says Asaf Avidan on ‘Anagnorisis’, released on Artist First label.
The title refers to a word coined by Aristotle to define that particular and sudden moment in which one’s character, one’s identity is revealed, transcending from ignorance to knowledge. Each track on the new album seems to echo with deep roots that dig inward with well-finished and precise structures, enriched by musical currents ranging from 90s hip-hop to the most current pop, up to gospel music.
“I was listening to Thom Yorke, The Fugees, David Bowie, Old school Jazz, even contemporary pop like Billie Eilish or Kanye West. I would take something from each one and mix it all into a schizophrenic jungle of characters, all working from within myself. Somehow this mixture of characters and sounds was able to tell a clearer picture of how I felt… of who I am… more than just one voice ever could.”
All the vocals contained in ‘Anagnorisis’ are by Asaf Avidan, who recorded some verses up to twelve times to overlap, with different keys, the same voice. Also all the instruments in the record were played only by Asaf. A thousand nuances that belong to a single figure, capable of ranging from falsetto to baritone up to his unmistakable androgynous vocal tone.
The disc was recorded partly in his small studio in Tel Aviv, where Asaf was joined by his trusted collaborator Tamir Muskat, already working on ‘Different Pulses’ and ‘Gold Shadow’, and partly, due to lockdown, in his own home in Italy, but this favored his freedom to be able to play and record even in the middle of the night, letting himself be carried away by the creative flow and magical silence. The real ‘Anagnorisis‘ for Asaf Avidan, the real revelation, is that complexity, multiplicity and confusion are part of human existence. Consequently, there is never a single moment of clarity that represents more truth than any other.