Cameron Cartio - “Borderless”

Sony BMG
2005 (1384)

The first time I mentioned Cameron Cartio’ name was in Arash’s review, today one year later most people have become more or less familiar with the man’s music while watching his colourful music-videos. Cameron Cartio, the younger brother of the talented director Alec Cartio, started off from Sweden and the Swedish “Melodifestivalen” with his “Roma” which unfortunately didn’t make it all the way to the EUROVISION SONG CONTEST 2005! Today, however, the debut album by the title of “Borderless” is released on Sony BMG, featuring 10 tracks written by the artist himself along with collaborations in composition and arrangements with Marcus Englof, Alex Papaconstantinou, Cheb Khaled, E. Le Tennen (Ari lehtonen), J. Gill, B. Ates, T. Hanna. And Robin Rex.

The album opens with ”NiNaNay”, one of the catchier songs on the album. This song is derived almost completely from the Swede/Greek ANTIQUE’s 1999-HIT ”Dinata Dinata”!!!

”Henna” is not only the name of the second single but also the name of the girl with whom Cameron has reportedly been in love! Henna was a Khaled fan so it was more then natural that the song came as a duet with the RAI-KING. The song itself is ROCK & ROLL inspired with tangible references to Arash’s sound and style (”Tikke Tikke …”/ ”Dige Dige …”)!

Next comes ”Sandy”, a minimalistic song with the Greco-ARABESQUE overtone and a Mesopotamian undertone, along with detectable influences from the BLACK CATS style.

The third girl-named track in the row arrives with its AZERI/Greco-ARABESQUE influences. ”Leyli” is catchy!

And back to the song that started it all! ”Roma” a WORLD-BEAT song with various ETHNO influences and made-up language was Cameron’s contribution to the Swedish “Melodifestivalen” and became a minor HIT. The borderless language that the artist had constructed in his dreams, however, became just as big and durable as Zemahof’s ESPERANTO once became, it could also be the reason why it was spared from the rest of the album. The peculiar TRADEMARK-ornamentation of the man however was preserved and applied to the Persian lyrics as well!

To emphasise the Persian overtone of the album Cameron delivers a RAW-RHYTHM (drum/percussion) oriented song a la OLODUM, called ”Irooniam”!

And to further strengthen his status as an Iranian performer comes his ”Maadaram”, a tribute to the beloved mothers of the world! Although theme-wise a generic and conventional song it is rare in terms of ”positive” vibe and mood! As opposed to the ”mournful” style and sound that characterises the Iranian serenades. Something I, as my dear readers by now know, find very lovely!

”Baroone” is the third released song from the album which was never released as a single in Sweden! An ORIENTAL/CINEMATIC tune with references to the old kindergarten rhyme.

Now to ”Toyi Azizam”, the last original track on the album and also the most catchy and well-produced track with enough potential to make its way to the Swedish charts IF released during the summer time and promoted strategically! The names of this songs creators, the Swedish HIT-MAKER Eric Le Tennen in particular, are not enough to secure a TOP10 position but more than enough to convince the DJs and commercial radios that its worth a few spins! ...I must say that this song sounds so soooooooo familiar!!?

”Borderless” ends with a colourful PROGRESSIVE ITALO-DISCO-inspired REMIX of ”Roma”!

Beside the first single ”Roma”, Cameron Cartio and his music have not received any considerable attention from the Swedish media and consequently his album has to this moment not been released on the home market! Ironically even though the man’s sound is very close to both Arash's, who is currently on a commercial flow domestically and internationally, and also (due to his main composer being of a Greek origin) the Swede/Greeks ANTIQUE’s. In fact the contemporary case of Arash, who comes even from the very same city as Cameron, provides us with the best opportunity for a minor comparative case study in why the concept of ”Arash” did work locally but Cameron and his ”borderless language of love” didn’t! The reason for this in my opinion lies in the fact that Arash delivers his style with self-distance and a lot of light-hearted FUN while Cameron has choosed to adopt a ”heartthrob” image and a serious LATIN-LOVER attitude along with an own language which no one but him understands, something which might come across as ”pretentious”! Especially in an era when even original Latinos like Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias don’t appeal and sell in the North European market as much as they did around the millennium! While he still has a market and audience in the Mediterranean- and Arab countries his music does not provide the kind of ”exoticism” that the main Europe craves right now! Most likely that is also the reason why the whole direction and language of the album was later re-directed towards Persian rather than ”universalism”! another difference between these two artists is the fact that despite their common points of departure in sound, Arash has a much wider range of styles featured on his album than Cameron whose songs are basically based around the same style-axis!

Nevertheless, Cameron Cartio’s debut ”Borderless” is a VERY GOOD album filled with catchy and rhythmic ETHNO-DANCE tunes which will please DJs and floor fillers of the Iranian, Arab- and Mediterranean CLUB-scenes! I only hope that he decides to broaden the range of styles and sound on his forthcoming album, and perhaps to incorporate influences from those great acts that we both happen to admire and appreciate, Modern Talking and Jean M. Jarre! I personally would love to see more collaborations with Eric Le Tennen!


Note: special thanks to my dearest friend Amelia, without whose assistance this review would not have been possible!

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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!