Album Review

Tabassian, Kiya / Martel, Pierre-Yves / Tabassian, Ziya – “Masafat : Montreal-Chelsea, 227km” – [Actuelle Records]

Thurston Hunger   3/22/2013   A Library, CD

2009 release from Quebec. The brothers Tabassian having journeyed
from Iran to meet up with Pierre-Yves Martel who plays the
Viola da Gamba. Both Kiya and Ziya were trained in Tehran on
classical Persian instruents, respectively the setar and percussion.
The setar is a lute, which Kiya can fly like a psych rock god
on, but for this he is set in acoustic-improv mode. He also
plays a shuranguiz at times, with bassier strings and evidently
violin as well. His brother, uses ancient instruments to get
exploratory improv sounds of plink, plunk and possibly some bowed
percussion. “Montreal” opens with notes pinched on the shuranguiz,
akin to an alap section of raga. Kiya solo and setting a mood
of contemplation. More muted and rattle and scrape sounds follow
on subsequent tracks. Iranian flavor as distant as the Farsi
title (“Masafat” means distance) yet still present (rising on
the “Hudson”).?? Kiya’s violin on “Casselman” sparks well off
Martel, and Ziya has great rolls of dry percussion on that lively
track. From that track on this CD seems evoke more passion,
“Ottawa” perhaps the most outwardly musical, with its sense
of a waiting room, and anticipation turning the door handle.
Great flurries from Kiya on that. Many pieces are short, but
inviting as can be. The fever setar on “Gatineau” and then
windy, ocarina-like whistles of “Chelsea” and then it is done.
Definitely want to hear more from all three, especially Kiya,
and actuelle in general. So much beauty in Iranian art, we
need to remove the political cobwebs on both sides to get
to the heart of what matters. Communication and creation!
This album is brimming with them both

-Thurston Hunger

Here’s a pretty cool clip of Kiya and his setar and his passion-provoker, dig it!


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