26/06/2024Hybrid Duo Esfand Releases Debut Album Of Traditional Iranian Sounds W/ Contemporary Club Appeal on 30M Records

Serendipity seems to have been at work in a chance meeting that was to become the forward-leaning Netherlands-based dance project Esfand. Comprised of two sound enthusiasts, the one hailing from Iran, the other from New Zealand, this sonorous duo has made a name for itself with its trademark "blend of traditional Iranian sounds and contemporary music," integrating hand-picked samples and including"vocal features by renowned Iranian artists" to create an "organic hybrid" of "ecstatic dance music" poised to jettison listeners into another dimension. Building on the success of their 2022-released debut EP "Hélé", Rouzbeh Esfand and Patrick Stewart just unleashed their debut longplayer on Hamburg's 30M Records.

Titled "Piltan", the album serves up eight club tracks exploring a diversity of rhythmic patterns and ancestral sounds, verging on the esoteric yet successfully eschewing the rightfully dreaded "crossover kitsch" verdict. And though some of the compositions might be judged as more overwhelming and less accessible than others, there is no denying their shared emotive power and "sophisticated production."  Having met at the conservatory in The Hague, the two producers quickly hit it off and – realizing they had a similar mindset and approach – got to work. "I'd love to say we had a plan. But there wasn't one," says Rouzbeh. "Esfand started as my master's thesis. We selected all the samples from a purely musical perspective." And Pat adds: "We’re not just about Techno. It's about feeling, groove and excitement."

Excitement it is, as "Piltan" embarks on "a sonic journey through a vast country full of cultural peculiarities: starting with the southern Zār rituals of the Persian Gulf, moving to the equestrian people of the Bakhtiari in the southwest, on to the Qashqai in the west and to the Kurds in northwestern Iran with their Dervish rituals." This potent pairing is less about overthinking it and more about going where the music will lead you, realising that letting go and "surrendering" yourself to the groove can be just as if not more rewarding than trying to remain in control at all cost.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom