Artist of the Day: Rotem Sivan

Posted by Greg on Sep 26, 2019 in Music |

Rotem SIvan photo

One of the benefits of having a music blog is the blind requests you receive from artists all over the world. A couple weeks back an Israeli artist named Rotem Sivan reached out to SITH imploring us to listen to his new album Same Way Home. We receive tons of submissions like this so we balked at first. Over time, Rotem broke us down and convinced us to listen. Over the weekend we gave this album a listen and holy wow, this is some gorgeous, gorgeous stuff.

A quick dive into Sivan’s background reveals he has degrees in classical composition and performance from colleges in both Tel Aviv and New York. He has toured the world and has played throughout Europe, Central and South America, India and North America. Additionally, he has conducted workshops around the world in top universities and colleges. And on Same Way Home it most definitely shows.

At its core this is lo-fi jazz with a slight wobble towards hip-hop. The heart of the record is Sivan’s nimble guitar playing and his woozy, feathery vocals. Released on Aug. 30, Same Way Home is Sivan’s third album in three years. If there’s one thing we know about Rotem Sivan, he sure is darn prolific.

Same Way Home opens with “Village Vibe” an ambient and dreamy foray into the ethereal. Equal parts cinematic and nocturnal, “Village Vibe” borrows on sprite vocals and feels like a song tailor-made for a weekend drive up the Hudson River Valley. Clocking in at 1:49, it’s a song that lingers long after the final listen and leaves one wishing it could have lasted a minute longer.

Rotem Sivan album

The woozy “Drive” follows and features vocals akin to Bon Iver and a supple and doe-eyed wobble that is equal parts hypnotic, enveloping and resplendent. Gorgeous jazz guitar opens “Lore” and allows Sivan to offer up his best vocal to date. If one were to describe “Lore” best it might be: the soundtrack to a rainy Manhattan morning. Buttressed by nimble, nuanced and textured guitar work, “Lore” is the sound of a true master at work. The minute interlude “With Sugar” continues the jazz vibe and boasts low-fi beats, ebullient jazz piano and another slight nod towards hip-hop.

The album’s apex moment arrives in the form of “Kream” a gauzy, layered tapestry of organ, airy vocals and a veneer that is hazy and humid. In short, it is the song after the rain falls. What makes “Kream” so compelling is that it swims in a bed of dream-pop and is carefree, breezy and utterly effortless. If there’s one thing that makes Same Way Home so inviting it is how effortless and polished this disc sounds.

Another interlude follows in the form of “Textures” a respite from the album’s earlier work and another chance to soak up Sivan’s remarkable guitar prowess. The title track is a twinkly, nostalgia-laden cut that is arguably the most complete composition on the album and features arguably his best vocal work to date. Not since his masterful cover of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” has Sivan sounded so confident. Much of Same Way Home feels like a lullaby but that title might be best suited for this title track. Calling a song flawless is quite lofty but the three minutes of “Same Way Home” are darn near flawless.

The album meanders towards a conclusion with the playful “Two”. Much like the previous three interludes “Two” is an opportunity for Sivan to rest his voice and serve as a prelude to the album’s final tandem. With a slight nod towards summer “Two” is sun-drenched, languid and as refreshing as spiked lemonade. “Silver Villain” takes the spotlight off of Sivan and onto his air-tight rhythm section. Bolstered by amiable textures and inviting guitar “Silver Villain” is a lot more welcoming than its name implies.

Same Way Home concludes with “In Reverse” a kaleidoscopic swirl of cylindrical guitar work, woozy drums and gorgeous guitar work. Sivan might be a new name to us but more albums like this and he’ll be a fixture on this blog in the weeks and months ahead.


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