Barzin
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Barzin

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Band Alternative Americana

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"'Barzin' (S/T) review"

"This eponymous CD boasts ripe writing skills, delicate arrangements, and exquisite production. Barzin's songs originate from the melancholic indie rock of Low, with hints of the American neo-folk current -- the beautiful "Morning Doubts," with light acoustic guitar strumming and droplets of piano chords, is much closer to the spirit and sound of
"This is an undeniably great album — quiet, gentle and balanced, yet it engulfs the listener with a massive amount of positive radiation of sound, as if piped through the world's largest satellite dish ten feet away from you. It'll make the Geiger counter of good listening hit 11." - Exclaim!


"'My Life In Rooms' review"

The songs of Canadian songwriter Barzin Hosseini present an ideal marriage of alt-country and slow-paced soundscapes. His beautifully hypnotic music exudes heartfelt emotion, with lush instrumentation to match: Floating weightlessly, it recalls the work of Tindersticks or Red House Painters. And when it's over, it continues to linger in the air like a sepia-toned daydream.

Hosseini instills the rich landscape of "My Life in Rooms" with a serene sense of warmth. It functions as a wonderful mix of the mechanical and the organic, as a steady drum machine and languid pedal steel ring out side by side. An indifferent vibraphone chills the air, while melancholic strings weep quietly. Whispering amid such a stately orchestral arrangement, Hosseini sings, "You go to your books / I go to my rooms / Everything is so soft / when we are hiding out in these rooms." Barzin's chamber-pop sounds gentle without seeming precious, driven by introspection and good-natured intimacy. - NPR Song Of The Day


"'My Life In Rooms' review"

Canadian singer Barzin likes to take things real slow. His moody sound washes probably make him the polar musical opposite of The Ramones. There's much to admire, however, as he fuses spacey acoustica with sophisticated effects. As the title suggests, he probably ought to get out more - but this is a soothing triumph. (4/5) - The Sun (UK)


"'My Life In Rooms' review"

Slow, sad and haunting are the songs on Barzin's latest opus about the possibility of achieving a meaningful life that's dedicated to the arts. That he never comes to a concrete conclusion hardly matters when the music is as affecting as this. Lush, dreamy arrangements flourish alongside Barzin Hosseini's whispered vocals, never threatening to overpower them, just adding to the dramatic atmosphere. With Tony Dekker of Great Lake Swimmers and Suzanne Hancock in the fold, My Life In Rooms is a grand statement indeed, a soul-searching exercise in melancholic minimalism that offers new findings with every listen. Think Sparklehorse minus the heroin and Tindersticks minus the accent and you'll have an idea of where Barzin is coming from, but you'll need to experience My Life In Rooms first-hand to know where he's heading. A must. Critic's Pick (NNNN) - Now Toronto


"'Barzin' (S/T) review"

You could describe Toronto artist Barzin's music as slowcore, but the epithet doesn't really do justice to the depth and intelligence of his compositions. His thoughtful arrangements and gentle melodies often show shades of keening American country-rock and pensive British folk in addition to the morose downtempo indie rock suggested by the word "slowcore"; consequently Barzin's songs have a timelessness, a certain universality rarely found in music of this ilk. The same could be said of his lyrics; they're graceful, economical, and carefully considered, sometimes calling to mind the poetry of another somewhat better known Canadian songwriter named Leonard Cohen. - Epitonic


"'Barzin' (S/T) review"

"So melancholic, mournfully introspective and funereally paced is the debut from Barzin, it makes even Red House Painters sound giddy and hysterical. The Toronto singer-songwriter began his recording life as a soloist, but over the course of two albums and an EP has gathered around him a band, featuring players from Great Lake Swimmers, Polmo Polpo and (rather more surprisingly) Heavy Trash.

2003's 'Barzin' sets out the artist's slow-core/ambient Americana stall, a venture dedicated to moody minimalism, emotional understatement and divine quietude that ranks him alongside Mazzy Star, Film School and Labradford. (****) " - Uncut


""Notes To An Absent Lover" review"

"Mojo Americana Album of the Month

Barzin's follow up to 'My Life In Rooms' (2006)is in essence, a Canadian 'For Emma, Forever Ago' with strings - an intimate, chillingly beautiful reflection on a lost love and its aftermath. His voice, pitched somewhere between a breath and an echo, works perfectly with his poignant lyrics and sensitive melodies (well, all except for the angry and jarring 'Look What Love Has Turned Us Into'). The same can be said for the respectfully non-intrusive instrumentation, which includes vibes, banjo, clarinet, pedal steel and a string quartet. Here there is none of the previous album's sound experiments, just the simple grace of Low, the mournfulness of Red House Painters and a real sense of the author's humanity. A sense, too, of his songwriting skills, particularly o the memorable pop-Americana Soft Summer Girls, lovely Nobody Told Me, and the heart-rending Stayed Too Long In This Place. (****)"
- Mojo Magazine


""Notes To An Absent Lover" review"

Q Magazine (Notes To An Absent Lover)

"For anyone currently nursing a bruised or broken heart and fancying a good old self-indulgent mope, this third album from a shadowy Toronto-based singer-songwriter known only as Barzin makes the perfect sorrowful soundtrack. Slow, hushed and infinitely melancholic, it's a pitch-perfect study in lost love, both lyrically understated and impeccably arranged, with strings, vibraphone and pedal steel all being used sparingly to frame his closely mic'd vocals on the likes of Nobody Told Me, When It Falls Apart and an aching Soft Summer Girls'. Rarely does sorrow get to sound quite so entrancing or cathartic. (****)"

