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Zerzura - Parviz (EP Review)


21 June 2019

Omena Records

Album Rating 5 / 5

Live Potential 4 / 5

Solo Performances 4.5 / 5

Diversity in Songs 3.5 / 5

Favourite Songs 'Odalisque Au Fauteuil Noir' (track 2), 'Lunar Baedeker Odious Oasis' (track 4)

French-Persian producer and DJ Parviz has released the exquisite EP Zerzura, a fine blend and balance of jazz and house grooves that easily relaxes you throughout its spectacular journey.

Parviz (real name Alain Parviz-Soltani) has had a few releases and notably released the EP Alerte à Babylone with fellow French DJ Folamour on the FHUO label back in 2017, as he has clearly developed a taste for producing electronic music tinged with a jazz feel in any way possible. Both on his newest release and previous ones, his knack for adding complex instrumentation through saxophones, trumpets and keys offers a unique touch and multifaceted dimension as he can merge his own playing with samples seamlessly. On the basis of this EP alone, Parviz deserves more credit and wider recognition from both the jazz and house music worlds as he has created a masterpiece.

Released through the Stockholm label Omena Records – who have releases ranging from HNNY to Mella Dee to Laurence Guy – Parviz started work on Zerzura back in late 2017 as he wanted to create a quiet, late-night percussive jazz story inspired by the poetry of Mina Loy (Lunar Baedeker), Percy Bysshe Shelley (Ozymandias poems) and artist Henri Matisse's Odalisque paintings. This led him to think of the the mythical oasis of Zerzura in the Libyan desert sands west of the Nile, and he has created a soul-searching journey of romance and reverie to allow for our own introspection through his music.

The opening title track has some sensational trumpet and saxophone riffs which flutter around the bouncing rhythm, as this song triumphantly demonstrates his own playing amongst sampled music the best from the EP in an imaginative fashion. The peaceful harp-like sound at the start impeccably sets the tone for the other songs as the serene feeling of relaxation never ceases. This is emphasised by the feeling at the start of 'Odalisque Au Fauteuil Noir' (track 2) where you feel like you've just walked into Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, completely bedazzled by the surreal spectacle of such beauty. The keys have a soulful depth that compliment the atmospheric feeling created by the strings with the beautiful flute hovering over them. The percussion helps the song have that house feel as it builds up to the addition of the bass drum as Parviz takes out and brings in different layers in a well-structured way.

'Ozymandis & The Shrine Of Abu Simbel' (track 3) is the most upbeat song on the EP, with the comping jazz drums moving out the way to create a more thumping house sound with a driving hi-hat chick. Parviz still manages to create some impressive phrases on the sax and trumpet to maintain that jazz feel as the happier keys notes push the song along well. The last song 'Lunar Baedeker, Odious Oasis' (track 4) returns to the sombre, melancholy vibes as the glistening sax riff sustains a calming effect over the Rhodes keys. A feeling of almost excited nervousness is induced to the listener as the song encapsulates the jazz-house feel Parviz has made his own in a refreshing style.

Inspired by artists ranging from Yussef Lateef, Dorothy Ashby, Lloyd Miller, Wynton Kelly and Santana, Parviz states in his interview with the album cover artist Richard Eklund a quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's 1959 book Terre des hommes is what he believes the album represents: Deep in the seemingly empty Sahara, a secret drama is being played that stirs the passions of men”. He wants Zerzura to take you on a journey that evokes emotions which help you through moments of self-reflection, as that is more important than the point of arriving at a destination, just as the point of arriving at the mythical Zerzura will always be on the horizon. This way you can learn more about yourself, and Parviz has composed a wonderful piece of music that opens up this possibility for you in the medium of jazz and house music.



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