Yoni Mizrachi's year in Jerusalem was exceptionally fruitful. "I was studying painting and drawing, but pretty much the whole year every day I was on GarageBand," Mizrachi said.
Yoni Mizrachi's year in Jerusalem was exceptionally fruitful.
"I was studying painting and drawing, but pretty much the whole year every day I was on GarageBand," Mizrachi said. "I was painting and recording, sometimes at the same time."
Mizrachi had no lack of soul-stirring to inspire the creative outpouring. He was immersed in his father's native culture but struggling to maintain a long-distance romance. He faked insanity to avoid getting drafted into the Israeli army. His Orthodox Jewish roommate survived a slit throat after getting jumped.
By the end of his stay, Mizrachi had produced a roomful of art and a six-song demo that became the basis for a new band, Maza Blaska. Upon his 2009 return to Columbus, Mizrachi teamed with girlfriend Sam Corlett of Karate Coyote and with an ever-evolving cast of collaborators they cultivated the rich, eclectic entity captured on debut album "Storyteller," to be celebrated with a concert Friday at Carabar.
Despite the heavy subject matter, "Storyteller" presents bright, accessible indie-pop of the post-"Garden State" variety imbued with omnivorous globetrotting flair. The shorthand is easy: "The Shins do tango, mariachi and more!" But these songs are honest and complex, fully realized on the musical plane after two years of development.
Much of that coincided with an unusual recording process. Ohio University audio professor Eddie Ashworth discovered Maza Blaska on MySpace and invited them to be recorded by his students.
Ashworth's process usually takes a month, but with Maza Blaska commuting to Athens sporadically, it stretched well past a year. Guitarist Blake Miller wrote his parts in the studio. Talented friends Dane Terry (Swarming Branch) and Tyler Evans (Super Desserts, Couch Forts, The Black Swans) spent entire studio sessions running wild over the tracks.
All the time seems worthwhile now that "Storyteller" is out in time for Maza Blaska's fall tour dates, including Cincinnati's Midpoint Music Festival and a gig at Skully's with kindred spirits Fool's Gold.
"Everything's been going pretty into place for us," Corlett said, "how we wanted it to go."