“Isfahan, 1993: at the age of fourteen, having played the tombak for eight years, I became very emotionally inspired by music. I used to wear headphones in order to listen to music all night long, until I feel asleep – unless my father came to remove them. In some of these beautiful, nocturnal moments I got goosebumps. I was present, and at the same time not, floating between being awake and dreaming. A feeling of completeness cradled me, creating a pure state of satisfaction.
As time went by, I realised that music was the reason why I believe in the Universe and its beauty. By living a life revolving around music, I wished for things to be free and without borders; borders do not exists unless we create and believe in them. That’s why I aimed to find an eternal rhythm. In the past twenty-five years, since I left Iran, many things kept me from finding this rhythm. My initial incentive for making music almost disappeared, dismissed only as an adolescent thought.
During one night in Vienna at the end of 2018, I was unable to fall asleep and instead watched the sky through a roof window. In that moment, I was suddenly able to deeply listen to all these memories, my home, my old headphones. I cried the same tears of joy. Finally, a phrase popped up in my head: “ritme jaavdanegi”, Farsi for “rhythm of eternity”. While tapping it on my body, I realised that the beautiful prosody of “Rit-me-Jaav-da-ne-gi” is an 11/8 rhythm which impersonates exactly what I was searching for. Every track on this album is based on this time signature, reaching out to different atmospheres.
Ritme Jaavdanegi is dedicated to my son Theo.”
Listed on Pitchfork’s list “The Best Experimental Albums of 2019”
“Ritme Jaavdanegi is superb.” (Juno Records)
“Scintillating, rootical and enthralling. Very warmly recommended.” (Hardwax)
“As if to hold two fingers up at both modern Western experimental music and computerised music altogether, each track on this LP is pure ancient futurism and a testament to the man’s immense stamina and elephant-hide palms.” (Bleep)
Focus on a minimal rhythm without variations. A rhythm emerges in a vibrant radius of accents. Impulses find their balance through gravitation. A pendulum of different tempi and intensities. The resonance of these movements: music.
“Cutting edge drumming & rhythm science with Persian master Mortazavi – Highly Recommended!” (Hardwax)
“Reza has a knack for turning something so simple into something dangerously hypnotic, and this EP has a propensity to lift you away onto a different planet thanks to the awesome power of the drum. Magnificent.” (Juno Records)
“Remarkably dextrous grooves (…) It’s an absolute pleasure to even attempt to follow and anticipate these flurries and inventive syncopations, which seem to cascade from the player in a complexity that sounds like more than two hands on the drum. In an important way, these are the kind of patterns and emotionally informed playing that a computer could never recreate, although we’d love to hear somebody giving it a crack.” (Boomkat)
“‘Focus’ is a collection of 5 hypnotic and meditative percussion tracks. Mortazavi is a master of Persian percussion instruments including the Tonbak and Daf. Recommended!” (Sounds of the Universe)
“Padre Himalaya’s third release counts with the Iran-born, Berlin-based, Mohammad Reza Mortazavi. An internationally acclaimed artist who, when it comes to play the traditional Persian instruments, Tonbak and Daf, can single-handedly build an orchestra of sounds that are just as illusionistic as shamanistic.” (Clone)
Focus on Soundcloud:
This album is a recording of Mortazavi’s live performance called “Transformation Acoustic”.
To cradle in music and forget about its presence. To dance and breathe in while lying down.
Listen to its own pulse underwater, as if one is almost born.
Drum sound rises on the air, its throb, my heart. A voice inside the beat says, “I know you’re tired, but come. This is the way.” Rūmī
TRANSFORMATION is a revolution from inside.
Listed in the Top 100 of the “World Music Charts Europe 2016”Order on Amazon
Shish-Hashtom (6/8) as a codex and music as a magnifier. Coming closer to a rhythm and realise its different universes. If I let go, new accents transform on their own within one pulse.
“My musical influence had been established during my childhood days in Isfahan. They were simple moments of daily life. Falling leaves on the sidewalks, sounds of waterflow of the Zayandehrud, bouncing balls in an empty room, speed of sunset in the horizon, spinning top in a moment of losing a balance … Among these phenomena I saw a common rhythm. Shish-Hashtom (6/8).”
“Sich auf ein Percussioninstrument und einen einzigen Takt zu reduzieren, und dabei die Türen eines musikalischen Universums weit zu öffnen – das ist die große Kunst des Mohammad Reza Mortazavi.” (Folker Magazine)
“Seine Hände pochen, trommeln, krabbeln, fliegen, streichen, schnipsen. Mohammad Reza Mortazavi ist einer der bekanntesten Musiker auf den klassischen persischen Instrumenten Tombak und Daf, deren Spielweise er revolutioniert hat.” (Anna Marie Goretzki – DLF Kultur)Order on Amazon
“We all live in a winding path of live. Sometimes there are crossroads or the street might be a dead end. We sometimes look back, or we wonder where the roads leads to. The more I search, the more I lose track … One day in Mumbai, I was walking in the streets full of colors; poverty and wealth, sorrow and joy. My mind suddenly found a subtle moment in the chaos. Through the crowd people, shimmering reflection of ocean came into my eyes. This moment triggered me toward the musical inspiration of my new album. It was clear where I had to go. I could only take one step one another. I decided to go Geradeaus (“straight ahead”).”
Mohammad Reza Mortazavi – Live at the Berlin Philharmonie DVD
This DVD presents the sold out live show of Mortazavi in March 2010 at the Berlin Philharmonie during his Green Hands release tour. It also contains interviews and a tutorial for tombak and daf.
Mortazavi describes the concert as a profound experience of his musical career. This DVD is a snapshot of an enthusiastic atmosphere between the audience and him.
Excerpts of the DVD appeared on Youtube and became well-known, inspiring the global music scene, as it visualizes Mortazavi’s progressive dimensions of polyphone drumming.Order on Amazon
Green Hands between the inside and the outside. They free themselves from old limits. An instrument narrates more then its tradition. What’s next? Letting go. A new phase of life. To relax and devote oneself to enthusiasm.Order on Amazon
Music is omnipresent. To listen and notice sound. In all things there’s melody and rhythm. The instruments tonbak and daf influenced Mortazavi since his childhood. His longing though wants to liberate music from him and the instrument. Music seems to be omnipresent. To listen and perceive sounds: in every thing there seems to be melody and rhythm.
“At the age of 15 I had a strange dream: I had turned into a drum. My head became the drumhead and my belly the resonating chamber; only my limbs were still human. I cavorted in an empty room and drummed on myself. I had become music. When I awoke, it seemed my entire body was melody and my soul rhythm. My relation to the tonbak has changed ever since. All of my compositions and techniques have their origins in that dream. Like Simurgh, the firebird, who transfers his healing powers from the realm of legend to reality, I extract my compositions from the dream world and project them onto the reality of my round drum.”Order on Amazon
Departure is an easeful interplay of Mortazavi lapping multiple tracks of tonbak and daf. Unlike his other recordings, compositions are based on a metronome. Wide orchestral drumming inviting to breath in and listen to the flow of clear water.
Pulse is the first solo album, which Mortazavi produced, since he moved to Germany. The eight pieces reflect his excitement towards art, in a personal turning point of his life between Europe and Iran. Most compositions take a long time, searching for new ways of expressions and consist of many erratic variations.
The release further opened his musical path. He got f.e. invited by Bayerischer Rundfunk, to present his music live on television and radio.Order on Amazon