Habib & Mohamad - “Javuni”

Avang Music Co.
2004 (1383)

Regardless of our music-industry’s recent hostile attitude towards the LA-based satellite-TV stations, one thing is for sure and that is the fact that their up-n-coming artists would have never received the required promotional exposure and commercial HYPE, if it wasn’t for this particular branch of mass-media! If ANYONE is guilty of destructive “overexposure” of the artists, its not the TV-stations but rather each label’s PR-organ on different channels with their repetitive promo-clips! Today, due to this particular phenomenon and for the first time in our history, we have an artist who has reached the stardom long before he even had his debut album out on the market! We are of course talking about Mohamad, the young son of Habib, who has released his debut album in company and patronage of his supporting father. The father and son’s long awaited and highly anticipated album, entitled “Javuni”, comes in a 2-disc CD-DVD combo with 17 audio-tracks and 12 music-videos. The album comes in a very exclusive package thanks to the ART-work and design of Nami and the creative consultancy of Ali Reza Amighassemi, whose touch of innovation has been on basically every creative presentation in our industry! “Javuni” is mainly composed and arranged by Habib himself, but holds also collaborations with M. Cheshmazar, Paksima, Schubert Avakian, Mohammad Sattari, Davoud Badrkhani, Saeed Ghaem-Maghami and a poem by Shafiee Kadkani. The album is released on Avang Music Co..

Lately we have been witnessing a rather peculiar and -for me personally- interesting phenomenon in our LA-based industry! And that is the re-surfacing of the Iranian society’s deeply rooted and at times latent Islamic religiosity (to the great surprise and disappointment of our so called secularist-intellectuals!), which has had its explicit manifestations in various artists‘ recent works. After having seen Mansour praying in the death-cell and Shohreh paying respect to “the guarantor of the deer” comes Mohamad -who was already from the beginning presented as a religious individual and believer of the faith- with a PROGRESSIVE ARABESQUE “Ghasam” and its religio-traditionally coloured content! A perfect start to the album and perhaps also the strongest Mohamad-song on the album, commercially speaking.

Now let’s travel back to the early 90’s and the birth of the early EURO-DISCO sound. The son’s strong opener is followed up by the father’s even stronger “Naaz Nakon”! Aimed at a younger crowd is this song rather commercially appealing. I personally love this lovely balance of Habib’s nostalgic style with the up-beat vibe!

“Biaa” is a rather psychedelic PROGRESSIVE ARABESQUE fare with Mohamad and the crowd chanting along in order to call back the subject of this young heartthrob’s affection! The track is not a LIVE recording, but rather enhanced with LIVE effects! There is something veeeeery familiar about this song!?

Bringing on the LATIN-flavour with the guitars and the alluring rhythm, Habib sings “Dorough” as his second song on “Javuni”.

The title-track performed by Mohamad maintains the LATIN-flavour and spins off with a slightly mellower “Javuni”!

Habib seems to have been falling in Love with the EURO-sound, and this RETRO-FREAK (yours-truly) is not exactly complaining! Especially when the RETRO spirit is revived with such excellence. Spiced with a pinch of TRANCE comes “Nazaninam” as another PERFECT up-date of Habib’s house-hold sound! …Simply gorgeous!

The father’s MEGAAAAAAAA-HIT “Maadar” has, just like many other Iranian homage to the loving mother, always sounded too mournful to me personally! But the 2004 semi-duet version of it has managed to ALMOST reduce that mournful mood by adding a more energetic jargon and the result is an up-lifted DAVID GILMOUR-esque track.

Habib has reportedly worked with Mekabiz on his upcoming album, and knowing this it’s very interesting to hear how close Mohamad’s ornamentation is to Mekabiz’ in ”Yaadet Nareh”! This is not a bad song per se, but perhaps one of the weakest tracks on the entire album.

Now a hybrid of ETHNIC Iranian- and LATIN-rhythms! ”Naame” is a beautiful and uplifting fare that tends to cheer you up, no matter what mood you are in! At times this song is reminiscent of the old Nescafe-commercials from the 80’s and Men At Work’s old HIT ”Land Down Under”.

Reminiscent of the old Andy & Kouros-sound comes ”Maankan” aimed at the even younger fans! It’s been a while since I heard such productions by M. Cheshmazar and Paksima, I must say that their similar collaborations sounded more elaborate back in the old days!

