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The Gerewiyot EP is Rostami’s follow up to the Czarat EP released late last year on Spring Theory. With this release, Rostami presents four tracks that hover around a central theme yet are eclectic enough to cover all four corner’s of that square. The album’s artwork is influenced by Iranian Satellite TV created in the US which was often playing in the background during Rostami’s formative years. “Gerewiyot” is a combination of “Gerewol,” the Wodaabe courtship ritual centered around men dressed in flamboyant ornamentation, familiar to most who have picked up a National Geographic and “Wiyot,” a Native Californian Tribe unknown to many and nearly wiped out in the 19th century due to attempted genocide by foreign occupiers. The amalgamation of these two words is a not so subtle way to point out what we choose to know about “The Other,” both foreign and domestic.
The title track soaks in and drips with a mess of cross-cultural influences. Filtered high hats start the song and are shortly followed by crying horns and swelling strings, originally influenced by a Hani crying song from Southern China. The percussion builds, referencing the music of the African diaspora with sampled Jazz drums and a solid off-centered pattern. Synthesizer arpeggios sprout and synth lines flow creating a solid backbone of British and American electronica and climax in solos informed by New Age Chinese music and Jazz while also referencing what the West is quick to call “Asian.” The song dies slowly with howling distant vocals.
“Muscan” was recorded in 2011 and with the attention to detail in all its cut-ups, bleeps and boops, it is apt for fans of Rostami’s release “Form” on Audiobulb. Titled after a friend’s nickname acquired while living in India, the track samples music from old Iranian films and Albanian isopolyphonic choirs. The build is slow, the low end is prominent and the energy is haunting. “Ugandhi,” facetiously named by mixing “Mahatma Gandhi” and “Uganda,” (a country on a continent Gandhi was never fond of) plays to Rostami’s minimalist side. Influenced by solo singers, prominent and striking UK beats and video game compositions, this track is haunting enough for a bedroom listen yet vibrant enough for a dance floor mix. The album closes with a remix of the unreleased track, “Nostradaminica” remixed by Danish producer Odd Shapes. Bells, beats, twiddling stringed instruments and vocals ride the ups and downs of this track playing to an experimental side of musical progression while still acknowledging Odd Shapes’ more beat driven productions. Odd Shapes’ most recent release is available on Soun Records.
REVIEWS of GEREWIYOT
The names of the songs on the release hint at this culture clash. Opener “Czarat” is a fusion of the Russian word “Czar” and the ancient Persian god “Zarathustra.” Rostami refers to this as a “cultural mishmash” and ultimately the names are a nonsense words, creating something new from familiar ideas. The song stands as a reference to the melting pot of disparate sounds within: Motorik Krautrock and North African rhythmic pulsations, Arab synth solos, Chicago acid lines, and Japanese riffing results in an overarching East meets West sensibility, gelling together to create something novel from a chaotic, contemporary trans-cultural communication. And while seemingly heady in its references, hidden beneath its surface is a banging house music core that positions the track well for those moments when the spotlights cut out and the strobes kick in.
Or, for less intense moments, LA’s Secret Circuit takes Rostami’s original and re-interprets it as sunny Balearica, with warm acoustic guitars and delay washes that make for a round, mellow feeling that keeps the energy laidback, sleek, and sexy — like a tripped-out renegade party on some forgotten beach along California’s Pacific Coast Highway.
Finally, “Vietnamoses” rounds things out. A completely different direction, it reveals aspects of Rostami’s more experimental side, with a downtempo feeling inspired by (but, we stress, not evocative of) dub-techno juxtaposed with less overt influences from music around the world with it’s twangs and drones. Space is the key here — his whipping drum patterns lull a hypnotic trance beneath massive walls of metallic echo and delay and a heightened focus on transition (one of Rostami’s favorite themes) allows the song to grow in unexpected ways.
Purchase Digital BandCamp
Purchase Vinyl Piccadilly Records (UK)
Red Eye Records (UK)
Chez Emile Records (FR)
Free Style Online (JP)
Jet Set (JP) plus review
Light House Records (JP) plus review
Technique (JP) plus review
Pigeon Records (JP) plus review
REVIEWS of CZARAT
Resident Advisor (JP)
Beat Burguer (SP)
DECADES/PETER – Crash Symbols (2013)
Decades/Peter collects two related sets of recordings, two dynamic concepts that play off of one another, though Rostami’s work is normally highly narrative based thanks to his cinematic and literary influences. Peter is an aural distallation of his relationship with a former collaborator, written in his memory, and meant to encompass both his and the composer’s identity, as well as their intersection. Peter represents a more open ended collection of songs, particularly tinted by Rostami’s childhood love of video games. Decades was made as its deliberate antithesis. According to him, whereas Peter ‘croons with vocals and strings,’ Decades ‘grinds and falls apart in lush ambiance and static,’ though the thread of Rostami’s identity runs throughout. Together, they serve as a compelling introduction to the producer’s burgeoning body of work and conceptual repertoire.
REVIEWS of DECADES/PETER
“Peter” was written and recorded in memory of my best friend, Shawn. He was the other half of the music project, feie. We had a very abnormal relationship, probably in the same way that most best friends do. “Peter” is my way of trying to explain that relationship. The album is also influenced by videogames I played in my childhood. I hoped to combine a few distinct ideas and feelings I’ve had throughout my life and simplify them into one coherent sound. It is free for download (check above for link.)
REVIEWS of PETER
Reissued on Audiobulb in 2013
Uniform is a “remix album” and a follow up to my debut album Form. Form was about the deconstruction of sound while Uniform is about the reconstruction of it. Although the album contains only three proper remixes, the five new original tracks were guided by the spirit of a remix album. The songs were put together mostly by constructing field recordings, randomly recorded piano parts, and so on to create source material and then combined afterword to create songs. The new tracks were created to have some parallelism with the remixes. Uniform discovers the differences within similarities. Uniformity is nothing more than an idea; a force that turns and breaks from human lens to human lens.
REVIEWS of UNIFORM
Reissued on Audiobulb in 2013
Form was recorded in the Winter of 2010/2011 and marks that very specific time in my life. I started recording Form after my project, feie, went on hiatus and for all I know may never exist again. This work reflects my understanding and appreciation for all things coming to an end. The album starts off kicking and screaming and slowly unwinds from then on. Sounds burst out like living organisms, somewhat imperfect and random and then fall apart by refolding into themselves. It carries a bittersweet sentiment, a dying organism so to speak. It is a desperate attempt to latch onto form, but losing it all to the elements. The sound is unstable and fragile. The low ends hold power over everything. It is a battle between what an individual pursues and the overwhelming power of nature. The last song on the album is infinitely loop-able; an old memory as it plays forever.
REVIEWS of FORM