Reza Yazdani - “Hiss”

Darinoush (Iran)
2007 (1386)

Reza Yazdani's second album "Parande Bi Parande", which sold over 100.000 copies, was one of the first albums that I reviewed in Bia2 and mainly the first Iranian ROCK album! The Iranian Jim Morrison and his flavour of eccentric-poetic ROCK has till now gathered its own little community of loyal fans who have in the past four years waited eagerly for his third album "Valium 10" to be released. However the title "Valium 10" didn't manage to receive a permit from Ershaad so it was changed to "Donyaaye Varoone" and finally "Hiss", reportedly as a discouraging hush to new POP acts! After the taste of public success for his performance in Massoud Kimiaei’s motion-picture "Hokm" Reza Yazdani has reconsidered his ornamentation and narrow style in this album, both as a nod to Ershaad's critique on his singing style and also in order to address a larger crowd in a commercial agenda. Like in the previous album he has created all the music and worked elaborately with Yaghma Golroie as the sole lyricist, and just accordingly is the 9-track album released on a Darinoush that is releasing its first album in years!

The album was entitled to hush the pop singers and so is the first song called "Aavaazekhoon"! In a satirical ROCK&ROLL/AMERICANA fashion Yazdani criticises the characteristics of commercial musicianship. Stylistically reminiscent of “Jordan” from his previous album!

Next comes "Shomal" which is a song, as the title indicates, about the northern Iran and aims to evoke nostalgic feelings in the listener. And it sure does, even in me who haven't seen that lush Eden on earth for more than 20 years! But that’s not the only nostalgic thing about this song, the whole ballad has a very gentle Fereydoun Foroughi-an air about itself, not to mention Reza's ornamentation which oscillates between his current and his old sound-alike tendency! The violin of Babak Shahraki was a spontaneous experimentation which started more Iranian but was eventually neutralised in style. I love this song!

Late Henry Mancini's Pink Panther theme opens another attempt to evoke nostalgia in the song "Cartoon" which is custom-made for our generation and our childhood television viewing! According to Yazdani this song got so popular that he was offered a million for it by another artist but declined! The style is similar to the one used in "Parande Bi Parande".

"Borj" is a classic Floyd-ian ballad with its social symbolism and narrative style. I can imagine an animated music video for this one, love it!

In the same socio-critical line comes "Mash Ramezoon", but with a more progressive attitude and style! In narration reminiscent of Toofun's old "Mash Taghi". This one smells the old Yazdani-ROCK flavour and fits perfectly where it appears in the track-listing! Good decision!

Back to the classic ROCK sound and a more LED ZEPPELIN-ian fashion. The love song "Naaneveshte" offers yet another fine guitar solo to sooth the soul! Beautiful!

Adding a diverging touch of 80's Electro-ROCK to the opening of "Zendeginaame" Reza Yazdani makes us believe that there is an obsolete song ahead! But that's not the case at all! This is an energetic ROCK song with that mainstream appeal. Another favourite of mine!

The tag-line of "Yeki Dar Mioon" is "dar cassette nist", and I don't really know whether its just a part of the title or serious declaration of content!? At any rate this is a HABIB-ian ROCK song with a catchy chorus and flow!

"Morshed" Yaghma's voice opens “Donyaaye Varoone” the last track on the album, a retro-romantic (and by that I don't mean the musical style!) and surrealistic urban fable to tie up the ends of this album!

While everyone is trying today to simplify music in order to make it more accessible Reza Yazdani aims the opposite by twisting and turning the simple to difficult! And by that carrying the stylistic legacy of the 70's NEW WAVE generation. This artistic defiance however tends to contradict his new commercial ambitions! As a result of the positive reaction which he has received for his soundtrack production, Reza Yazdani has reportedly decided to cross over to MAINSTREAM music in his “Hiss“. A statement that might be labelled as "sell out" by his brothers in genre! But he claims that its in this album that he has "found" his true artistic self. While he admits that he was more of a Morrison/Foroughi sound-alike in the past he is glad that he has reached a stylistic emancipation and independence, something which he intends preserving in albums to come. According to himself he sings often about social issues but avoid embarking on politics, something he finds highly possible but seldom exercised. If correctly executed he thinks that it will remove the stigma from such songs. But Yazdani also admits that he likes ballads and to top everything off with a touch of NOSTALGIA! And nostalgia is exactly what he has focused on after the success of the song "Jordan" in his previous album, a song which Reza himself dislikes but acknowledges the commercial power of, with numerous popular/cultural references to allure the listener subconsciously! And it works, of course in some cases more than the other, nevertheless it works!! Yazdani has clearly crossed over to the more commercial style of ROCK and reminds of a younger HABIB in style though more progressive. He systematically avoids extreme swings in his new album while not really needing to tone down or restrain himself. He is still Reza Yazdani, the ROCKER, though to more people now than before! Vocally Reza Yazdani has achieved what Arash of KIOSK hasn’t yet and that is to shake off the sound-alike tendency and find his own "voice"! And even musically he has found a more solid ground to stay on and explore, maybe not as lyrically fresh and clever as KIOSK, but still progressive and forthcoming. It still leaves room for technical improvement and polishing in order to really take ROCK music to the MAINSTREAM in an Iranian context but its definitely on the right path and that not at all coincidently! Whether an artistic sacrifice or commercial master-plan, Reza Yazdani has decided to crossover even more in the next album! Something which I personally look forward to, since there is huge vacuum in our market between the ROCK puritans and POP veterans! A gap which should be filled and bridged for balancing acts of the future.

“Hiss” is one of the best albums of the year and without a doubt the best of Yazdani’s so far! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

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!