Music

Electro-Worldbeat's Azam Ali Shares Mesmering Video for "Phantoms" Ahead of New LP (premiere)

Photo: Tas Limur / Reybee

Electro/worldbeat singer, songwriter, producer Azam Ali steps out of Niyaz for a solo turn to pay tribute to '80s synthpop heroes on "Phantoms".

Iranian-American Azam Ali is a true musical polymath. Possessing the gifts of a stellar voice, top-notch songwriting, superb performance skills, and sublime production skills, Ali has constantly impressed throughout her career as both a solo artist and the driving force of acclaimed worldbeat outfit Niyaz. Ali's music has been steadily moving towards electropop, and she's fully arrived there on her new album Phantoms. The album pays tribute to her 1980s synthpop inspirations while keeping her hazy, Persian worldbeat as a unique influencer, and it also honors the more contemporary trip hop of acts like Massive Attack.

Notably, Ali created her new album entirely by herself: writing all the songs, programming every element, singing, and producing the record. Men may dominate electronic music at the moment, but lots of women are staking their claims as electronic auteurs these days, including Jlin, Holly Herndon, Elysia Crampton, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Fever Ray, and Ellen Allien. Ali joins those women in moving electronic music forward toward gender parity.

On her latest single, the title track "Phantoms", Ali goes in for a spot of mellow minimalism, keeping the beats gentle while her languid voice spreads across them in comforting, but slightly melancholy, waves.

Ali tells PopMatters that "the album is is about how we develop multidimensional selves that enable us to navigate in a multidimensional universe, and how we learn to move between them very fluidly. Over time, these personas become like ghosts that live within us. I chose this as the title track for the album because when it was completed I felt a sense of transformation and ultimately reconciliation with the phantoms that live within me. The video [for "Phantoms"] was directed by Tas Limur an incredible musician and visual artist."

Azam Ali's Phantoms releases on 13 September via Terrestrial Lane Productions.

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