[31 May 2007]
As commodifiable notions of a global village give way to new conceptions of the world as a planet, duos such as Zaman 8 collaborate with other artists to create what they call “interplanetary conversations”. You will find no pandering to rigid codifications of world music here, but rather, an original and highly innovative musical expression of international cooperation. Zaman 8 consists of native San Franciscan and multi-instrumentalist Dan Newman and vocalist Sanaz Ebriani, who identifies as part of the Iranian diaspora in the United States. With jazz saxophonist Hafez Modir, they are helping to cultivate a world electronic aesthetic that conveys the character and significance of diverse musical traditions ranging from the Andalucian to underground hip-hop.
The second half of Zaman 8 and Hafez Modir’s digital album Suryaghati (“sundial” in Sanskrit) deftly combines jazz with Afro-Brazilian percussion, Afrobeat, Afro-Persian, Gnawa and South-Asian musical influences to narrate the inescapable similarities and variations between and among different forms of indigenous roots music. The result is an electronic fusion capable of moving world music beyond a global market of culturally othered goods and toward the cultivation of a planet open to a wide variety of sounds. As difficult to place as it is to sit still while listening to it, EP 2 speaks volumes about the new mobilities generated by the dispersion of peoples throughout the world. Newman’s and Ebriani’s chosen name already evokes the ways in which they bring together past, present and future expressions. “Zaman” means “time” in Farsi and Arabic, and the number 8 is a sign for infinity.
Suryaghati EP 2‘s tracks poetically propel the story forward while never losing sight of where it has been. Though Zaman 8 and Hafez Modir’s eclectic version of the global crossroads remains susceptible to the negative effects of globalization, their disc reminds us of the necessarily hybrid articulations of the diaspora. EP 2 might disappoint those looking for aesthetically pleasing souvenirs, but its groovy yet sedate mix of diverse, international styles is bound to please the “planeterized” listener.