Faramarz Assef - “Ghashange Roozegaar (Afra VI)”

Afra Production and Distribution Co.
2006 (1385)

The former national athlete and champion/record holder in triple jump (track and field) was one of the first in the line of post-revolution newcomers to enter the stages of Los Angels two decades ago, in an era reigned supremely by veterans. Being initially accused of a Dariush sound-alike aspiration and Michael Jackson WANNABEistic tendency, Faramarz Assef came to formulate an own unique approach to POP-music through an ECCENTRIC blend of commercial groove, Eastern mystique, world musicality, psychedelic kitsch and a great deal of satirical humour! He became the founding father of musical CAPRICCIOS (satiric-surreal art) through his ALTER-EGOistic nemesis HAJI! A style he came to truly personify by NEVER deviating from in these past 20 years and his 6 Afra-albums! A style later adopted by artists such as Hatef. His latest offering, the sixth instalment in the Afra-series, entitled “Ghashange Roozegaar” in Persian and “Dance with Ecstasy” in English is a CD/DVD COMBO with 10 audio tracks and 12 music videos. Graced by a cover design reminiscent of the VCD-film covers produced in Iran and a booklet in my taste, portraying the man as a PLAYBOY surrounded by various ethnic beauties! Partly composed and written by Assef himself in collaboration with Amir Badakhsh, Paksima, Fred Mirza, Shahram Azar, Masoud Amini, Andranik, Bijan Samandar and Yaghma Golroie. Released just like its predecessors on Afra Production and Distribution Co..

The album start with a song called “Vaay Vaay” which according to the list of credits is a “Mediterranean inspiration”! This however is NOT the case! No “inspiration” in other words but rather a COPY of the song “Of …of“ by the Turkish star GÜLSEN, down to minor details!!! This gives a whole new meaning to “inspiration“, I must say!!*LOL*

Next comes “Aroose Mahtaab”, a GHERI 6/8 song that reminds of the previous album’s “Aroos”! Allegedly Faramarz got married just recently, so all these tightly delivered wedding songs might have something to do with that!…?

“Shahre Aavaaz” is a TRANCE-inspired song very close to the man’s old 4/4 style. Balanced and even, nice work by Mirza!

The time has come for the old BANDARI/BASTAKI song ”Chaie Chaie” (allegedly by Ahmad Sultan and his band the SULTANEEZ! A popular BANDARI/BASTAKI band who has been unfortunate enough to have most of their songs ripped-off by LA-artists!) to be featured on Assef’s album in a revised and amended version with melody of verses taken from Hisham Abbas’ ”Nari Nareen” and not even an ”inspired by”-reference this time, let alone credit to any original! Due to the recent CHAI-phad the song is also to be featured on Kouros’ upcoming album mixed with another of the band’s songs called ”Azkankle”, but whether with or without credit we just have to wait and see! I should also mention that while Kouros has changed its lyrics to an actual tea-time theme, Assef’s song enjoys the exact same chorus and similar ”emotional” theme as the original! Presumably Chai is a female name in Southern Iran?!

”Ghashange Roozegar” is a LATIN-CONTINENTAL ballad of an ADULT CONTEMPORARY type a la Andranik. Unfortunately there is still no sign of update detected in Ando’s arrangements!

HAJI is no longer to be found on this album! However to still your hunger for the man’s trademark CAPRICCIOS, if now you have any, is ”Khabarchin” delivered and served.

The socio-political ”Yaare Dabstenaai” is unlike its title NOT the classic Jamshid Jam/Mansour Tehrani anthem, but rather a song derived from both Pink Floyd’s ”The Wall” with the child-choir and the old ”Yaare Dabestaani” in an updated groove of the old ”Siminbar” sledgehammer from 1993!

Another CONTINENTAL/ADULT CONTEMPORARY aspiration called ”Golforoosh” signed Andranik is next in line! It seems like Faramarz is trying to tell us something, …maybe a hint about his future choice of genre …?!

Now time for “Mamanam-inaa” a short spin-off from “Khabarchin” featuring none other than the female vocalist from HAJI II, if I’m not mistaking!? …This lovely lady is such a talent in imitating that infamous tone of voice that has for centuries made us, Iranian gentleman, to work overtime for FREE!!*LOL*

And last comes an instrumental version of the so called “Mediterranean inspiration”! …a SAD reminder!!!

Faramarz Assef is one of those artists who has a permanent but latent fan-base around the globe, its basically impossible to play an Assef tune and find someone who doesn’t recognise the artist behind it! However his fans are “variables” who come and go with each new release. There are many factors contributing to this solid yet fluid popularity. One is that his TRADEMARK style is far too eccentric to the ears of the masses but still pret-a-porter enough for RUMPSHAKERS! Even though its equally ambitious towards both groups, it fails in its accessibility in regards to the listeners. And it doesn’t really help the case that he never deviates from the style nor evolves! Faramarz Assef of today is artistically the Faramarz Assef of two decades ago, just with a bit shorter hair! Throw in all songs from all his albums in a blender and you will hardly notice any quality/trend-difference or time-accordance. The other factor is the wide gap between each release and the relatively weak distribution of his albums. Nevertheless he is a “unique“ artist, for better and worse, who fills and serves a purpose in the grand scheme of our music! He might not ever WOW you, but neither does he leave you bored! You can always count on HAJI to deliver the goods, provided that you crave his narrow yet FUNKY flavour, that is!

“Ghashange Roozegaar (Afra VI)” is arguably Assef’s most GENEROUS offering till date, in terms of quality and quantity! But at the same time its also one of his more CHEAPER ones, because of its ungenerous and unethical conduct towards fellow artists! Such a shame for an artist who aspires to establish a name on the WORLD-MUSIC scene! Therefore I WONT RECOMMEND “Ghashange Rozegaar (Afra VI)”, in particular to those who care about the credibility of the Iranian music! Our music is already in a dire state inter-artistically, lets not strive for a bad reputation even internationally!

Note: Thanks to our forum member “Ahmaad“ and my good friend Ladan.

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!