Opening THE POLICE-inspired, ”Nagaaham” marries the beat of the ”Every Breath You Take”, with the Memphis’ HARMONY-sound and Habib’s old SOFT ROCK-style! The result, …simply beautiful!

“Gheire To” is the perfect example of how an otherwise PERFECT song happens to stumble on its disappointingly FLAT CHORUS!! This song’s chorus is the perfect definition of an “anticlimax” and an antonym for the reason “hook“ stands for chorus! Starting off film-score inspired, the psychedelic semi-VOCAL TRANCE fare builds up tension with Mohamad’s catchy Ghomayshi-an vocals, just to basically CRASH minutes later leaving you without the anticipated and sought-after “orgasm“!!! …Not to mention the total suppression of Mahsa’s lovely voice! Such a disappointment!

Another Habib HIT, “Salaame Hamsaaye”, is up-dated beautifully to feature both father and son in a duet. I must say that I am truly impressed by Habib’s arrangement-skills in this album, which happen to stand out amazingly! …most of the time anyway!

Now to the first released track of the album. “Vaghteshe” is a EURO-TECHNO inspired collaboration between Habib, Mohamad, Andy and Mekabiz! This is one of the least successful arrangements of Habib, where the vocals are once again suppressed by the music!

The album ends later with three equally perfect REMIXES of the songs:

- Bia (Trance Mix)
- Yaadet Nare ( Psychedelic Mix)
- Salaame Hamsaaye (Club Mix)

The second disc features 12 popular music-videos from “Javuni”, all in perfect A/V-quality. This is truly a highly appreciated BONUS! Today the Western industry has understood the commercial appeal of such BONUS features and slowly-but-surely consider them as a “standard”, but not even there do we often get a 12-piece music video DVD!

“Javuni” is truly a very suitable title for this album from our own Iranian JULIO and ENRIQUE! Mohamad sounds “naturally” like a younger version of his Father, and due to the father’s dominant role as the vocal-coach and composer, the similarities have become extra accentuated and striking! … For better and worst! But while Mohamad sounds like his father, he sounds like no other artist in his own league! And that in fact makes his vocal-style rather UNIQUE, in a market where colleagues -deliberately or not- tend to sound like each other! And the same goes for his rather different and unique HABIB-ian music-style! Even though Mohamad’s own SOUND employed in the solo-songs, do not qualify for a UNIQUE-mark on their own. In a BBC-interview, last year, I read about Habib not being too fond of the TECHNO-oriented sound that he needed to employ in order to present his son to the younger audience. Given that, I must say that I personally was rather surprised and amazed when I heard Habib’s own songs being even MORE progressive than Mohamad’s! Reluctantly or not, Habib has managed to, while letting Mohamad shine and receive the needed attention, update his own sound in accordance with the relevant theme …”Javuni”! And that my friends, deserves an applaud!

I suspect that Habib’s contributions to this album were initially meant as commercial “push” and from a commercial stand-point, it was a rather smart tactic move to combine the father’s album with the son’s, because this way not only do the fans of Habib get to buy the album of the son in order to get the father’s, but it also reinvents the image of Habib while presenting him to a whole new generation of music fans (young screaming girls in particular *LOL*)! In other words; “Javuni” kills two birds with one stone! Not to mention the excellent BONUS-material, packaging and presentation of the album! …ALL TOP-NOTCH! I’m going to HIGHLY RECOMMEND Habib and Mohamad’s album as a price-worthy “Collector’s Item” in the truest sense of the word! You get basically 2 full-length Persian albums (7-track standard) + a superb quality 12-piece DVD, for a more-than-fair price! It SHOULD (and probably will) raise the bars and set new standards in terms of …EVERYTHING! But it all depends on YOU!! If you as a music fan (not even necessarily Habib & Mohamad‘s) appreciate such level of performance and presentation, then by all means show your SUPPORT by buying the item and showing the industry what kind of products you crave and appreciate! Always remember: whatever sells best, becomes the trend and sets the standard!

Artistic Performance: ++
Artistic Ambition: +++
Commercial Potential: ++
Technical Quality: ++
Aesthetic Presentation: +++
Ethical Adherence: +++
[ +++ > --- ]

Review by: Pourya E.

Reviews described herein are mere opinions, and must be construed in that manner only! In other words they are not absolute!