A former Tehran-based Sunday Times correspondent walks into a bar. There is no joke to be made. It’s Cyrus Shahrad and he’s probably about to play you his latest spellbinding-LP, All The Troubled Hearts.
This is the Iranian/British writer and producer’s third project, creating music under the moniker Hiatus. If you haven’t come across his material before, you can expect to hear an eclectic mix of samples and steadily-evolving soundscapes. I haven’t felt the need to attend my Bikram Yoga class for three weeks now; All The Troubled Hearts offers more than enough spiritual cleansing… that and my instructor’s “Sorry to miss you” emails haven’t become passive-aggressive enough to make me feel bad yet.
The textures that have been created on this LP are particularly striking. Samples of Iranian music are interspersed atop mesmerising ambient waves, although the overall feel is often dictated by the percussion. Daudi Matsiko, featured on the LP’s title track, and Charlene Soraia, featured on Celestial, deliver vocal performances that compliment the production perfectly. There’s not a single feature that feels out of place and the LP retains an introspective quality throughout.
Thanks to the expertise of New York-based director and cinematographer Karim Kassem, you can view some engrossing cinematic visuals for standout track Father below.
I usually save crying for birthdays, but the following tracks temporarily turned my cold, black heart into a tethered, plump dove – one that must enjoy being plumb and tethered quite a bit, as it seemed to evoke feelings of elation inside of me that I had no choice but to expel through tears of joy.
A delicate repeating piano motif leads into soothing strings and udu-inspired percussion. Imagine you just bought the perfect mattress. Not only does it feel incredible, but the whole buying experience was a pleasure – the saleswoman wasn’t pushy and affectionately referred to you as ‘Ducky Lamb’. Plus it was reduced by 10%. That’s what Strays is like.
Rattling percussion combines with strings and ethereal choral samples. It’s like being at church. But one of these new-age churches with beer and no doors on the toilet cubicles. A pub.