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Tigran Hamasyan - The Call Within

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The Call Within

Tigran Hamasyan

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The Call Within is pianist Tigran Hamasyan's fourth Nonesuch long-player, the follow-up to 2017's acclaimed solo outing An Ancient Observer. Performed with electric bassist Evan Marien and drummer Arthur Hnatek, the set's title conjures images of introspection, but that's a wide-ranging notion in the pianist's psychogeography. For him, this is a journey into his dreamlike inner world, where lifelong interests in maps from different eras, poetry, Armenian folk stories, astrology, geometry, ancient Armenian design, rock carvings, and cinematography all share inner terrain in an astonishing exploration of sound and composition. Unlike its predecessor, The Call Within is far from gentle meditations, though it too is profoundly spiritual. Hamasyan calls this music "electro-acoustic Armenian rock," and he's not far off, but he's as subject to its diverse musical forces as the listener. Opener "Levitation 21" commences with a gently repetitive chord pattern adorned by triple-time drumming and pulsing bass. The pianist counters with a knotty, syncopated head, and sings in droning wordless tones while sprinting across the upper register. "Our Film" features guest vocalist Areni Agbabian and cellist Artyum Manukyan (both longtime collaborators). It resembles an opening-credits theme, moving through episodic themes and motifs. Hamasyan grafts on loops, synths, and electronic drums, coloring the proceeding with warmth and humor for all the pyrotechnics. "Ara Resurrected" is its mirror image. Commencing with rolling synths and rim shots, Hamasyan then stridently engages progressive jazz with his grand piano in scalar improvisation in a dazzling sprint with the rhythm section. "Space of Your Existence" careens across time signatures and chromatic extensions as post-bop collides with prog. Hnatek signals each sea change with furious rim shots and clattering breaks. "Old Maps" is dreamlike thanks to the Varduhi Art School Children's Choir. The simple arrangement of this folksy composition is rendered transcendent by their presence. "Vortex" features guitar hero Tosin Abasi (Animals as Leaders) in a commanding fusion of djent-like prog metal to syncopated yet interlocking grooves that recalls U.K. with Allan Holdsworth. "37 Newlyweds" is as a tenderly conceived processional that draws on Armenian sacred music with moody, minor-key lyricism and modal interrogations. Hamasyan's chanted, multi-tracked vocals suggest the influence of Komitas, adorned by shimmering synths and delicate piano loops, and underscored unintrusively by the bassist and drummer. "New Maps" closes with staggered rhythms, cascading electronics, and resonant piano. The latter instrument riffs on the chord changes, adding dimension to the already incendiary dynamic. Hamasyan has made a record for the ages with The Call Within. It registers among his most musically sophisticated and expansive yet never forsakes listenability. Herbie Hancock once stated that Hamasyan was now his teacher. Evidenced by what is on display here, he wasn't engaging in hyperbole.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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The Call Within

Tigran Hamasyan

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1
Levitation 21
00:05:05

Nate Wood, Masterer - Robert Hurwitz, Executive Producer - Pete Min, Mixer - Tigran Hamasyan, Composer, Producer, Keyboards, Piano, Executive Producer, Writer, Whistle, Synthesizer, Voice, MainArtist, Electronic Drums - Arthur Hnatek, Drums - Evan Marien, Electric Bass

© 2020 Nonesuch Records Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside the United States. ℗ 2020 Nonesuch Records Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside the United States.

2
Our Film (feat. Areni Aghbabian and Artyom Manukyan)
00:05:13

Nate Wood, Masterer - Robert Hurwitz, Executive Producer - Tigran Hamasyan, Composer, Producer, Keyboards, Piano, Executive Producer, Writer, Whistle, Synthesizer, Voice, MainArtist, Electronic Drums - Artyom Manukyan, FeaturedArtist, Featured Cello - Arthur Hnatek, Drums - Evan Marien, Electric Bass - Mesrop Sarkisyan, Producer, Mixer - Areni Aghbabian, FeaturedArtist

© 2020 Nonesuch Records Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside the United States. ℗ 2020 Nonesuch Records Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside the United States.

3
Ara Resurrected
00:08:22

Nate Wood, Masterer - Robert Hurwitz, Executive Producer - Pete Min, Mixer - Tigran Hamasyan, Composer, Producer, Keyboards, Piano, Executive Producer, Writer, Whistle, Synthesizer, Voices, MainArtist, Electronic Drums - Arthur Hnatek, Drums - Evan Marien, Electric Bass

© 2020 Nonesuch Records Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside the United States. ℗ 2020 Nonesuch Records Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside the United States.

4
At a Post-Historic Seashore
00:01:39

Nate Wood, Masterer - Robert Hurwitz, Executive Producer - Pete Min, Mixer - Tigran Hamasyan, Composer, Producer, Keyboards, Piano, Executive Producer, Writer, Whistle, Synthesizer, Voices, MainArtist, Electronic Drums - Evan Marien, Electric Bass

© 2020 Nonesuch Records Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside the United States. ℗ 2020 Nonesuch Records Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside the United States.

5
Space of Your Existence
00:04:42

Nate Wood, Masterer - Robert Hurwitz, Executive Producer - Pete Min, Mixer - Tigran Hamasyan, Composer, Producer, Keyboards, Piano, Executive Producer, Writer, Whistle, Synthesizer, Voices, MainArtist, Electronic Drums - Arthur Hnatek, Drums - Evan Marien, Electric Bass

© 2020 Nonesuch Records Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside the United States. ℗ 2020 Nonesuch Records Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside the United States.

