Mahdyar - Seized LP
Mahdyar - "Seized" LP (Kowloon Records, 2018)
Mahdyar's ambitious first full-length offering 'Seized' rhythmically structures itself along the contours of middle eastern traditional music and hip-hop, weaving mournful complex sound collages that blur the line between its acoustic and digital sources. Frenetic compositions continually build, reshuffle, and take a new divergent path with each reset. The slow crawl of opener "Seize" begins to take form with each new measure, teeing up the listener for a sonic journey into unfamiliar territory. Trudging along like a ship in a sea of molten iron, "Seize" is a good example of Mahdyar's uncanny ability to give his composition's such strong visual qualities. The dirge "Money Money" is an imaginary score for an apocalyptic ancient world in a universe where money has succeeded in controlling everyone and everything. The album cycles through an array of themes and visual cues, often alluding to the horrors of war, greed, and intolerance. However, there are moments of odd beauty ("Glimmer Of" "Running From") that suggests that Mahdyar's realist vision isn't dystopian as it may seem but rather is one that recognizes conquering these challenges means taking the more uncertain routes.