Perhaps one of the most anticipated releases of this 2015 in the World-Music scene is the latest album by Niyaz, titled “The Fourth Light”. Always bringing to light very well crafted albums, it was expected that their latest creation would live up to the depth and quality that is always found in their creations.
After a successful launch via their Pledge Music campaign, “The Fourth Light” definitely lives up to the high reputation of Niyaz’s excellent quality work, that feature middle-eastern themes and influences exquisitely married with electronica, a mix that has become a trademark of the Niyaz sound.
On this occasion, the main source of inspiration for “The Fourth Light” is the work of 8th Century Iraqi Sufi Mystic and poet, Rabia Al Basri (Rabi Al Adawiyya), whose poems inspired some of the lyrics of this album. A feminine-inspired and strong delivery for sure, which also marks the first time Azam Ali did the entire album’s beat-programming. In the words of Azam “it tied into the whole philosophy of the album, which is in many ways a very feminist album”*.
This latest album also differentiates itself, as the first one since the beginning of Niyaz’s musical history that does not feature the production of the double-grammy nominee Carmen Rizzo, who parted ways earlier on. Therefore, for the occasion on this fourth delivery, the task was fulfilled by Damian Taylor who co-produced the album along with Azam Ali and Loga Ramin Torkian.
The result as expected lives up to the well-know style featured in their previous releases, however it is noticeable since the early stages Of the album in tracks like “Sabza Ba Naz (The Triumph of Love)” and “Eyvallah Shahim ‘New Rendition’ (Truth)” that their music though remaining faithful to their signature style, aims to push and evolve their sound through an excellent and impeccable production of electonica beats, always graced by Ali’s soulful and enchanting vocals, that feature beautiful renditions of lyrics in Farsi, Dari, Urdu and Turkish, along with the impeccable skills of the talented multi-instrumentalist Loga Ramin Torkian that further delight the ears in gorgeous tracks such as “Man Haramam (I am a Sin)” and ”Khuda Bowad Yaret (Divine Companion)”.
“The Fourth Light” is definitely a must-have for Niyaz enthusiasts and world music fans alike. A fabulous album that beyond its soulful vocaks and exquisite beats, carries on a very unique feminine inspiration and message that definitely deserves to be heard.
Essential Tracks: Sabza Ba Naz (The Triumph of Love), Yek Nazar (A Single Glance), Aurat (Woman).
*Source: Wall Street Journal: http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2015/03/16/niyaz-honors-8th-century-mystic-on-feminist-album-the-fourth-light-exclusive/