Nasser Abdollahi - “Maandegaar”

Avaye Mandegar (Iran)
2006 (1385)

Unfortunately the first album that I get to review from Nasser Abdollahi, the singer who was a member of the first generation of post-2nd Khordad artists, also happens to be his last! This ill-fated artist passed away last year allegedly under mysterious circumstances, though the cause of death was officially announced as kidney failure! “Maandegaar” was titled and released shortly after Abdollahi’s death as a tribute to him while it was the last collection of songs that he had worked on. Featuring material from Benyamin, Nima Varasteh, Farid Ahmadi, Javad Sharifpour, Farzad Foroumand, Hassan Karimi, Behnam Abtahi, Mehdi Mohtasham Safa, Shaya Tajali, Mehrdad Nosrati, Niloofar Laripour, Sanaz Safaie, Mohamad Reza Cheraghali and Farzad Hasani. The album featuring 10 tracks is available on Avaye Mandegar.

The album opens with “Mano Bebakhsh“, a song created by Benyamin Bahadori! And those who have watched the Rageh Omaar interview with Benyamin in his acclaimed BBC documentary “Rageh inside Iran” know that this particular song was supposed to be featured on Benyamin’s own follow up album as a ballad! Slightly modified and faster in pace it appears now on “Maandegaar”, NRG-ROCK and fit for Nasser’s voice.

This southern FOLK song is probably one of the most remade song into POP music the past three decades, often mistitled as “Yambo Sanam”! Abdollahi‘s “Yambo Sanah” is altered with additional music by the singer himself. Following the tradition of featuring songs from his birthplace on his album!

Another NRG-ROCK song on the menu, this time by Farzad Foroumand in his trademark style! “Tanhaa” is a song with a Ghomayshi-an undertone.

Tightly followed by another FOLK tune! This one a new song by the name of “Fasleh Bahaar” arranged by Abtahi whom we haven’t heard much from lately.

Somehow the immediate opening of “Behet Nagoftam” reminds me of PET SHOP BOYS’ “It’s a Sin” to soon refer to both DJ DADO’s X-files theme and HIM’s “Join Me”! This is a bit messy DREAM HOUSE song with a nice core but lost potential!

In the same fashion as a Cheshmazar song arranged back in the 80’s comes “Khoone”, a RETRO POP song which barely manages to disguise itself as a modern track!

Next comes “Raaz”, a song with an interesting arrangement which strangely enough is arranged by Mehrdad Nosrati, the man behind the previous song’s obsolete production! Unfortunately the technical fusion, the catapulting beat in particular, is not consistent throughout the entire track!

Its probably only the Iranian industry that still employs the 90’s PANPIPES sound a la Enigma and other New Age acts! I’m one of the fans of M. R. Cheraghali’s style and sound and while he practically dominated the post-2n Khordad’s scene as composer/producer these days his name is more or less only associated with TV and vignette-music! “Deltang” is for the fans of Abdolahi’s earlier albums.

The fact that Nasser Abdollahi came from a religious background, even musically, is no secret and therefore his religious tribute “Mehre Ali va Zahra” comes hardly as a surprise! Its unconventionally uplifting style and disguised 6/8 rhythm however do! Even though such liberal fusion has been practised pre revolution and is still today common in LA, many have tried to sell such for-domestic-standards extreme approach even to Ershaad in the past but failed!

The closing instrumental version of it unveils the hidden contradiction!

Nasser Abdollahi began once as a singer with an Ebi sound-alike tendency, a tendency which he managed to tone down the further he got in his mainstream career! And no matter if you really enjoyed his voice or not you just could not ignore the consistency and quality of the music he delivered. Abdollahi grew with each project, seizing each opportunity to mature technically and stylistically! And subsequently “Maandegaar” is his best album in terms of progression and refinement. It is also the most versatile in its way of presenting Abdollahi and his artistic spectrum, serving as a perfect introduction to his musical legacy for every one who has yet not had a chance to explore it!

May his soul rest in eternal peace …

Overall Performance: ++
Artistic Ambition: ++
Commercial Potential: ++
Technical Quality: ++
Aesthetic Presentation: -
Ethical Adherence: +++
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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!