"Prisma is a shared experience with itself. Music was and is what I learn from. With Prisma I have made the experience of being one with the many. The album was created in a challenging phase of life for me."
In Prisma, individual musical movements by Mortazavi combine into several tracks and finally into a circulating whole. It is Mortazavi's second multi-track album after Departure, which was released in 2003. In the musical experience of playing solo and in encounter with listeners, Mortazavi noticed that different levels of his perception want to find each other. Until now, he focused on one point, articulating this desire for complexity with his hands. The album that Mortazavi has now recorded in his studio can be understood as an attentive dialogue between listening to and playing music: in the process of creating the album, Mortazavi devoted himself to his musical longing with ever new ears in order to interweave sensitive ideas in a versatile way. Prisma is the first album on which Mortazavi sings and uses other instruments: from his child's toys, such as a bird whistle, a small marimba and a kalimba to his father's zither, to small cymbals and other sounding metal objects. In the process, Mortazavi also creates sounds with his mouth that remind us of playing a ney or a trumpet. He had previously only made his voice sound for projects with dance theaters or the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. The results are warm and versatile sound sculptures that create a musical intimacy, telling many things without searching for words.
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.
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.
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”
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).”
“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”).”
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.
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.”
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 invited by Bayerischer Rundfunk, to present his music live on television and radio.