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(33:09, ‘Salim World’)
TRACK LIST: 1. Human Encounter Prologue 1:30 2. Lustful Feast of Flesh 3:00 3. You Many One Devils 3:20 4. Lonesomeness 3:20 5. Sadistic Teacher 3:40 6. City Bombardment 2:55 7. For Eugene, Distilling the Delicacy 2:57 8. For Ali, Who Does Live Many Births Mercifully 1:28 9. For Kurt, The King Without Crown 1:01 10. For Thelonious and His 88 Holy Names 3:00 11. For Jeremy, Embodying the Mastermind 2:58 12. Unknown Red-Skirt Girl, Who Vanished Before My Eyes in 1995 4:00 SOLO PILOT: Salim Ghazi Saeedi – all instruments
Prolusion. Iranian composer and multi-instrumentalist Salim Ghazi SAEEDI first appeared a few years back as one of the core members of Arashk, a unit that issued four productions prior to entering a state of hiatus. Since then Salim has opted to go solo, and "Human Encounters" is his second production as a standalone artist, released one year after his debut "Iconophobic".
Analysis. Salim is an artist I've followed more or less closely in the last few years. Both as an artist and as a person, we've had a fair amount of communication going at various points in time. It's always intriguing to come across people with a depth in spirit and personality, and whose outlook on life is colored by a rather different background than your own. I've followed his artistic excursions with interest, from the initial days of Arashk as an instrumental progressive metal band, through the growing inclusion of folk music elements to his creations and now with his most recent disc "Human Encounter" his journey taking him into a rather different musical landscape. The metal part of his repertoire is toned down and out on this occasion, with just brief fleeting flirtations remaining, Salim opting for jazz as his style of choice this time around, taking on a relatively simplistic variety of jazz art, one where the acoustic bass and piano make out the core elements, with percussion catering for momentum and inserts of acoustic and electric guitar to flavor the proceedings, with occasional additions of digital strings for effect. But while the instrumentation is kind of basic the songs themselves are anything but effectively utilizing instrumental nuances and effects to color his journeys in subtly but distinctly different colors, providing time and space for occasional free form tinged and atonal effects adding a further dimension of interest to his creations. As this is a disc exploring emotional associations to memories and experiences, some of these pieces are bound to be of limited interest to outsiders. They are personal experiences given a personal musical guise after all, and some of them are bound to be cemented in a deeply personal understanding due to that. As is the case with the fragmented, haunting and desperate prolog and the brief, chaotic piece crafted in memory of Kurt Cobain, at least to this mind and this set of ears. But apart from those two instances I found myself both intrigued and occasionally mesmerized by Salim's jazz-oriented journeys and musical recollections. From the seedy cinematic jazz of Lustful Forest of Flesh to the ominous frantic pace of You Many One Devils and the more subtle, subdued terror I associated with Sadistic Teacher. As far as track names go, City Bombardment was the most puzzling for me, this composition one that made me think about an abandoned city and a state of desolation and fright as one might find just prior to the event that has given the composition its name. This disc has been divided into to halves, where the first 6 pieces make out the dark side and the following six the bright side. And while the former mostly stay put within a basic bass, piano and percussion jazz construction, the second half sports compositions with a wider variety of additional effects added to the proceedings. More often than not this is in the shape of wandering acoustic guitar, light in tone and with what I tend to describe as an eastern sound, a timbre and tonality I tend to associate with folk music from the Middle East and Asia, or, as I guess is the case here, Persia. And while the guitar, also on the few occasions where Salim opts to use electric guitar for soloing and riffs, adds a lighter and generally more positive sheen to the bright side of the disc, the songs themselves also tend to include darker undercurrents. And in the brief compositions dedicated to Ali Moini, these brooding elements actually dominate to such an extent that I'm left wondering under what circumstances Salim and Ali got to know each other, and how well (or not) life is with the latter. I could most likely elaborate further on each of the twelve pieces Salim has assembled into this disc. But I'll leave further associations and reflections to future listeners of this production. And this is an album that invites reflection and association, if that hasn't been established already. And while clocking in at just over thirty minutes only, I suspect most listeners will find that there's room for a great many thoughts and notions to appear within that time-span, and that a longer album perhaps might have been just a bit too much.
Conclusion. Salim Ghazi Saeedi's second solo production "Human Encounter" appears to be something of a paradigm shift for this artist, taking a sharp left turn away from art rock and progressive metal into the jazz universe. And documents how intriguing compositions can be when acoustic bass, piano and percussion are used in an efficient and fairly innovative manner, and how well suited eastern oriented acoustic guitar motifs are in supplementing this core foundation too I might add. A highly intriguing disc to my ears, but I suspect that one needs a prior interest in jazz or this artist to be swayed by its charms.
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