Hatef - “Royaaye Aabi”

Taraneh Enterprises Inc.
2007 (1386)

"You know my career better than myself!", was Hatef's response to my review on "Safir"! And no matter how seasoned you are as a critic its hard not let such comments and compliments go to your head! Hatef's “Royaaye Aabi” isn't exactly one of the latest releases, it was released a while ago but due to not having it in possession I haven't been able to review it. Till now, thanks to dear Narges and Leila, a wonderful mother and daughter and dear readers of mine who've kindly submitted it for reviewing. “Royaaye Aabi” is like many of Hatef's albums written and composed by the man himself and for the arrangements stand Roma Kanyan, Le Von and Parviz Rahmanpanah. The album features 9 tracks and is released on Taraneh Enterprises Inc..

The title-track “Royaaye Aabi” is a fusion of the Hatef-ian composition style with a dreamy CONTINENTAL POP/DANCE arrangement. Roma has managed to prevent the song from musical schizophrenia by a smooth stylistic morphing, however at times it gets a bit overcharged.

Hatef goes ahead with his RETRO-ROMANTIC orientation with a Varoojan-inspired piece called “Setaare Dar Soghoot”. You get a LIVE performance experience with this song.

The man has once again returned to the 6/8 style he once abandoned and picked up again with the previous album! Represented here by “Hoghebaaz”. A nice LATIN overtone puts some spices to this energizing track!

A harmonious reference to the old 70’s FOLK POP style with “Mahze Gole Rooye Shomaa“. Its hard to recognize a Rahmanpanah arrangement without a guest performance by his sidekick, the eminent TAAR!

The dramatic intro promises a puritan RETRO-ROMANTIC song to be delivered and the promise is held! “Hezaar Baar” is for the fans of what Hatef delivered in the latter half of the 90’s, while it doesn’t offer anything new to those who crave refreshments in the style.

If you liked “Mojarrad” in the previous album you will love “Tashkile Khaanevade”! Spinning further on the socio-cultural issues with a spoon full of satirical humour!

“To Maashini Shodi” is Hatef’s futuristic and sci-fictive account on an Artificial Intelligence dystopia! The song reminds of the KARMA group’s “Safar”.

Time for a scoop of the man’s loved/hated CAPRICCIOS! “Hamoon Aash o Hamoon Kaase” touches the social aspects of the domestic politics and the critical conditions of today's Iran.

The working title of the album was tentatively the same as this song, namely “Tragedy”! Hatef was for years accused of a Dariush-wannabeism while he himself being a fan and friend of the artist with an album called “Sofreye Seen” in common. In “Tragedy” and in particular its “Saale 2000” inspired opening you can once again see the Dariush orientation! Unfortunately its a rather messy song with an undefined structure.

Just like Faramarz Assef, contemporary name-ringer (Hatef/Assef) and fellow CAPRICCIOS artist, Hatef too has his unique and eccentric style and signature. For better and worse of course! But does this outlandish individualism still sell in the new millennium’s hotbed for mainstreamism? I highly doubt that! “Royaaye Aabi” lies parallel to “Safir” in ambition and performance, repeating the same routine and formulas without really experimenting or adding new refreshing ingredients!

That being said I still admire Hatef! If nothing else he is still the only artist who can pull off writing his old-school “Moje No” inspired lyrics and spice it up with his love for the themes and soundtracks of the Iranian pre-rev cinema and getting away with it! I mean sure they might do it on daily basis in Iran, but he is actually selling this dogma to the paranoid LA industry who consider words like “naaji“ and “harigh“ as outdated and too complex for today‘s underestimated listeners’ comprehension! I don’t know HOW he does it but regardless of its commercial potential its an admirable, not to mention necessary, effort for the balance and wellbeing of our music industry.

Note: thanks to dear Narges and Leila for submitting the album for reviewing.

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!