The main difference between a music group and a MUSIC COLLECTIVE, is that while a music group has a defined structure/anatomy and strictly regulated and limited membership, a “collective” is a more liberal and “flexible” ensemble that can assume many forms and constellations. With an open door for new and old members to walk in and out practically whenever it suits them. Time has come for the most famous of the few Iranian music collectives to present its youngest member! SANDY presents Azar “junior“! The son of Shahram Azar, THE founder of the popular and Germany-based collective has now joined the collective. Even though the hyper-active and comedian Shahram looks and acts more like an older brother to his son, rather than a father (that’s what I call a COOL DAD!!)! collaborating artists are Omid Amiri, Shahram Shahzeidi, Khashayar Azar, Behzad Pishro and Davood Basiri. The album is entitled “Tagh”, it holds 14 tracks (not all full-length songs) and is released on Caltex Records.
A JAZZY scatting “Moghadame” opens the album.
Followed by an upbeat fare with subtle JONOOBI influences. “Jaadeye Eshgh” is a declaration of love from a MAJNOON with a possible death-wish (*LOL*)! Reminds me of the “Aroose Aatash” movie!!
“Dar Bongahe Moaamelati” is a short comic play, as the intro to the next tune.
The satirical “Yaa Rahn Ya Ejaare” touches the difficulties and risks of having a real-state agent involved in your quest for a new home! This is a mid-tempo HIP-HOP flavoured song with uplifting TROPICAL/Caribbean species. A track heavily inspired by NELLY’s “Must be the Money”!! many of the older SANDY songs too have been based on, or influenced by other international HITS! Such as “Taarof” and “Pari”!
“Matalak” comes as clever fusion of PLANET ROCK-inspired beat and JONOOBI-influences! A song about the flirtation-techniques and “pick up lines” of the IROONI boyz and galz! “Q: Khanoom Bebakhshid, man shoma ro ghablan jaayi nadideam? A: Chera!! Bekhaatere hamine dige hichvaght oonja nemiram!!” (*LOL*)
“Tamaase Telefoni”, is not an intro, but rather a non-musical comic play about the RADIO-style of the LA-based Satellite-TV shows! And the remarkable exchange of senseless TAAROFs!
The old gramophone starts playing “Sara”! a mid-tempo and chilled out GRECO-POP fare with dream-like elements. The language, in which Shahram sings, is on the other hand not clear to me!?
“Video” is another short satirical play about the “making of the Iranian music videos”! Shahram and the gang criticise those artists who try to grab the audience’s attention by throwing in a couple of scantily clad and dancing LATINAS! That explains why we always see only a bunch of dancing gentleman and of course Shahram himself, in the SANDY videos! Despite them being mostly about dancing girls, “flirting” and “coquetry”! I must say that although I do not agree with the man (I personally have nothing against any scantily clad lady, from any nationality! As a matter of fact I can’t get enough of them! he he!!*LOL*), but I admire him for “practicing what he preaches“! And not being a hypocrite!
Now to one my absolute favourite songs on the album! “Shiva” is an NRG-etic fare with Mediterranean and LATIN influences imbedded in a semi EURO-Reggae setting! This song proves that behind the comic acts and hilarious facade, is a serious and romantic man with a solid and powerful masculine voice, who is able to create GREAT and energising love-songs! He has showed his face before, and I truly hope that he one day decides to create a complete collection full of NRG and LOVE-oriented ÜBER-HITS!!
The guys in SANDY zap through the “Television” channels while creating a (continental-) HIP-HOP tune with the TRADE MARK Azar-RAP.
The comic play “Laghab” brings up a critical phenomenon in our industry where it is the acts themselves or the companies who dub and choose “epic” and “over-the-top” descriptions for them! And not the people and the independent media, as it traditional in West! Hence we do no longer deal with kings and queens in our industry, but rather self-proclaimed GODS and GODDESSES of this and that!!
“Arous Posti” is as the title indicates a mid-tempo and critical satire about the “mail order brides” and semi-arranged intercontinental Iranian marriages!
The best result of a fusion on this particular album, is the gorgeous “Biyaa Biyaa”! a marriage between PROG. BANDARI and Electro-ARABESQUE! The references to HISHAM ABBAS’ HITS, and “Habibi Dah (Nari Narien)” in particular are obvious! This is one of the BEST hybrids that I’ve heard and the most progressive sound coming out of our industry lately!
Lil’ Koroush´s sweet childish performance in the short outro entitled “Kourosh Mikhanad” wraps up the album!
So where is “Halimeh” you may ask (the latest ultra-BANDARI creation from SANDY)?!! Well, as you might have noticed by now, this is the first SANDY album without even a single PURE BANDARI fare! I’m not sure about the reason why, but SANDY are allegedly to release that song along with an entire BANDARI ensemble in a forthcoming BACK-2-BACK packed BANADRI collection (I don’t know why, but I do sense a change of label to be on the way!)! So here is something for the disappointed ones to look forward to! Now let’s get back to “Tagh”! Shahram Azar is to me ONE OF THE BEST arrangers when it comes to the modern sound and versatility! The years in Germany, have given him inspiration and access to non-American material enough to distinguish himself as a man with his own “signature” and sense for HIT-arrangement! He was the man behind the EBI-revival back in the mid 90s, through his amazing LIVE-arrangements of the old EBI-HITS! Not to mention his touch of class in Afshin’s debut album! But strangely enough, not much of this “mature” sound tends to end up on his own albums!? Don’t know the reason why, but the man either considers them as too risky too include on own albums (since the people are expected to crave the comedian in him) or is that he personally prefers this particular brand of satirical music!? The short non-musical comic plays on this album, that may seem to be a bit out of place (since most of them are neither intros nor musical pieces) indicate the latter! Although the Iranians in Europe who have witnessed the late 80s/early 90s sound of the collective know that there is more to SANDY than the post 1995- and typecasted version!
I am not really sure which age groups are included in this particular target-group, but if you know SANDY or are a fan of their work, make sure to get this album! You KNOW what you gonna get!!
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!