Andy- “PLATINUM”

CMG and Avang Music Co., promotions by Tapesh Records
2004 (1382)

1990 was a year of GREAT IMPORTANCE in the Iranian music history!! This was the year, in which a movement came to finally burst-out in a REVOLUTION, through a distinguished hallmark-release!! This modern MASTERPIECE was Andy & Kouros’ third album “Balla”!! The album neither sounded or looked like ANY other creation, EVER released in the Iranian market!! Andy & Kouros did not only create HYSTERIA, revolutionise the Iranian POP-music, sat new trends and standards, introduced the MUSIC-VIDEOS (in a HOLLYWOOD-fashion, rather than the practised BOLLYWOOD one!! With an actual “concept”, exotic locations and gorgeous PLAY BOY models), they also opened the door of possibilities for a NEW generation of acts and artists!! A young generation of Iranians who before that were either rejected as too-risky-investments by the LA-based industry or were themselves simply not attracted by a music that sounded “obsolete” and “impotent”, in closer comparison to its Western counterpart!! Andy & Kouros became celebrated household-names and POP ICONS, a source of inspiration and even “emulation”, for the young and ambitious artists!! And their highly acclaimed “Balla”, the perfect “text-book” for how a MODERN Iranian POP-album should look and sound like!!

Today is Andy back with his BRAND NEW solo-album in Persian!! Even though Andy first started his career as a Persian-singing vocalist in 1986 in the legendary duo (and celebrated the first decade in 1996 through the release of “Sarseporde”), his activities in the Iranian industry began officially in 1984 as the bassist in Shahram Shabpareh’s band!! Hence is the new album entitled PLATINUM, “allegedly” a celebration of his 20-years in the business!! Artists who have contributed to the creation of the highly anticipated PLATINUM are M. Cheshmazar, M. Moghadam, Paksima, Kamran Delan, Nami, Tohid Azimi, Farokh Ahi, Hedieh, Kourosh Shokoufandeh, Andy G, Hamid Nadiri and Masaki Saito!! A blend of Andy’s usual creative-collaborators and fresh new artists!! PLATINUM features 12 tracks and is released on Avang Music Co., and Andy’s own CMG of course!! For the promotions stands the newly stabilised Tapesh Records.

“Aare Aare” kicks off the album as a typical album-opener by Andy!! A lovely and energetic PARTY POP-fare with its characteristic melodies, beats, sound-effects, and of course the TRADEMARK female-“vocal-tease”!! This song consolidates a tradition that began long ago with “Topoly”, …actually!! And I can not recall an Andy-album that has started off differently!!

“Arousak” follows in the same steps as the previous song!! Another characteristic of an Andy-album is the presence of at least one song with M. Cheshmazar’s lovely signature!! And PLATINUM is not an exception!! …very cute and UPLIFTING!!

Next comes a GORGEOUS DREAM/TRANCE-fare from one of the BEST composer/lyricists of the Iranian world of music!! Does the name Kamran Delan sound familiar?!? …How about one of Andy’s biggest HITS, “To ke Rafti”?! …or “Roya”?! Well, the man behind them is finally back!! After a period of silence!! In fact, the last time we experienced his magical touch was on Nami’s “Planet Dream”!! The same multi-talented Nami who has arranged “Vedaa”, actually!! These two gentlemen create a perfect artistic team, …if only they would bless us with their creations “more often”!!

The Andy & Kouros-POWER-BALLAD “Chi Mishod” is one of my all-time favourite songs!! Although having a similar title as the legendary MEGA-HIT, “Chi Mishe” is NOT a ballad, but rather an up-beat and uplifting song with FOLK- and ETHNIC-influences!! …Very lovely indeed!!

Another style that characterises Andy’s albums is the energetic POWER-POP!! This particular sound was more or less stabilised by Andy & Kouros more than a decade ago, but still today can we hear its influences in songs like Afshin’s cover-version of “Sekkeye Maah”!! An Andy-album would be less stronger without the POWER-POP-songs on it, and “Khosham Miaad” is here to prevent anything of the kind to happen!! I salute Tohid who also created its older and very similar-sounding and -entitled sibling “Yaadam Miaad”!!

Just when Andy & Kouros had reached the peak of their popularity and success as a duo, they decided to break-up!! And let me tell you that it became something of a NATIONAL TRAGEDY!! The fans (not only Iranians) were devastated, while the media announced the break-up repeatedly on the NEWS and prominent personalities commented and analysed the role that the Andy & Kouros-phenomenon have had in the life of the 2nd generation-Iranians and its impact on the future of Iranian music, in mass-media’s special reports and round-tables!! Today, 13 years after the historic separation I’ve still got the poster of their FINAL-TOUR (with them posing back to back, in their famous PIRATE-shirts and THUNDER striking down through their hands) glazed and hanging on my wall! Despite all the nasty rumours, Andy & Kouros have through these years repeatedly proved that the break-up was not caused by a personal “feud”!! And their second on-album reunion, “Dokhtar Bandari”, comes as yet another SOLID manifestation of the legendary duo’s artistic IMMORTALITY!! …who knows, perhaps we’ll witness a generation’s dream coming-true in a full-length-album-reunion amid their 20th anniversary in 2006?! …Dare we hope??!

