Shadmehr Aghili- ”Khiali Nist”


Finally!!!…I’ve finally got it in my hand, but it feels almost like if I have climbed mountains just to get an original copy!!! Talk about bad marketing for an album!!! Shadmehr Aghili’s new album is released by the, to me completely unknown, Canada-based label NAVA MEDIA. But due to weak distribution efforts, the main copies currently available in Europe are the bootleg-versions of it, unfortunately!
Yes, Shadmehr has left Iran and he has just started a brand new chapter of his career in Canada. But his long and unwanted absence from the domestic Iranian music and film arenas, because of the obstacles facing him in Iran, and his departure from the home country and arrival to Canada have not been without its share of buzz and rumours! First there appeared something allegedly known as Shadmehr’s secret album “Fariba”, later a semi-official album, called “Adam o Havva”, was hyped and broadcasted on the Internet! And finally it was said that Shadmehr was taken in custody and put on a plane back to Iran!!! However, …I can ensure you that he is DEFINITELY back…and as always with STYLE!!
His seven-song-album, “Khiali Nist”, is written and arranged by Shadmehr himself. But for its lyrics he has received help, both from old friends like the sensitive minded Iran-based lyricist Niloofar Laripoor, among others, and also from one of the most talented lyricists outside the country, Paksima Zakipour. It is, however, not clear to me who the producer of the album is, but Soroush Tahmasebi is on the album cover, as the “operator”!(?)

“Khiali Nist” takes off with its title-track…“Khiali Nist”! And what a magical start for an album!! This song is simply amazing, nothing like Shadmehr’s previous songs!!! This is the NEW Shadmehr!!! It is an energetic song, with dynamic HOUSE/NRG-beats and bass-lines. Some NO*MERCY influences too… very nice! I love the “I will survive”-lyrics of the song, and its typical and wonderfully paradoxical twist!!! Just listen to these: “Rafti ba yeki dige doost shodi…khiali nist…yekroozam nobate man mishe barat naame bedam…bedooni ba yeki digeam…jaatam aslan khaali nist”!! He wants to write to “her”, when he finnaly has found someone new, just to tell her that she is long forgotten and replaced…but if this really was the case, then he wouldn’t even have bothered thinking about her, let alone to write to her!!! Aaaaaaaaaaakh…Ahhhhkh!! This wonderful and romantically-majnoon Iranian passion of ours!! Don’t you just love it??? I do!!!!
The second song has a unique and beautiful female name as its title, “Zhina”. Who is then this mysterious Zhina? Well we will never know!!! Not from Shadmehr anyway!!! But what we’ll know is that this song is absolutely gorgeous!!! What a melody…what an arrangement!!! An Euro-Dance-flavoured HI-NRG sound with progressive beats. Excellent employment of electronic-drops along with classical string-segments a la Shadmehr Aghili, lift this song to another level! Here too, like the previous song, reigns a dominant, but beautiful, usage of a CHER-inspired “auto-tune”! “Auto-tune” is currently very popular; both with artists like M. Esfehani in Iran and Siavash Ghomeishi in US. I must admit that Shadmehr sounds very much like Siavash (not Ghomeishi) in this particular song! To all DJ:s, this song is already featured as an extended-version here!!!
Next comes a slower and typical Shadmehr-song!!! This is what most people recognise Shadmehr by. Acoustic-guitar-based melodies and a tired voice singing about difficulties of relationships…”man delam tang mishe…to delet sang mishe…nazaar in tonge boloor beshkane ba in ghoroor”! A very good song, indeed.

“Bavar” is a track that is slower than the previous one, but with the same theme. “Bavar” reminds us of the sound featured in the “Mosafer” album.
Now to the fifth song of the album, “Fale Ghahveh”. This lovely song is my favourite ballad of the album! You are sitting in a crowded Cafe, looking out from its steamy windows…the sky is cloudy, the rain is falling…on the round-table, two half-empty cups…the chair in front of you… empty too…that “someone” is gone! “Fale Ghaveh” is a companion-song for melancholic and rainy autumn afternoons! The melodies and its arrangement remind me of Sting’s “Fragile”…aaaaaah!! Wonderful words by Niloofar Laripoor!
“Cheshmaye Ashegh”, the sixth song, is a SAMBA-inspired track, with a dominant Carnival feeling to it!! But it has also segments that remind us of some of the Iranian tracks of the 80s, and even some of Shadmehr’s own songs. It is a nice track but could have been better, with a slightly sharper and clearer arrangement, that could prevent the vocals to be suppressed by the dominant beats and melodies!! But still a good song!
Now to the final and less strong song of the album, “Begoo az Koja”. This song is not a bad song “per se”, but its arrangement fails to deliver!!! It comes across as an under-developed and out-dated attempt to make an ANDY&KOUROS-type-of-song, with a pinch of Cheshmazar-spices in its arrangements! But somehow it fails to rise and falls flat, unfortunately.
I must say that Shadmehr has managed to surprise us by renewing himself a great deal with this album, but these changes have two different sides. One more and one less, not to say successful, but impressive side! The more impressive results can be heard in the first two songs of the album. I really didn’t know that Shadmehr himself had written and arranged these amazing songs!!! Really IMPRESSED, I must admit!!! Shadmehr-jan, dastet dard nakone!!!
I have always loved the music of Shadmehr Aghili. I have waited and anticipated his new album for a long time and I really hope to hear more of such wonderful and well-balanced sounds in the future, and by the look of how Shadmehr is navigating his career, I am pretty sure that we will!! He just needs time to settle down in the new environment, in order to fully employ and enjoy the new possibilities! In second thoughts, the release of the new album might seem a bit hasty, but it shows that Shadmehr is a multi-talented, hyper-active and, most importantly, self-conscious artist!!! He will eventually find and perfect all the styles that suit and support his fine talents. I only hope that Shadmehr, could in the future negotiate with one of the stronger labels, for a more reasonable distribution of his works. Otherwise the pirate-market will deprive him of all kind of financial compensations, unfortunately!

This album will satisfy all of Shadmehrs’ fans, both his new-school and old-school fans! “Khiali Nist” is a very good album, strongly recommended to all Iranian-music-fans.

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!