Rockfour - The Man Who Saw It All
Rockfour's second album, "The Man Who Saw It All" is one of those albums that are hard to digest when released but like a pupa, slowly over time, they turn into a butterfly. Not just a butterfly - they become the butterfly effect. This is an album that was very different in the Israeli music landscape, but over the years has become a milestone and a very big influence.
Although today the band has already reconciled with their first album, "Butterfly Network", if you were to ask it then, "The Man Who Saw Everything" is actually its debut album. In 1991, Amir Zoref (guitars), Baruch Ben-Yitzhak (bass), Eli Lulai (vocals and guitars) and Isser Tennenbaum (drums) released Rockfour's debut album: "Butterfly Network". A light-hearted, catchy album that is not really taken seriously and not really what the band wanted to bring out of themselves.
So they decided that on the second album, they would do everything the other way around...
They decided they were making a more meaningful, deeper album, with different music and lyrics that will take you on a journey and make you wander in thoughts. Amir Zoref left the band and was replaced by Mark Lazar, who took over as bassist while Baruch Ben Yitzhak switched to guitar. This time the quartet decided to move to England to create the second album. They decided that the direction was "Sixties", going hard-core all the way, as rough as possible, purely analog and authentic. They bought 1960s-style amplifiers, drums, and guitars and went in to record the album.
(Photo: Gony Riskin)
The writing process was long and varied. Baruch said that they would sit for hours, talking, arguing, and changing the lyrics all the time until they came up with a kind of story or narrative that leads the song. Nothing was prepared in advance and everything was put together like a puzzle. Each song was a puzzle in itself that connected with time and studio work. The band members said that among other things they were very influenced by the band "Pink Floyd", so the psychedelic, instrumental style and the use of stories in the songs were very noticeable. This effect can be heard already in the opening segment, "Suddenly", which simply screams "Pink Floyd" to the sky.
Most of the songs on the album were not written about a specific event or specific character. They were written mostly out of inspiration to give listeners the opportunity to create the story themselves. "Every Direction" was influenced by the style of the band "Genesis". "Black Velvet" was influenced by David Lynch's movie "Twin Peaks." There were also local influences like in "Hole in the Brick", where the band sought a combination of strong pain and despair in the face of hope and faith in redemption. The song was influenced by the difficult events of that period, such as the terrorist attack on bus line 5 in Dizingoff, the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, and more.
The band members said they knew they had something good on their hands but they did not believe they would be aired on the radio alongside "Ethnix" and "Eifu Hayeled". Despite this, the live shows were a little different. The shows were attended by 20-10 people who did not quite understand what they were seeing and hearing and were waiting for songs from the first album. But "Rockfour" continued to work hard and perform wherever possible, until slowly the audience grew and formed a hardcore of fans that accompanied them to every show.
Many of our local artists said that this album influenced them a lot. Aviv Geffen claimed the album to be the Israeli Pantheon. Ninet Tayeb said that each member of the band taught her to listen and create music, and they helped her form her musical identity. Even Assaf Amdursky decided he was going to develop rock again after listening to this album.
For those who have wondered who the guy on the album cover is: this is the drummer's father, Isser. His father would travel the world and photograph himself with an 8mm camera and he always felt he was "the man who saw it all".
Now you are welcome to listen to the album on: Spotify, Apple Music