Peter Kane - Q Magazine


""Notes To an Absent Lover" review"

Barzin
Notes To An Absent Lover (Monotreme)
Carla Gillis

In an age when frenzied synth rock and buzz-saw techno are the names of the game, Barzin’s Notes To An Absent Lover is a welcome anomaly. The Toronto singer/songwriter’s third album finds him wading at a snail’s pace through the rising waters of lost love and its grief-saturated aftermath. In a soft alto with just a hint of vibrato, he sings candidly about his sadness, enhancing it with snare drum shuffling, mournful harmonica and subtle washes of pedal steel, piano and strings.


Recorded by Don Kerr and Jeremy Darby, the nine songs are melancholic, artfully sparse and heartbreaking in their vulnerability. Rarely is an album so wholly committed to a concept from start to finish, making Notes feel less like a meditation on loss than an active attempt by Barzin to get through it. A downer, to be sure, but a beautiful one.
- Now Magazine


""Notes To An Absent Lover" review"

Barzin
Notes To An Absent Lover
By Rachel Sanders

Emotionally ragged but musically flawless, Notes To An Absent Lover finds Toronto, ON singer-songwriter Barzin Hosseini drifting gently away from his slowcore tendencies. Leaving behind an atmospheric and effects-laden sound in favour of a more nakedly melodic songwriting style, Barzin's third album is a dreamy, elegant stunner of a folk pop release. The hazy lament of a pedal steel anchors many of the songs, giving them a tone of countrified heartbreak. Lush string arrangements, vibraphone and banjo contribute much to the warm, roots-y charm of the collection. Lyrically vulnerable and achingly confessional, the songs are marinated in the considerable emotion that accompanies the collapse of a relationship, each one describing a slightly different flavour of heartache, from regretful to bitter to plain old sad. There are goose bump-raising sonic elements on almost every track: the tremulous lead guitar line on "Tangled in Blue," the mournful cello of "The Dream Song," the thick emotion in Barzin's forlorn vocals on "Soft Summer Girls." Despite its overall restrained and melancholic tone, the album has enough range in tempo and style to keep it flowing without a single lull. This is a gorgeous and poignant album that should be entered into the canon of required post-break-up listening. - Exclaim Magazine


Discography

Notes To An Absent Lover (2009) Monotreme
My Life In Rooms CD LP (2006, Monotreme, Weewerk)
Songs For Hinah CD ep (2004, Hinah)
Barzin (S/T) CD album (2003, Where Are My Records, Ocean Music)

Photos

Bio

Toronto singer/songwriter Barzin began to write and perform as a solo act in 1995. By the time he recorded his first album, he was working with a revolving line-up of musicians, which has seen various members come and go over the course of 3 albums. Some of the contributors over the years have included Tony Dekker (Great Lake Swimmers), Sandro Perri (Polmo Polpo), Matt Verta-Ray (Heavy Trash), Mike Findlay, Nick Zubeck, Marshall Bureau and Darren Wall.

The first album, "Barzin", was self-released in 2003 in Canada, and caught the attention of the Canadian press, who praised its beautiful melancholic minimalism. The album was re-issued soon afterwards by Where Are My Records in North America and by Ocean Records in France, and was re-issued across Europe by Monotreme Records in 2007.

A second album, "My Life In Rooms" was released in 2006 on Monotreme Records worldwide. It was released in Canada by Weewerk Records. Barzin toured extensively in Europe in 2006, and also in North America, where the album found popularity among the blogging community. It made the elbo.ws top 10 list of most blogged about tracks 2 weeks running, with the track "Let's Go Driving" selected as the daily download track at Salon.com and also featured on villagevoice.com, along with "Just More Drugs".

The video for "Leaving Time", directed by French filmmaker Vincent Moon (The National, Jamie Liddell) was debuted on popular blogsite Stereogum and has been heavily downloaded and appeared in various "top videos of 2006" lists.

A cover of "Sad & Beautiful World" was included in the 2006 Sparklehorse tribute album on Slight Records.

A 5-track tour ep, "Just More Drugs" (2006) was released on Monotreme Records.

In summer 2008, Barzin went back into the studio to begin recording his 3rd full-length album, "Notes To An Absent Lover", a collection of songs about a relationship that has come to an end. He enlisted the help of recording engineer Darryl Neudorf (Neko Case, Sahah McLachlan, The New Pornographers, The Sadies), and Don Kerr (Ron Sexsmith, Rheostatics).

Notes To An Absent Lover was mixed by Chad Irschick at Inception Sound. The album was mastered by Joao Carvahlo (Holy Fuck, Death From Above 1979, Sloan, The Weakerthans), and for the vinyl version the lacquers were cut by Stan Ricker, who had cut the lacquers for Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon", as well as albums by Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, Ray Davies and many others.

The album features string arrangements by Karen Graves, who also arranges for Hayden, and guest vocals by Melissa McClelland.

The album has been receiving praise from major publications such as Uncut, Q, Billboard, and many more. Mojo magazine selected it as their Americana
album of the month.