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Yuval Havkin, also known as Rejoicer, is one of the foremost exponents of downtempo music, inspired by the fusion of jazz and hip-hop. His new album thus draws on his early influences while exploring the world of calm, melodic electronic music that borders on ambient.

This Is Reasonable has a chill-out feel to it, a record filled with melodies and atmospheres that, throughout its eleven tracks, conveys a sense of calm and floating, akin to ambient music. Stripped of the clichés of the genre, the album is built around subtle melodies and rich harmonies from keyboards and synths, which borrow as much from the spirit of jazz as from the inventions of electronica, whilst being supported by a gentle groove. This equilibrium is perfectly captured by Rejoicer's moniker, a term that evokes both the idleness of artificial paradises and a soft, caring form of spirituality. Musical path Yuval Havkin was born in Israel in 1985, and grew up in England before returning to his homeland. He began studying classical piano as a child, but was put off by such conservative teaching and turned to hip-hop and beatmaking in his teens. Throughout the 2000s, he learned his skills "on the job", working with musicians he met in Tel Aviv, a local scene that nurtured a sense of community and emulation. Back then, he was particularly impressed by the grooves and electronic inventions of Detroit producer Dabrye, who had a revelatory effect on him, before he discovered legendary musicians Madlib and Jay Dee aka J Dilla, who led him down the path of beatmaking. Yuval Havkin's music career got off to a more serious start in the late 2000s with the creation of his own label, Raw Tapes, both based in Tel Aviv. Blending jazz, funk and hip hop, whilst still embracing pop influences, the label's productions showcased the richness of the new Israeli scene combining cool, elegance, playfulness, and a degree of research and inventiveness, thanks to the talent of artists and bands such as Duo Brothers, Maya Dunietz, iogi, Nitai Hershkovits, the Buttering Trio and Rejoicer, the artist's most personal project. In 2018, Rejoicer's warm and engaging sounds caught the attention of the prestigious Los Angeles label Stones Throw, renowned for having signed his idols Madlib and J Dilla, not to mention Aloe Blacc and Peanut Butter Wolf (its founder). Two albums followed, Energy Dreams (2018) and Spiritual Sleaze (2020), both of which demonstrate his instrumental mastery, jazz culture and lush orchestrations. Both albums are on a par with more renown sampling prodigies of the beat scene, and gave him his first international recognition. Now based between Los Angeles and Savyon, near Tel Aviv, this hyperactive and instinctive artist simultaneously pursues a career as a composer, musician and label owner, member of numerous bands and collective projects (Apifera, PlayDead, collaborations with Jimi Prasad and Avishai Cohen) while also offering his studios and production skills to other artists. “Fela Kuti meets Aphex Twin” This new Rejoicer album, which follows three earlier jazz-tinged records, marks a new and more personal musical direction for an artist who previously favored group work and collaborations. Following his meeting with Mathias Duchemin, founder of the Circus Company record label and a keen enthusiast of the new Israeli jazz scene, Yuval chose to delve into a more electronic and sequenced style of music, playing Prophet 6 and 8 synths, a Juno 60, a Minimoog and his Fender Rhodes keyboard, in contrast with the more organic sounds of his previous albums. While a few tracks on this new album may sound like a laid-back version of some of the Warp label's early electronic classics by Aphex Twin or Boards of Canada, Yuval Havkin claims to have also been inspired by the great Fela Kuti, particularly in his search for harmonies between bass, keyboards and percussion, and by his elder trumpet-playing friend Avishai Cohen, a musician he particularly admires. Beyond these various influences, This Is Reasonable is an album of compelling and bewitching melodies. The moods, peacefulness and sheer beauty of This Is Reasonable are, indeed, quite paradoxical, in stark contrast to the country's tragedies (the title explicitly refers to recent political disputes in Israel) and the war currently raging less than a hundred miles from his studio. A paradox fully embraced by the artist, who views his music as a response to the violence of our times.
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BAR TON is a place where both musical afficionados and rookies are welcome.
Other people are also allowed in.