6
The Dream Voyager
00:05:05

Nate Wood, Masterer - Robert Hurwitz, Executive Producer - Pete Min, Mixer - Tigran Hamasyan, Composer, Producer, Keyboards, Piano, Executive Producer, Writer, Whistle, Synthesizer, Voices, MainArtist, Electronic Drums - Arthur Hnatek, Drums - Evan Marien, Electric Bass

© 2020 Nonesuch Records Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside the United States. ℗ 2020 Nonesuch Records Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside the United States.

7
Old Maps (feat. Varduhi Art School Children's Choir)
00:02:30

Nate Wood, Masterer - Robert Hurwitz, Executive Producer - Pete Min, Mixer - Tigran Hamasyan, Composer, Producer, Electric (sensonics) Drums, Keyboards, Piano, Executive Producer, Writer, Whistle, Synthesizer, Voices, MainArtist - Arthur Hnatek, Drums - Evan Marien, Electric Bass - Ruzanna Shahparonyan, Conductor - Varduhi Art School Children's Choir, FeaturedArtist, Children's Choir

© 2020 Nonesuch Records Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside the United States. ℗ 2020 Nonesuch Records Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside the United States.

8
Vortex (feat. Tosin Abasi)
00:05:19

Nate Wood, Masterer - Robert Hurwitz, Executive Producer - Pete Min, Mixer - Tigran Hamasyan, Composer, Producer, Keyboards, Piano, Executive Producer, Writer, Whistle, Synthesizer, Voices, MainArtist, Electronic Drums - Arthur Hnatek, Drums - Evan Marien, Electric Bass - Tosin Abasi, FeaturedArtist, Featured Guitar

© 2020 Nonesuch Records Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside the United States. ℗ 2020 Nonesuch Records Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside the United States.

9
37 Newlyweds
00:03:33

Steve Wood, Background Vocals - Nate Wood, Masterer - Robert Hurwitz, Executive Producer - Pete Min, Mixer - Tigran Hamasyan, Composer, Producer, Keyboards, Piano, Executive Producer, Writer, Whistle, Synthesizer, Voices, MainArtist, Electronic Drums - Evan Marien, Electric Bass

© 2020 Nonesuch Records Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside the United States. ℗ 2020 Nonesuch Records Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside the United States.

10
New Maps
00:06:17

Nate Wood, Masterer - Robert Hurwitz, Executive Producer - Pete Min, Mixer - Tigran Hamasyan, Composer, Producer, Electric (sensonics) Drums, Keyboards, Piano, Executive Producer, Writer, Whistle, Synthesizer, Voices, MainArtist - Arthur Hnatek, Drums - Evan Marien, Electric Bass

© 2020 Nonesuch Records Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside the United States. ℗ 2020 Nonesuch Records Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside the United States.

Album Description

The Call Within is pianist Tigran Hamasyan's fourth Nonesuch long-player, the follow-up to 2017's acclaimed solo outing An Ancient Observer. Performed with electric bassist Evan Marien and drummer Arthur Hnatek, the set's title conjures images of introspection, but that's a wide-ranging notion in the pianist's psychogeography. For him, this is a journey into his dreamlike inner world, where lifelong interests in maps from different eras, poetry, Armenian folk stories, astrology, geometry, ancient Armenian design, rock carvings, and cinematography all share inner terrain in an astonishing exploration of sound and composition. Unlike its predecessor, The Call Within is far from gentle meditations, though it too is profoundly spiritual. Hamasyan calls this music "electro-acoustic Armenian rock," and he's not far off, but he's as subject to its diverse musical forces as the listener. Opener "Levitation 21" commences with a gently repetitive chord pattern adorned by triple-time drumming and pulsing bass. The pianist counters with a knotty, syncopated head, and sings in droning wordless tones while sprinting across the upper register. "Our Film" features guest vocalist Areni Agbabian and cellist Artyum Manukyan (both longtime collaborators). It resembles an opening-credits theme, moving through episodic themes and motifs. Hamasyan grafts on loops, synths, and electronic drums, coloring the proceeding with warmth and humor for all the pyrotechnics. "Ara Resurrected" is its mirror image. Commencing with rolling synths and rim shots, Hamasyan then stridently engages progressive jazz with his grand piano in scalar improvisation in a dazzling sprint with the rhythm section. "Space of Your Existence" careens across time signatures and chromatic extensions as post-bop collides with prog. Hnatek signals each sea change with furious rim shots and clattering breaks. "Old Maps" is dreamlike thanks to the Varduhi Art School Children's Choir. The simple arrangement of this folksy composition is rendered transcendent by their presence. "Vortex" features guitar hero Tosin Abasi (Animals as Leaders) in a commanding fusion of djent-like prog metal to syncopated yet interlocking grooves that recalls U.K. with Allan Holdsworth. "37 Newlyweds" is as a tenderly conceived processional that draws on Armenian sacred music with moody, minor-key lyricism and modal interrogations. Hamasyan's chanted, multi-tracked vocals suggest the influence of Komitas, adorned by shimmering synths and delicate piano loops, and underscored unintrusively by the bassist and drummer. "New Maps" closes with staggered rhythms, cascading electronics, and resonant piano. The latter instrument riffs on the chord changes, adding dimension to the already incendiary dynamic. Hamasyan has made a record for the ages with The Call Within. It registers among his most musically sophisticated and expansive yet never forsakes listenability. Herbie Hancock once stated that Hamasyan was now his teacher. Evidenced by what is on display here, he wasn't engaging in hyperbole.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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