Like the concept behind the album, Azam herself embodies this amalgamate nature. A singer, songwriter, producer, and sound sculptor, this transcontinental sonic architect crafts darkly alluring songs built around electronic textures and rhythms. Recalling the majestic tapestries of 90s-era 4AD Records (Dead Can Dance, This Mortal Coil, Cocteau Twins, The Pixies
) but with modern flourishes woven into its threads, Azam weaves electronic songs that are timeless in nature but retro-futuristic in construction. From the pulsating opening track and first single “Hope”
, dashes of electronic color (a la
Massive Attack and Portishead) envelop Azam’s velvety vocals. The aural gyrations of “The Twilight Sheds
” hearkens midnight dance floors at long-gone clubs like Limelight
, The Bank
, Club Scream.
“Ode To Melancholy
” imbues a sense of longing and sadness that is hard to shake, and the title track “Phantoms
” is an expansive and earthy downtempo contemplation, brimming with hesitant industrial percussion.
Her first album sung completely in English, the multicultural artist (born in Tehran, lived in India till she was four, and then came to America in 1985 after the Iranian revolution of 1979) studied music from a global perspective, soaking up the sounds and traditions from the Middle East, India, U.S., and Eastern Europe, among many other regions. “I have sung many songs in English over the years, but this is the first album I have sung entirely in English,” she explains. “I waited this long to do an entirely English album because I wanted to be sure that I was doing it for the right artistic reasons, and that the production would be on a par with those of my musical idols who have inspired me.”
Azam’s career began in the chart-topping and ground-breaking international world electronic/ acoustic group Niyaz. As a solo artist, Azam has received two Canadian JUNO Award nominations and one HMMA (Hollywood Music in Media Award) for her bold artistry. She has collaborated either in-studio or on stage with Serj Tankian of System of a Down, Peter Murphy of Bauhaus, The Crystal Method, Mickey Hart, among many others. She’s contributed to film and television soundtracks including Thor-The Dark World, Matrix- Revolutions, 300, The Fight Club, Dawn of the Dead, True Blood, Alias, The Agency, and Prison Break. And she is also a well-known musical force in the videogame world contributing to games like Uncharted 3, Call of Duty, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, and Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow for which she won “Best Original Song” at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards in 2007.