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American Quartet

by Yonatan Gat

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      $8 USD  or more


  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    * Deluxe Vinyl Box Set, limited to 555 copies
    * Four 12" vinyl records, each pressed on multi-colored vinyl, plus a Lathe-Cut Record/CD hybrid. Artists included in the Artist In Residence box set are:
    * Medicine Singers (debut LP, featuring Eastern Medicine Singers, Yonatan Gat, Thor Harris, Laraaji, Jamie Branch, and more)
    * Yonatan Gat's American Quartet (featuring Greg Saunier of Deerhoof, Mikey Coltun of Mdou Moctar, and Curt Sydnor)
    *Maalem Hassan BenJaafar (Moroccan gnawa master of Innov Gnawa fame)
    *Mamady Kouyaté (Guinean guitar legend, formerly of Bembeya Jazz)
    *Monotonix (first new music in over a decade from the legendary punk band, produced by Ryan Olson)

    2022 Joyful Noise Artist-In-Residence Box Set
    (Digital sent immediately, vinyl box ships early 2023)
    These 5 titles contained in the Box Set will be the first 5 albums released by the new JNR-incubated sub-label... and will be the most limited pressings these albums will ever see.

    With your purchase, you will become a Stone Tapes subscriber, including immediate access to monthly advance downloads in MP3, WAV, and AIFF - including all 5 albums, exclusive bonus content, and access to the "CTRL GRP" rotating playlist (featuring unreleased Stone Tapes music from 2022, 2023, and beyond)

    Includes unlimited streaming of American Quartet via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ... more
    shipping out on or around June 1, 2023

      $100 USD or more 




Even with Yonatan Gat’s penchant for unpredictability, his latests LP, American Quartet is truly a left-field turn. A punk slash-and-burn reimagining of one of the defining works of the Western classical canon – Antonin Dvořák’s legendary string quartet – written while Dvořák was, like Gat, an expatriate living in New York City.

While Gat is known for his groundbreaking guitar music which NPR called “unforgettable chaos”; for shows shattering the “static definition of a concert” (NY Times) as a solo artist or with punk band Monotonix; and for producing records for trailblazing groups such as the Medicine Singers, Gat does not consider himself a classically trained musician and does not read sheet music.

Therefore, tackling the ambitious undertaking of learning a full string quartet by ear and performing it on electric guitar freed his playing from any strict interpretation of the score, allowing for the wild, unpredictable and truly unique performance captured on this recording.

The drums by Greg Saunier of Deerhoof loosely interpret the cello parts, while providing a breathtakingly expressive rhythmic interpretation to the piece, while Mikey Coltun and Curt Sydnor each bring their unique sensibilities transcribing the viola, cello and second violin parts to organ and bass. Sydnor with the nuanced playing of a classical musician, and Coltun with versatility and hard edge from years as the producer and bass player of Mdou Moctar.

Gat’s latest LP, American Quartet, was released on November 2022 on his own Stone Tapes imprint, a sub-label of Joyful Noise which also releases other records produced by Gat such as Medicine Singers – the first large scale collaboration between a powwow group and non-native experimental musicians, Israeli punk legends Monotonix, Moroccan gnawa master Maalem Hassan Ben Jafaar, Guinean guitar pioneer Mamady Kouyate, and Gat’s own acclaimed solo work.


released November 4, 2022

The String Quartet in F major “American" Op. 96 by Antonín Dvořák

Yonatan Gat - guitar
Greg Saunier - drums
Mikey Coltun - bass
Curt Sydnor - organ


Arranged by Yonatan Gat, Mikey Coltun, Greg Saunier and Curt Sydnor

Mixed by Greg Saunier

Recorded live by Chris Weiss at Birchwood Studios, Big Indian NY on August 28th, 2018


"Playing with Curt, Yonatan and Greg is a dream come true. This is the dream team group to go on this journey of learning, memorizing, and then eventually deconstructing a string quartet to be played at very loud volumes. Although we only performed the piece live together a handful of times each time was different from the last and was better and better until finally we got to record it. Recording took place in a day. We setup all together in room and played each movement once or twice. Very little overdubs and editing occurred on this record as we wanted to capture the piece as the band intended, raw and live. Mixed beautifully by Greg Saunier." -Mikey Coltun


"Brahms would instruct those brave enough to seek his compositional advice that no matter how long or sectional a piece of music it must be “singable” from beginning to end. Dvorak was one of those seekers and my feeling is that Yonatan in turn absorbed the lesson by memorizing the entire melodic thread to Dvorak’s American Quartet before contacting Mikey (who then brought me in and, finally, Greg) about filling in the accompaniment— at times doing more— always arranging our parts in a manner that suited the instrumentation of a surf rock quartet. After a few sessions in Yonatan’s Joralemon St attic studio it was too late to turn back from the task at hand. Once we had the notes in place it was Greg’s motivic and melodic approach to the drum part that added the final combustion. The arrangements were still somewhat fluid until the recording date— we were finding new ways for the drums to enter the counterpoint, for Mikey's bass or my organ to take those crucial melodic turns. I still find it so refreshing how we were able to interact with the string quartet score, hewing closely to it at times and at other times taking the opposite improvisational approach, which we really developed by performing the quartet at music festivals in NYC and Canada for a beautiful brief period of time. In those settings we had no choice but to make the music and the arrangement totally convincing. 
One thing that I would like for listeners to understand is that these are live studio recordings. Yes there are overdubs here and there to add certain colors but really what is being presented is faithful to how we played it that night in Big Indian, NY. Old school classical (before tape splicing or digital editing) and punk ethos therefore converge. Most early attempts to reconcile European classical to American/British rock music failed because of prog tendencies which rendered the musics to alike to one another and therefore effectively neutered each to each. I think like Dvorak before him Yonatan with this project has truly tapped into something of the American mythology where ambition is all, nothing is sacred, and competition is fierce. Like Doc Holliday taking in a Shakespeare production in Leadville, CO. Or the tragic career of Junius Brutus Booth. Knut Hamsun. Bob Marley. Mark Rylance. Those who got lost here for a while, but made their way back out." - Curt Sydnor


"The promotion of favorite European composers to God status by 20th Century academia and the marketplace have not done those composers any favors. Treating their work as sacred objects to be revered, rather than living provocations to inspire play, has robbed them of any emotion other than gravitas and any mood other than somber. Sorry but Dvorak was a human being like the rest of us, capable of humor, capable of revolutionary spirit, capable of violence. For the four of us, playing the string quartet as we would play a rock song did not deface the piece, but revealed it to be something bigger than the stifling box into which it normally gets put. As we struggled to wrap our heads and bodies around it, the piece kept yielding new surprises and ever more complicated feelings. My bandmates surprised me not by straying from the piece but by plumbing its depths." - Greg Saunier


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Yonatan Gat New York, New York

“Since the first time I heard the American Quartet it sounded like rock’n’roll melodies, so on this record we took a stab at performing the string quartet live from start to finish on electric guitar, bass, organ and drums. My favorite moments are in the second, slow movement. It was the last thing we recorded together - late night studio magic.” - YG ... more

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