(Art As Catharsis)
This has such diverse influences at work that it could easily have become like a dish with too many ingredients and no restraint in the spicing. Instead it casts a spell all its own. The opening title track is already attractive enough, but in no way prepares you for the profundity of what happens next, when the ensemble’s leader, Hamid Sadeghi, a Sydney-based Iranian, unleashes solo tar (a plectrum-played, fretted relation of the lute) of astonishing power and convulsive impact. This leads to a kind of denouement from Elsen Price’s solo, bowed double bass, as if to restore our equilibrium after all that has gone before.
Eishan Ensemble is completed by Pedram Layegh (classical guitar), Michael Avgenicos (reeds) and Adem Yilmaz (percussion). While improvisation is central to the band’s conception, it’s the quality of the Sadeghi’s compositions and the opulence of the ensemble sound as much as any soloing that makes the music so enthralling. Despite its bright, metallic sound, the tar has a singular ability to soothe one into a state of quiet rapture, so you emerge from its spell feeling that perhaps you can survive another day, after all.