Review: Negar Bouban and Salim Ghazi Saeedi “When There is More Beauty in the Contrary”

Negar Bouban and Salim Ghazi Saeedi “When There is More Beauty in the Contrary”

25 Jan, 2011 Matthew Forss

Negar Bouban’s PhD in art studies and Persian musical theory provides an academic understanding of classical and modern music.  Negar is a talented leader of improvisation of Iranian music and a gifted oud player.  Negar’s partner, Salim Ghazi Saeedi, is an Iranian guitarist and composer primarily into instrumental rock, jazz, and fusion styles.  When There Is More Beauty In The Contrary is also the title of the one and only track on the release.

“When There is More Beauty In The Contrary” might sound like a song that attempts to discuss the philosophy of aesthetics or phenomenology.  However, the nearly four-minute track is an instrumental song that connotes sounds of higher thinking that border on magnificent.  The song opens with a few moments of classical strings used sparingly in much the same way as in contemporary Western rock ballads.  Also, a drum kit provides the percussion.  Salim’s electric guitar playing moves to the central melody of the song before it fades into Negar’s oud playing.    The classical strings remain silent through Negar’s first oud playing display.  However, the sounds of the electric guitar make another appearance near the end of the song with some strings. The last few moments of the song end with the electric guitar and oud being played without additional instrumentation.

The song title proposes that beauty can be found in dissimilar situations or conditions.  In this case, the sounds of the oud and electric guitar attempt to combine traditionally dissimilar forces into one cohesive composition.  In the same manner, the historical significance of the oud and the electric guitar as a modern instrument of choice for most contemporary music worldwide does not create such a disturbing product.  Still, the electric guitar parts may be too wildly played for most listeners particularly interested in oud music.  Also, the song length may be a bit short to fully appreciate the unique interplay between the oud and guitar.  On the whole, anyone seeking a song with fusion elements representing modernity as it applies to the Middle East will find something to admire on “When There is More Beauty In The Contrary.”

Review by Matthew Forss
Rating: 3 Stars (out of 5)