archive review originally posted on the losing today site c.2005
There’s something unquestionably flawed and frail about this timid 8 track debut from Toronto based musician Barzin H that makes it such an enchanting experience and once heard in the presence of, suggests that it’s one of those releases that’ll leave you hugging the speakers of the hi-fi offering it a shoulder to cry upon.
How it stretches the emotions as it meanders with listless beauty has all the hallmarks of a spurned love cocooning themselves in the shade unable to face the daylight and frightened of another lonely night. ‘Barzin’ offers a tortured array of delicately sweet tasting ambling folk pop that recalls varying elements of Leonard Cohen, Galaxie 500, Red House Painters, Nick Drake and Timonium, there are no epic orchestrations or wavering moments of grandiose displays, instead ‘Barzin’ treads the path of heart break and in doing so the melodies that ebb forth are darkly framed in intimate sounding fragile states that are elegantly woven and deliriously beguiling.
Aided by the accompaniment of Brett Higgins, Sam Cino and Lewis Melville, Barzin’s compositions pay deliberate attention to the use of space almost as though it’s a hidden source of instrumentation, all the arrangements hang breathlessly together punctuated by crushing silences, temptingly coloured by solemn hushed vocals, brushed percussions and shyly offered acoustic chords. Despite it’s mournful textures, a courting gracefulness is present especially on the beautifully hopeful ‘Pale blue eyes’ and the closing epic sounding ‘Sleep’ with it’s sprawling slow core cinematic collages, partly reminiscent of the flourishing tapestries ventured by Set Fire to Flames and the lulling unfurling dramas as achieved by godspeed you black emperor, quite an experience to behold.
‘Cruel Sea’ with it’s brutally withering descending melodies and frozen atmospherics you feel has the perfect trembling dynamics that would make Robert Wyatt weep with joy. Best track is the opening tragic sounding ‘Past all concerns’ with it’s wave like undulating spirit, achingly desolate melodic shifts play an able support cast to a vocal that sounds like classic Dylan doing Dean Wareham impersonations all measured perfectly by the inclusion of Tamara Williamson’s drifting ghostly whispers. A delightfully sensitive debut to lavish an affectionate understanding ear to.