Tamar Aphek is one of the prominent faces of contemporary rock in the Israeli rock scene, and has been crowned “Israel’s guitar goddess” (Timeout Tel-Aviv). She is the creator of the “Besides That” music festival, and contributed the musical soundtrack to the film “One Week And A Day,” which won the Gan Foundation Award at Cannes Film Festival.
After years spent singing in a prestigious children’s choir, a decade of piano lessons, and a musical conservatory education, and even a degree in law studies, what was left for Tamar Aphek to tackle musically? A full-stop pivot to wild, unbridled electric guitar, of course.
For Aphek, jumping head-first into an uproarious life of rock ‘n’ roll and catapulting through Tel Aviv’s burgeoning underground scene was kismet. From the very beginning, there was no feeling like it. “I remember when I bought my first really cheap, small amplifier, and my first shitty guitar,” she says. “I will never feel so happy about a guitar and amplifier again. Even if I play the most expensive Fender, nothing will compare to that excitement.“
From her previous bands Carusella and Shoshana, to her current eponymous project, Tamar Aphek has risen to prominence in her home of Israel, toured across the United States and Europe, and sits poised to be heard globally with her new record, All Bets Are Off.
In the process of writing and recording her new album, Aphek became fascinated at the idea of combining musical sounds and stylings she felt weren’t being incorporated by other artists. “I wanted to infuse rhythms into rock and roll that I wasn’t hearing elsewhere,” Aphek explains. “I wanted to write a Johnny Cash style song, but then dress it up in crazy Max Roach style drumming or Ethiopian rhythms. I was getting a kick out of hearing something that could sound like a catchy indie song, but with a strange reggae kind of feeling.”
For Aphek, the freedom to improvise was essential to creating the incredible ups-and-downs expressed on her solo debut. From percussiveness of “Crossbow”, to the creeping desolation of “Russian Winter”, to the intimate insights of “All I Know”, All Bets Are Off delights in twists and turns. Commenting on jealousy and surveillance, love and compassion, anger and escape, and countless more challenges unrevealed, it’s no wonder Aphek hoped to capture “the feeling of a rollercoaster.”
All bets are off is a concept album, that tells the story of the cyclicality of moving from the dark side to the bright side of life. This idea was translated both musically and in the lyrics. “On the musical side, I wanted to create a shifting between bass, guitar and drum parts that were rhythmically syncing to parts in which the bass and the guitar plays against the kick drum. This shifting was meant to create a sense of tension and release throughout the album. While some of the work on the album included creating a space for improvisation, the post production was very calculated. Besides editing the instruments, I also cut parts of the instruments and used them as new layers.”
Tamar Aphek is joined by band members Uri Kutner (Bass) and Yuval Garin(Drums).
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All Bets Are Off
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