Mahasty- ”Hamishe-Sabz”

Caltex Records
2003 (1382)

Mahasty is, just like her late sister Hayedeh was, a genuine and versatile artist!! Although being a classically trained and critically acclaimed ”Diva”, she has always been an open-minded and humble artist with a keen eye for musical developments and trends of time!! An artist with a long and solid career and a rich artistic “portfolio”, ranging from traditional “Bazm” to some pure POP-creations!! And that is exactly why she has managed to maintain, not only her TOP-position in the hearts of her fans, but also the respect that she’s always received from her fellow artists and the rest of the industry!!!

Mahasty has for her new album, decided to collaborate “mainly” with two composers/arrangers, with two totally different styles!! The more conservative Bijan Mortazavi and the always experimenting Shahbal Shabpareh!! The album also holds a track composed and arranged by the talented Shahyad!! And lyrics by Homayoun Hooshyarnezhad, Shahbal Shabpareh and Mozhdeh!! The title of the album is “Hamishe-Sabz”, and is according to Mahasti herself a title suggested by Shahbal Shabpareh, indicating her successful and “EVERGREEN” career!! The album is released on Caltex Rrecords!!

The album starts unconventionally with a lovely ballad!! “Saaye” is a typical Bijan Mortazavi-composition with its classic arrangement!! Along with some SWING-influences imbedded!! This is definitely a song for the fans of Mahasty’s LOVE-songs!!

It is then followed up by “Pashimaan”!! Yet another typical Bijan Mortazavi-creation!! So typical, that at first your brain simply refuses to accept that it’s Mahasty’s voice it hears at the intro!!! This is a lovely mid-tempo song, that just like the previous track deserves MORE of the master’s magical violin, …much more than its current share!!

Next comes a song that reminds strongly of Sheila’s lovely “Mehmoon”, another song composed by Bijan!! This song is very rhythmic and up-lifting!! The violin makes finally its official entrance here!! “Mitarsam” is a song that will slowly, but surely tickle our lovely LADIES to dance, if not in the clubs, …definitely in the privacy of their homes!!

Now to the title-track of the album!! “Hamishe-Sabz” is a song composed and written by Shahbal Shabpareh and performed by his team of talented “proteges”, as a nice tribute to Mahasty!! While Mahasty herself makes an appearance around the chorus, the song is carried mainly by the male and female members of groups like SHE-ba-HE and the new edition of BLACK CATS (now after the Bros.’ (Hooman & Kamran) departure, consisting allegedly of both male and female front-figures)!! The track might also feature some vocals by members from Shahbal’s other projects, such as SILHOUETTT and the still unveiled all-girl FASHION 5!! But since no credits have been given on the album-cover, I am not sure!! Anyway, this is a really lovely fare and exactly the kind of “tribute-song” that I personally appreciate!! It’s made and performed by one artist, for “another” artist!! In other words, …the way it should be!! The sound is the popular TRADEMARK-sound of Shahbal Shabpareh and every guest vocalist makes an exceptional performance here!! So, all the HIT-factors are present!! I’m now teased enough to eagerly anticipate the arrival of these young and talented artists’ own forthcoming works!! …Well done guys!!

“Havas” is another mid-tempo fare by Shahbal Shabpareh, in a similar style!! I even suspect that the featured male-choir here, is consisted of the same male vocalists!! A very lovely track indeed!!

Last, but not least, comes “Delam Tange”!!! This song is written by the talented singer/composer Shahyad and it even features him as the guest vocalist!! It is a nice mid-tempo track, composed in the best Shahyad-style!! There is a lovely interaction between Mahasty’s and Shahyad’s voices!!

“Hamishe-Sabz”, or “Evergreen” is a truly lovely POP-endeavor by Mahasty and the rest of the production team!! It is to me clear that the two main composers here, have been employed for two completely different tasks!! Bijan Mortazavi to maintain the original Mahasty-style for her OLD-SCHOOL fans, and Shahbal Shabpareh to put a modern twist to the whole package, in order to attract the younger NEW-SCHOOL fans!! And I am glad to say that they BOTH have succeeded!! As I expected them to!! Even the Shabpareh-compositions who one might expect as fundamentally incompatible with Mahasty’s voice, are here in harmony with not only her voice but also Mortazavi’s and Shahyad’s creations!! Suddenly it sounds completely natural to find our beloved DIVA in an Iranian TEEN-POP-constellation and even hearing her singing “Kaash ke parande boodam, …Yaa babre darande boodam…”!! And I must admit that I did not expect all these three composers to deliver so “similar” sounds!! Which they evidently have!! There is not much “tangible” sound-difference in songs featured on “Hamishe-Sabz”, …but yet they are clearly different style-wise!! In fact, all of the songs have so many melodic references to each other that one almost feels like if the tracks flow into each other somehow!! This achieved homogenousness can be both regarded as something positive, and something negative!! Depending on the artist that it concerns!! When it comes to Mahasty, however, I truly believe that both she and her fans want it to be in this way!!

The only thing I found slightly negative about this album, is the quantity of its songs!! In fact, it’s nothing exclusive to this particular release, but something that concerns the whole industry!! A 6-track-collection is today practically considered as an “EP”, worldwide!! And definitely no longer an “LP” or better said, an ALBUM!! Then again an “EP” has NEVER been considered as an ALBUM in the Western industry and market!! These days, with the reduction from the standard 8-track-listing to a 7-track-listing, and now to a 6-track-listing, the LA-based industry is slowly, but surely heading back to where it once started back in the 80s!! A return to the EP-format and the re-introduction of the FILLER-medleys are nothing but an “alarming” sign of RETROGRESSION for the industry!! And this exactly when even the albums produced inside Iran have reached a 10-tracks/album-standard!!

In closing, it is worth to mention once again, that Shahbal and his “LEAGUE” give an excellent performance in this album!! But what I personally am most impressed by is Shahbal’s brilliant “product-placement”!! By featuring the new Black Cats-vocalists as guest-artists on Mahasty’s song, he does not only put a trendy twist to the album, but gives also a sneak-preview to the exited Black Cats-fans out there!! Not to mention, exposing them to a new target-group!! The very fact that he has tried to seize the opportunity and “kill two birds with one stone” without damaging the parties involved, is truly admirable!! That is why I consider him to be a true artistic “entrepreneur”!!

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!