Atash

Everything Is Music (Ars Mundi)

Texas Platters

The catch-all assignation of world music remains way too small to encompass a sound this big. Borrowing its title from a poem by 13th century Persian poet Rumi, Atash's third LP bears audible roots that span the continents. What makes the nine-person Austin ensemble's ambitious musicality truly transformative is its dedication to a deepening soulfulness through virtuosity. From Hindustani classicism to Iranian bandari music, Spanish flamenco, and French gypsy jazz, Atash never allows its idealistic hybrid to become facile or platitudinous. The complex, fast-paced percussive interplay that starts "Mistereph" serves notice that you're embarking on a journey, as a multitude of strings gives depth to the song's addictive refrain, and commanding vocalist Mohammad Firoozi soars off the scales toward the heavens in his native Farsi. That whirling energy grows more intense with every pass until a sudden breakdown triggers a jaw-dropping sitar solo from Indrajit Banerjee. Calculated in the best sense of the word, it's the stuff that raises lighters in a stadium rock setting. Tabla and hand claps drive "Baaraan (Rain)," a rich, hypnotic composition where violins yearn over droning sitar, and instrumentation aside, "Talangor (Flick!)" bears resemblance to Western pop in its verse/chorus construction before a cinematic climax for strings upends commonality. "Amshab" finds Christian Fernandez singing in French over a blues-infused, late-night vibe. Then Guinean balafon wizard Aboubacar Sylla dials "Sahara Spring" up to transcendent velocity. The vast array of Atash's charms on Everything Is Music achieves full flower on this nine-minute hoedown, leaving only breathlessness in its wake.

****

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Atash
Phases and Stages
Atash
Republic of Love (Record Review)

Belinda Acosta, Aug. 1, 2003

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Nagavalli
Immersion (Record Review)

Christina Garcia, Dec. 14, 2018

Sunday ACL Fest 2018 Record Reviews
Superfónicos
Suelta (Record Review)

Thomas Fawcett, Oct. 12, 2018

More by Greg Beets
Texas Platters
Fastball
All the Pain Money Can Buy 20th Anniversary Edition (Record Review)

Nov. 30, 2018

Texas Platters
Cherubs
Short of Popular (Record Review)

Oct. 26, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Atash

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle