Taraaneye Sharghi (Iran)
These days, everyone is impatiently waiting for the ARIAN-band’s third album, allegedly entitled “Mage Mishe?”, to be released in Iran!! Meanwhile, let’s make the waiting more bearable by checking out what these talented girls and boys themselves do, while waiting for their forthcoming album to be ready for the market!! Well beside putting the finishing touch on the work, they seem to have allot of free time on their hands, something that evidently has resulted in an entirely different project called “Chikaar Konam?”!! This is the title of an album, featuring Hamid Talebzadeh, as the lead-vocalist!! “Chikaar Konam?” is the follow-up to Hamid’s debut-album “Nedaaye Asheghane”, released back in 2000!
“Chikaar Konam?” is not only released on the ARIAN-home label, Taraaneye Sharghi, but it is also produced by the group and marketed as “Asari az Goroohe Arian”!! Except Ali Pahlevan, Ninef Amirkhas and Sharareh Farnezhad, who have contributed with material to the collection, the album even features the ARIAN’s cute hummingbird-sisters Sahar and Sanaz Kashmari, as back-up vocalists and Amir Hasan Mostaed as the bassist!! Other artists involved in the project are Ashkan Rahimi, Chitr Nour, Babak Taghikhani and Amir Sargazi!
The album takes off with the title-track!! “Chikaar Konam?” is a nice song written by Ali Pahlevan, and probably even customised for his own voice!! It is not a pure ARIAN-composition, but has some references to their sound!! The tune begins very softly with acoustic instrumentation and gains rhythm around the chorus!! A lovely performance by the Kashmari-sisters, by the way!!
Next comes “Tavallode Dobaare”, a 6/8 and rhythmic track!! It has pure mid-80s’ arrangement!! With some traditional instruments employed sporadically!! Reminiscent of some of Morteza’s songs from the 80s!!
“Hamsar” taps on the previous track, and delivers an almost similar sound and style!! It’s a lovely 2-speed-song with a nice performance by the violin!!
The fourth song is a EURO-Techno fare, with drop-beats and “Computer-Game”-inspired melodies!! “Maghroor” has a certain nostalgic charm for us, ARCADE-veterans from the 80s!! Who back in the good old days inserted an almost “indecent” amount of money, in the machines!! In order to cruise the colourful world of “OUTRUN” with its legendary melodies swinging in the background!! The sound became so popular that the company released a separate soundtrack-tape along with the COMMODORE 64-home version of the game!!
Next comes an Afro-Caribbean tune, that is meant to help us reminiscing the long gone childhood days!! It is for its purpose, to re-create the school-yard atmosphere, nicely enhanced with the sound of the BELL and other elements from that particular milieu!! “Shakke Doroughi” is up-lifting and possesses references to Siavash’s “Bacheha”!! But the lovely performance of the Kashmari-sisters tends unfortunately to get lost in its somewhat obscure arrangements!!
“Gomshodeye Man” is a mid-tempo track with subtle Afghan-influences imbedded!! The song’s ARIAN-origin comes across around the chorus, which manages to do the lovely Kashmari-sisters justice this time!! It is a nice and uplifting piece!!
The eight track of the album is composed by the talented ARIAN-member Sharareh Farnezhad, who once composed the lovely “Royaaye Sepid”-fare!! One of the best tracks on ARIAN’s “Va Amma Eshgh…” album!! “Nedaaye Aasemooni” is a soft Electro-POP ballad, that creates a lovely “floating in space”-feeling!! Electronic twinkles and other sound effects, mange to strengthen its spacious ambience and sense of tranquillity!! The three girls of the ARIAN create together here an ANGELIC-choir!! Which unfortunately is not emphasised as it should be!!
“Hamkhoone” is very rhythmic and “GHERI”!! Another track in style with the 2nd and 3rd song of the album!! None of them written by the ARIAN-members, by the way!! The violin makes finally another brief, but lovely appearance here!!
The album ends with yet another 6/8 track!! It’s a lovely song that reminds strongly of the 80s’ POP-tunes, a la Shahram Shabpareh!! With the 70s’ DISCO-bass and horns imbedded! “In yaadet baashe hamishe, …Hich-kojaa vatan nemishe!!” notes “Rishe”, directed at us, the Iranian expatriates, as a free “lecture” in the so called “long distance-nationalism”!!! …hmmmmm!!!?
“Chikaar Konam?” is not a bad POP-album “per se”, …not at all!! In fact, it is a rather nice collection, where the “adventurous” music-fan has the opportunity to discover some although scattered, but still interesting and enjoyable pieces and moments!! BUT!! … at the same time, it is a GREAT disappointment for the fans of the ARIAN-band!! Or even anyone who has heard the ARIAN’s previous works!! And this ONLY because of the album’s unavoidable link to the ARIAN-team!!! Which tends to build HIGH EXPECTATIONS and put a great pressure on the artist and the work in question!! When you expect a “MASTERPIECE”, then a simple “GOOD” will come as a serious disappointment!! And this is exactly what this album suffers from!! Its marketing tactic does not serve its purpose!! It rather works against it!! The ARIAN-brand builds, although not really unrealistic, but yet TOO high expectations …and at the end of the day, it fails to deliver!! And that’s not because of the lack of the necessary elements and required preconditions!! NOT AT ALL!! Because more than everything that is “vital” for the creation of a PERFECT-album are present there!! Practically the entire group of ARIAN and a relatively strong vocalist are involved in the project!! But still, nothing remotely close to PERFECTION has been created!! So why haven’t these elements interacted with each other as they should, despite existing in the right environment??!! In my humble opinion, the “catalyst” missing here is “engagement”!! Because “involvement” alone, does not ensure a process’ or an experiment’s success!! This is one theory, others might suggest that the result was never intended to be a replica of the ARIAN’s sound and style, or even remind of it!! In fact, this was merely an opportunity for the group to “experiment” with other styles!! Or even argue that these are the ARIAN-albums’ “rejects” that have ended up on “Chikaar Konam?”!! Either way, the result is far less than satisfying for an ARIAN-branded creation!! And worst of all, it has burdened Hamid’s album in a very unnecessary way!! If this has been an experiment, I truly hope that it ends with this album!! …And if these have been material that were initially intended to be featured on the ARIAN’s albums, then I am glad that they didn’t make it!!
In closing, I want to make it clear, once and for all, that the
disappointment here is not caused by Hamid or his relatively GOOD
sophomore album!! Hamid is a talented vocalist and I am sure that
he will have a bright future in the industry!! As for the girls and
boys of the ARIAN, … let’s just keep our fingers crossed,
and hope that the forthcoming ARIAN-album will have nothing in common
with “Chikaar Konam?”!! …Well, except for its makers
and the “question-mark” of course!!