Babak - “Delhore va Arezoohaa”

Donya Records
2008 (1387)

" ...“Ghahr” is one of the best, if not THE BEST, VOCAL-TRANCE fare I have heard from an Iranian artist. The production is SO clean and in accordance to the actual TRANCE music that it blows my mind! Its quality did not only impressed me, but amazed my non-Iranian friends too! Babak Rahnama, probably a relative to Mani, should have all the credits for this fabulous gem. BRAVO, I must say!"

The first time we heard the UK-based Babak Rahnama's name was as a composer in his Iran-based critically acclaimed relative Mani Rahnama's album "Tamoom Shod Taraane". Since then we have all had the pleasure of hearing his exclusive tracks on Bia2, not to forget his popular "Universal Show" which has even non-Iranians as loyal listeners! Recently Babak compiled all his so-far released tracks along with new songs and remixes (available exclusively on the Bia2 store edition!) on a collection poetically entitled “Delhore va Arezoohaa” and released it on his own newly-established label Donya Records instead of Dj Aligator's Gator Records which was initially planned and reported on my blog. All compositions and arrangements on the 10-track (13-track Bia2 store edition) album are by Babak himself and for the lyrics stand beside Babak also Amin Bamshad, Kourosh Samiye, Taraneh Mokaram, Ahoora Iman and Parviz Vakili.

The album opens with the sound of the piano accompanied by the pouring rain ...a rather dramatic intro!

Followed by "Daste Mano Begir", an uplifting and mellow TRANCE track which's sample was previously heard on the Universal Show.

The next song doesn't fall far in its style and attitude, "Eshghe To" continues with that fuzzy feeling and soothing mood of the previous song.

"Zendegimo Shenaakhtam" loses the ongoing pace in favour of a more dramatic yet minimalistic ambience. I think I prefer the slightly more upbeat version presented on the Universal Show, however to add diversity to the album this version serves the purpose better!

The same goes for "Tanhaayam", which was (as quoted in the beginning of the review) originally preformed as "Ghahr" by Mani Rahnama on his album in a slightly different -and in my opinion- smoother version. There was a more normative flow to that version which took you to a climax and back, leaving you pleased and satisfied! Something which is not exactly executed in this version, deliberately or not. Instead we have a more dreamy and almost psychedelic version which goes round and round in circles, without reaching the climax it promises in its manoeuvres! Still a great song though!

(listen to Mani's version)

And now to Babak's debut song which is a cover of Googoosh's old song "Aadamaa". In which Babak takes us on another dreamy ride, this time without promising manoeuvres to disappoint! You just kick back and enjoy what seems to be a never-ending journey, very relaxing and not bit annoying. I've seen that Babak has declared the composer of the song "unknown" while the song is according to Hatef, who has covered the song himself in his album "Yaaraane Khiaali", Parviz Maghsadi's creation! Something you don't have to go far too find the information you are looking for and checking previous attempts is a good way to start your research! However Babak has given credit to the lyricist Parviz Vakili, which deserves recognition. Overall when I rate shortcomings in "Ethical Adherence", I always take the practical facts into consideration as well! How far does a singer have to go in order to find the info required? Sometimes an info is hidden in the mind or archive of a single person somewhere on earth, which makes it near impossible to retrieve! But sometimes its just a "googling" away!

"Dige Donbaalam Nabaash" is a song which is rather conflicting in its lyrical attitude and musical attitude! While one rejects the other pulls back! This is rather interesting and very generically Western in approach. Something we don't hear too often in the Iranian industry.

Another one of Babak's earliest HITS is "Arezou". The title itself provides a clever concept for contemplation! Is it about a girl by that name or is it an existentialistic cry? Its for Babak who has also written the lyrics himself to know and for us to wonder! That's the beauty of art.

If you've somehow felt that the pace of the album has been too fast for you so far, which I hardly think is possible, you can now relax to the ballad "Khodaahaafez". A rather wintery song, perfect for the season!

The regular edition of the album ends with "Aarezouhaa" which is a song dedicated to all Iranians around the world. A very sympathetic and empathic song. I love the fact that it focuses on the individual rather than the big mass! Because without the person there is no nation, something which is often overlooked by most songs with nationalistic/patriotic themes. And by that it ties up "Delhore va Arezooha" which kicked off with "Delhore" and ends with "Arezooha"! very clever!

As previously mentioned the Bia2 store edition includes three exclusive remixes of "Aadamaa (2008 Remix)", "Arezou (Chillout Mix)" and "Tanhaayam (The Beach Mix)".

Musically “Delhore va Arezoohaa” is impeccable in terms of ambition and quality. It does build further upon the ground previously paved by pioneers like Nami and Bahador Kharazmi, however its significant contribution to the history of the infant Iranian ELECTRONICA is that it focuses on a very personal style and signature. A feature which although brilliant and market-magnetic also happens to be my main concern here! My only nitpick about this album and Babak's music in general is that it lacks diversity and most importantly CLIMAX! Something which I've even discussed with Babak himself personally. The impression one gets from the album is that its a close-range variety of the same formula and flavour! Which is perfect if you are in that "particular" mood and just crave a fluent and fuzzy flow of light and comfortable TRANCE. Its basically the CLUB equivalent to "easy listening"! While a more diverse album with a bit more imbedded CLIMAXes and soundscape surprises would have suited more moods and modes! Don't get me wrong though, I love the magical Persian dust sprinkled on the dreamy Balearic TRANCE carpet which Babak has woven. Its easy on the ear and sooths my soul, however it leaves me wishing for a bit more bumpier ride from time to time, just for the sake of the thrill! I want to be able to feel a craving for an Electro-BALLAD and that I can't do when its been preceded by either other ballads or similarly mellow mid-tempo tracks. At the same time I can imagine, not knowing for sure, that the nature and calibre of Babak's voice is better suited for this certain style of TRANCE! Also I realise that there are many who, unlike me, are more than happy with the way things are and in fact are a fan just because things are the way they are! So I will be hoping for a change but understand if there wont be any! Either way I'm already anticipating the follow up to this brilliant debut.

Having said that I think this review should also be considered by those who might think that I acclaim and reject some albums based on my personal relations and affiliations with the artists! I love Babak and he is a valuable member of our Bia2 team. I have enjoyed his music ever since I first heard it years ago, even before knowing him personally, and strongly believed in his talent and potential to grow artistically! Yet I like to believe that I'm able to step out of my self as a biased person and take on the role of an objective reviewer when its time to analyse and evaluate the results constructively! Otherwise I would do both the artist, the readers and myself a huge disservice!

Note: special thanks to Babak.

Overall 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!