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Kourosh Yaghmaei - Back From The Brink [Now Again Records - 2011]

Kourosh Yaghmaei, in a perfect world, should be a name that’s already known.  His story is one that is one part bittersweet and another triumphant.  His background is as a Persian musician, late 60’s early 70’s Rock and Psychedelic influenced, incorporating traditional Persian scales and composition to his works; he introduced Rock/Pop music to Iran. 

On his first recording “Gole Yakh”, he based the music on a classmates (Iranian poet Mahdi Akhavan Langeroudi) poem.  The song received international attention, further translated to different languages and giving Kourosh a reputation as a gifted guitarist and composer.  This was before the fall of Tehran.  After 1979 Kouroshs voice would be silenced.  As he was banned from performing any of his earlier work, Kourosh stayed in his beloved homeland and turned his creativity to publishing childrens books. While fans thought the recordings had perished, Yaghmaei had actually preserved the original recordings and photographs.  After 32 years Now Again Records was able to share his music with the world.

Back From The Brink presents us with 30 of Koursoshs’ compositions. The first aspect that resonant with the listener is nostalgia.  The songs are engaging, but there is a hint of early70’s guitar rock in all its finery.  There is a haunting wistfulness that surrounds each song.  The guitar playing leaps from simplistic to stirring.  Swirling organs paint a psychedelic picture punctuated by solid rock drumming.  Yet within this Kourosh adds intricate Persian scales and melodies, changing a rock song into a combination of Iranian culture and Western modern music.

Do some of the songs sound a bit dated?  Of course, but those are few and far between.  What we are left with is fantastic guitar playing (on par with Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and David Gilmour), emotional harmonies and lyrical vocals.  Even in his later recordings, when a slight funky sound permeates, the music is still powerful.

At times do we wonder what could have been?  It’s a natural human characteristic to do so.  We can be angry or mourn that such a talented artist had to wait so long for the world to hear and be entranced by his music.  Or we can take comfort that time reveals all.  Once music is played live or released officially or unofficially it is beyond anyone’s control to erase the memory of it from the listeners mind.

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

Viktorya Kaufholz
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