Sohrab Pakzad & Amir Tabari - “Zire Baroon”
Avaye Parsian (Iran)
Nima Varasteh has become known as the most demanding producer around, constantly demanding recognition to the extent of being mentioned in every single interview and having his photo on basically every one of his recent productions for other artists. His latest album for Askari basically became something of an embarrassment due to its implicit dissing of Benyamin and his creative credibility, and now he is back with an album co-produced for a duo by the name of Sohrab Pakzad and Amir Tabari. An album by the title “Zire Baroon” which he already considers as his best work yet, in which he has once again been able to “innovate”. Sohrab and Amir are both composers who follow the trends in the Western music and contributed with their knowledge, according to Varasteh. They also sound similar to each other so both sang all the songs and we later combined their voices as we saw them fit. Varasteh further says that they have produced the album together financially, something which he sees as something new in the industry. The album features compositions by the duo themselves and all arrangements are by Nima Varasteh. The lyrics are written by Sohrab Pakzad, Aria Zakikhani, Ali Mehregan and Marja Nourinejad. Distributed by Avaye Parsian, which normally specializes in classical music. It’s noteworthy that Sohrab and Amir have already had their debut concert in Tehran.
The beat-driven opener titled “Zire Baaraan” is a song which enjoys a good foundation, but the structure of the song starts to tremble halfway through and the arrangement doesn’t do much to underpin the on-empty going. On the duo’s website you can read, after paragraphs of paid dues to Varasteh, a rather bold (in lack for better word) claim that this song which was originally released (underground?!) four years ago is the first Iranian HOUSE production ever (you basically must have lived under a rock somewhere, or in Varasteh’s studio, for the past half a decade in order to buy that!lol).
“Aroom Aroom” is another song which falls on its inconsistent structure and badly arranged vocals. The arrangements are good but the song should have stripped off most of its vocals, down to its sheer chorus, in order to even out.
Next comes another minimalistic but progressive HOUSE fare which flows well until the chorus comes to ask “In Che Hessie?”! Well, I believe it’s a sense of anticlimax! And once the other verse starts with a promise it suddenly falls flat on its face.
An ADULT CONTEMPORARY ballad comes along and in the absence of an empowering arrangement it lefts the two fragile voices wet and shivering under the rain of this album! “Baazi” is truly heart wrenching to hear, but not the way it’s meant to be!
Time to tap into the good old Balearic HOUSE with its chilly quality. “Rooberooye Aayne” actually manages to meet the two voices rather adequately, most of the time. While the right person delivers the verses the right person is appointed for the chorus! This is the first song that actually sounds as a collaboration! But unfortunately it’s a lesson not learned …
“Nazanin”, an 80’s Tehrangelesian POP inspired composition with a rather uneven body and a fresh arrangement quality, which leaves the song and singer and goes its own way … that pretty much sums it up!
Next comes the 70’s inspired composition “Mehraboon” which follows the a la carte formula, dry and on-empty going.
Finally but for the first time on this album things start to sound Iranian! And apparently 6/8, although still abstract and experimental, was the bouillon needed since this actually works well with these boys’ voices. Varasteh stands for the violin and makes me wish that he had incorporated more of it in this album. “Azize Delam” ends this rather abstract album in a relatively different way, which is positive.
Where do we start, this is one album where style and substance do not add up! There is some production value but at the same time very little creative and vocal talent involved. The vocals are basically the falling facade in this work. If this is the result of combining the better of two voices beyond distinction, then I don’t even dare to imagine how these gentlemen sound on their own! The vocals are simply sterile and not a bit emotive, something which is further underpinned by the critical lack of melodies. No melodies means no bouillon, which is desperately needed when you’ve got such low-fat meat in the casserole! The fact is that there is an experimental value to Varasteh’s contribution, but it has nothing to do with the boys. Not that the boys aren’t to blame, since much of the structure failure in compositions is courtesy of themselves! But the fact is that, just like in Askari’s album, Varasteh has assumed a dominant position as reflected in the press photos and totally neglected the potential and character of his singers. This has become Varasteh’s chance to prove his potent and importance as a producer, to show that he can once again innovate a winning formula. The fact is that this has turned into yet another move in his vendetta against Benyamin Bahadori! Subsequently the arrangements are innovative but Sohrab and Amir have been forsaken, left vocally vulnerable in a complete submission. Only in a couple minutes, here and there, does the music make an attempt to meet and accommodate the singers halfway. And if Varasteh had been considerate towards his artists he would have picked up and elaborated on that compatibility, instead he has focused on his individual ambitions with the boys as a means to an end. Consequently “Zire Baroon” is too abstract and transparent for its singers good! It is a barebone album which needs the touch up of a DJ who removes much of its unnecessary vocals and boils it down to the essential lines while spiking up the beats to CLUB level. I wish it was the other way around but as things are on this album, they make this a very good Varasteh experiment but a rather weak Sohrab and Amir debut!
Sohrab and Amir are a couple of handsome guys who look like popstars, however they do not sound like popstars! And history has proved that you either have to sing well or deliver catchy songs in order to last. This album features neither! I’m sure there are those who find one or both of the guys cute enough to continue “trying” to sing or those who really like Varasteh’s new flavor on the table. However I doubt that there are more of the latter than of the former category, the fact that the duo’s songs are actually played as songs belonging to the prettier one of them “featuring” the other one proves my point! So, a pretty face and a producer with a tendency to turn against you at any given minute will get you only as far as the next pretty boy comes along! A cold fact which many of the 90’s Western boy bands lived to learn.
Overall Performance: +
Artistic Ambition: ++
Commercial Potential: ++
Aesthetic Presentation: -
Ethical Adherence: +++
[ +++ > --- ]