Montreal’s Discolor Blind Previews ‘Black and Grey’ from Debut EP ‘Long Vivid Dream’
If a musician’s creative output is intrinsically linked to the journey that brought them to that point then it is hardly surprising that Discolor Blind’s debut EP ‘Long Vivid Dream’ is a mercurial blend of flavours and genres. The journey taken by frontman Askhan Malayeri has been one that has taken him from his native Tehran to Cambridge and London and then across the Atlantic to Canada, where he established his own studio and began pulling together all of the ideas that would weave together as his first significant release.
This is as much a show case for Ashkan’s musical skills, from composition to lyric writing to multi-instrumentalism to production, as it is a suite of songs in its own right. This EP not only connects the dots of his musical learning, but also connects the flavours of the cultures he has lived in and the styles that have influenced him.
‘Long Vivid Dream’ was recorded in Montreal between April 2013 and October 2015. It features vocalist Alexis Nadeau, who Malayeri met through a mutual friend in September 2013. The EP also involves Grammy and Oscar-winning music producer Jeff Bass, best known for his long-term work with Eminem.
The first single from the EP is ‘Black and Grey’, a song shot through with the melancholia and angst that crept in from the cold Canadian winters he now found himself acclimatising to. But it also sums up the myriad textures found on the record, a mix of chilled and measured washes, which are used as platforms for more intricate sounds from raw guitars and plaintive pianos to pop beats and even sultry jazz grooves.
Building up the songs involved a long and dedicated process, where Askhan plays the core sounds across a variety of instruments and digital methods, many of which are then replaced by other players for the final recording, and vocals added above the tracks. He likened the process to “rebuilding a large cathedral brick by brick”.
Anyone listening to the five songs that make up this debut will see that the attention to detail is worth the effort as this generically shifting collection is not only difficult to categorise but may actually need new genres created to describe it. It takes in dreamy soundscapes, rock aggression, pop aware melodicism, progressive attitudes, sonorous gothic edges and quirky nu-jazz and everything in between, yet somehow maintains a cohesiveness, always sounding like a complimentary collection of songs rather than a scatter gun of musical ideas. Eclecticism, it would seem, is back on the menu.
Ashkan Malayeri – electric guitar, bass guitar, drum and synthesizer programming, lyrics