Where Did You Go?

18/06/2024Israeli Guitarist/Composer Tal Sandman's Sandman Project Releases Expansive Debut Longplayer On Batov Records

Where did you go? After a moment of holiday-induced silence, we are pleased to let you know that we are safe and sound and on a family visit in the hustling and bustling megacity that is Istanbul. And yes, the vibe here in this overpopulated agglomeration is most definitely a Mediterranean one, which brings us to Tel Aviv's Sandman Project. Led by guitarist and composer Tal Sandman, this outfit first popped onto the scene with its 2018-released "Royal Family" debut EP, only to embark on a presumed six-year hiatus, prompting people to ask: "Where Did You Go?

The answer, as we now realise, is to be found on the group's expansive debut longplayer, released earlier this month on Batov Records. "Where Did You Go?" is an exhilarating ten-track oeuvre, an evocative, borderless potpourri of global surf 'n' turf styles with a jazz ethos, blending Ethio scales, Afrobeat, American soul music, psychedelic, Mediterranean funk and more to heady effect. Six years in, the Sandman Project lays proof to its own musical growth and maturation "with plentiful personal and collective transformation" as well as "a deeper sense of geography and global nuance."

There is an audible inclination to pushing the boundaries on "Where Did You Go?" that is anything but overbearing. Much to the delight of the open-minded listener, these compositions reveal a vivid curiosity and discerning playfulness prone to take you places; "rich, porous and dreamy and essentially, full of hope." It also makes sense to shine a light on two of Tal Sandman's key influences, to better illustrate the group's unique vantage point: One being the Tel Aviv neighbourhood of Jaffa, a melting pot in its own right "where Arabs, Jews, Christians and many more live harmoniously together" and the other being saxophonist Abate Barihun – aka the Ethiopian John Coltrane – "an Ethiopian Jew who emigrated to Israel in 1999" and longstanding mentor to Tal to this day. And with that, we now invite you to hit play and see where you'll go.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom