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Atash | Everything is Music

album review by Tyler Harris

Atash | Everything is Music

To be honest, I was skeptical, at first, of this “world music” coming out of Austin, Texas. Typically Austin is known for its country and blues scene. I didn’t know what to expect from this new band that claimed to draw from Africa, Cuba, India, and the Middle East for inspiration.

The first track, “Mistereph,” draws the listener in almost immediately with a lively drumbeat followed by an enticing sitar riff. Mohammad Firoozi’s somber Persian vocals are distinctive to the band. The violin adds tempo and energy. The song shifts slowly from an African-influenced sound into an Indian/Latin combination, all the while with undertones of blues. Yes, all that in one song. This is a common theme throughout the album- there’s no one influence. It’s consistently inconsistent, and it keeps the sound interesting.

As someone who is drawn to fast-paced, powerful rhythms, I was totally able to get into a lot of these songs. I found myself tapping my feet to the tune with a definite desire to dance– repeatedly. “Baaraan (Rain),” for example, is a pointedly Middle Eastern-sounding combination of drums, hand-clapping, and violin. The song sounds almost like an anthem as the vocals and the instruments rise and fall in unison. It’s exhilarating, almost, and a lot of fun to listen to. Likewise, my personal favorite, “Sahara Spring”, managed to keep me engaged throughout all of its nine-plus minutes. Beginning with a lone violin for a solemn intro, the song becomes more suspenseful as more instruments chime in. It shifts back and forth between fast and heavy, intense, instrumentals, and slower, more echoing lulls.

The final track, “Eshq,” has an air of farewell right from the beginning. There’s twangy sadness to it as the song’s namesake is crooned throughout. The sound becomes richer over eight minutes, but it retains the melancholy tone it started with. A few final, solemn goodbye notes bring the album to a close.

In the end, Everything is Music managed to impress me despite my punk-rock-oriented tastes. Atash creates depth in their diversity. There’s something to like for everyone on this album, even if it may not be something to put on at parties. If nothing else, listen to Everything is Music to expand your horizons and feel worldly.

Bottom line: A variety of tempos and tones, but overall an interesting combination of somber Persian vocals and African, Indian, and Middle Eastern instrumentation.


 

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