Another name strongly linked to Andy’s is undoubtedly Farokh Ahi’s!! It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that Farokh Ahi has had an executive role in Andy & Kouros’ success, …and vice versa of course!! “Sahraayi” comes here as a lovely and very OLD-SCHOOL Ahi-production!! The name of the song’s eminent lyricist, the late Hedieh, indicates that this song might be even older than Andy’s solo-career!? This is one of the two songs featured in the OSCAR-nominated HOLLYWOOD motion picture “House of Sand and Fog”!! It should also be mentioned that this is not the only cinematic project that Andy has lately been involved in, he has also been playing an important part in the forthcoming EPIC-film about Omar Khayyam’s life!! …WOW Mr. Madadian!! I’m MORE THAN IMPRESSED, sir!!

The second song featured in “House of Sand and Fog” is “Salaame Aasheghoone”! Now the history of this particular Ahi-song is rather interesting, since it is has actually been covered by Andy!! The song was originally performed by the girl/boy-band HOBOB in the late 80s and not only that, but its instrumental version was also featured on the documentary part of Leila Forouhar’s “BAAZGASHT” video-collection!! Obviously and understandably is this a song very dear to Ahi!! Now, it’s up to each one to decide which version of the song she/he prefers best! But even though they both are equally lovely and even arranged by the same man, in my books the original-version almoooost prevails!! Solely because of its OLD-SCHOOL and slightly more colourful arrangements!!

“Sabad Sabad” is a GORGEOUS HI-NRG-fare in the best Andy-fashion!! Galloping beats and dazzling synths!! Reminiscent of the most autobiographic/personal Andy-album, “Bigharaar”, which I personally consider as Andy’s MAGNUM OPUS!! …His biggest MASTERPIECE yet!! It should be mentioned that while the Western CLUB-music has today found its solid place in the Iranian music, the pre-“Khodaaye Aasemoona” era was almost clean from anything of its kind!! The Iranian HI-NRG was grounded by Andy & Kouros and developed further by Andy in “Bigharaar”!! Another ENERGISING style, which an Andy-album would be incomplete without!! …did I mention that this song was GORGEOUS??!!

Next comes “Sarnevesht”, a film-music inspired LOVE-BALLAD with a futuristic undertone!! I absolutely LOVE its arrangements!! …very…VERY INNOVATIVE!!!

Paksima’s “Maryam Heidarzadeh”-inspired album “Yaraan”, featuring Pyruz, Hamid and of course Andy, came out a few years ago as a LOVELY but very ALTERNATIVE poetry/music offering!! One of the more commercially-potent songs from that album was Andy’s “Ghesseye Baaraan”!! The PLATINUM-version is almost identical to its original, but without Paksima’s sweet voice!! …This is one of the BEST BALLADS ever performed by Andy!!

The Andy-albums close traditionally with a REMIX!! But this is the FIRST time that Andy has included a –listen to this- up-beat TRANCE version of a slow BALLAD!! Of “Salaame Aasheghoone”!!! Now in the Western world of music, such 12” CLUB-REMIXes are normal…but in its Iranian counterpart, without alike!! WOW!! such an admirable sense for INNOVATION!! The result is highly IMPRESSIVE!!

What can I say, …PLATINUM was everything that I expected it to be!! …And even MORE!! Yet another MASTERPIECE by the man with the TOUCH OF GOLD!! If only the Alchemists knew his secret (*LOL*)!! Andy plays truly in a LEAGUE OF HIS OWN!! Time has proved that although Andy reigned supreme by Kouros’ side, and vice versa, his ultimate potential as an artist was first “unlocked”, when he became a solo-artist!! His “creative” wings became fully uncased and his RESTLESS “artistic” spirit unleashed on the INTERNATIONAL music scenes!! Andy is not only an ambitious INNOVATOR and a POPSTAR of international calibre and standards, but most important of all, he is a PROFESSIONAL artist, …majestically HUMBLE and with a flaw-less character and “spot-less” integrity!! I have NEVER heard anyone inside or outside the industry talking negatively about this man!! Not even a single “rumour” have reached me about his unethical and unprofessional actions and conducts towards his fellow artists or his fans!! He has been and still is the PERFECT role-model for any young music-fan and ambitious artist!! Instead of getting himself “entangled” in the destructive and vicious-circle of inter-artistic disputes, he has focused on his OWN goals and raced his OWN race to reach them!! He has worked hard, paid his dues and reached the STARDOM by being WHO HE IS!!

While it’s hard to find anyone involved in the music-industry who’d actually admit that she/he have had other IDOLS than Googoosh and Dariush (with all due respect for this living LEGENDS), I humbly and PROUDLY acknowledge ANDY as my cherished HERO and MAIN source of inspiration!! I am a living proof of the generation that those prominent personalities spoke of amid the break-up of Andy & Kouros, 13 years ago!! As a child growing up outside Iran, I was only listening to the Iranian music very “casually”!! While my PASSION laid elsewhere, in the Western world of music!! I was 12 years old when I purchased my first vinyl-record, and it was PET SHOP BOYS “It’s a Sin”-single!! And not before Andy & Kouros’s “Balla” did I even own an Iranian album!! Andy and Kouros came and “converted” me!! So profoundly that I started to retrace the Iranian POP-music back to its origins, while collecting everything that I could get my hands on!! Their music became the sound-track of my life!! Today, I am a Researcher in the Middle Eastern Studies and a Political Analyst specialised in the questions concerning IRAN!! While I also work with the Iranian Art and Literature on various levels and disciplines!! And I can honestly say that IF it wasn’t for these gentlemen and their music, I wouldn’t be doing what I do today!! …So THANK YOU guys, for EVERYTHING!!

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!