11 December 2008

No one thinks of the flowers...except Azam Ali

CD REVIEW
Azam Ali, Keyavash Nourai, & Shahrokh Yadegari - Green Memories

(LilaSound)

Azam Ali is undoubtedly the big-name musician on this album. But if you approach it expecting something like her work with Vas or Niyaz, you'll be wrong. Sort of. Green Memories is billed as a "structured improvisation work by Shahrokh Yadegari," who plays the Lila, "a computer music instrument which allows the performer to process and manipulate live acoustic material in real-time. And in content, Yadegari describes the work as "a sad yet hopeful meditation on our natural and mental ecology."Azam Ali, Keyavash Nourai, & Shahrokh Yadegari - Green Memories - on SoundRoots.org

“I wanted the piece to be the voice of the earth,” Yadegari explains. “And this is why the piece sometimes sounds ambient. Recent ecological changes are messages to us from the earth. We may be a little too late but… I think right now we really better listen.”

The whole project was inspired by the poetry of Forough Farrokhzad. You may not have heard of her, and even a knowledge of Persian won't help you understand the vocals, since Ali sings in sounds, not words (with one exception) -- as she does in her work with Vas. If you, like I, find it a but puzzling that musicians would pay tribute to a poet without actually giving voice to her poems, one listen will convince you that this is poetic music -- emotional, transcendental, and open to interpretation. It demands even more patience and focus than another recently released Persian album, I Am Eve by Mahsa & Marjan Vahdat. The rewards for your attention are rich. Layers of sound drift like seeds on the wind, patterns form and dissipate, and only on the final track is this sublime album's message finally given words, taken from a translation of the Farrokhzad poem "I Pity the Garden":

No one thinks of the flowers
No one thinks of the fish
No one wants to believe
that the garden is dying...
audio samples
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