Eddie Izzard claimed Europe could be “the biggest melting pot in the world!” It may fall under the boundaries of the Western hemisphere, but Europe’s unique geographical placement puts it in between America’s Western-ism run amok and the Eastern World’s distinct ways and cultures.

Europe is the gateway to the West for Middle-Eastern and Northern African refugees and asylum seekers. This influx of cultures has resulted in novel developments in literature, art and music, devoid of the USA’s incestuous all-American bloodline. And Soho Rezanejad’s debut LP Six Archetypes is breathing, pulsating proof of Europe’s idiosyncratic contributions to pop culture’s melting pot.

A melding of Berlin era Bowie, Carl Jung’s analytical psychology and Lady Gaga’s decadently western art-pop, Six Archetypes is a demanding, frosted listen. All the austere beauty of Bowie’s Warszawa from the iconic Low album is present across Six Archetypes’ fourteen tracks. If it were prose it would be John Williams’ Stoner: direct, inspired, passionate.

For to listen to Six Archetypes is to revel in Rezanejad’s passion. This is not a record designed to break the transatlantic pop charts. This was a labour of love, uncompromising and unapologetic. The misguided who deny electronic music’s passion would be forced to reconsider after listening to Six Archetypes’ attention-demanding, nigh on hour-long running time.

The passion reaches punk-rock levels of fury on Actor’s Monologue where Rezanejad’s venom-dripping introductory rant against gender comes across like Gaga’s opening speech on Born This Way, but free of a major label’s constraints. Free to be as furious at the 21st century as it deserves.

Many have noted that in an age where all the materials are readily available, there are very few using them to build Weapons Of Mass Construction. In Six Archetypes, Rezanejad has crafted a weapon with the power to unite civilisations.

Politics and business can’t do it. But creativity can. For while beliefs and business models vary wildly from culture to culture, emotions are universal. The common denominator between all colours and creeds.

Six Archetypes voices a rage that very few are ballsy enough to vocalise but many are feeling. This is no mere three-chord thrashing though, no re-hash of Nevermind The Bollocks or Funhouse is Six Archetypes. This is a compassionately constructed record rooted in dissatisfaction with the status quo.

From the culturally-ingrained gender roles Rezanejad rebels so admirably against on the aforementioned Actor’s Monologue to the music’s mutiny against the knuckle-dragging moronism of 21st century electronic pop music. All the materials are available: the technology, the history, the creativity, but only a handful are crafting their Weapons Of Mass Construction.

Soho Rezanejad has made such a weapon. On Six Archetypes’ closing track Elegie, she sings the Iranian national song recognised by the National Council of Resistance of Iran over a synthesiser accompaniment chilling in its sparseness. This is a move that very few artists would dare to make for fear of their livelihoods. But Rezanejad has a neck of purest brass and, as evidenced by this album’s mastery, the soul of a true artist: an asker of questions and demander of answers.

This justifies the lofty Kate Bush comparisons she has been receiving off the back of Six Archetypes. But the overall effect of the music suggests a past tag-team that never happened: if Bowie had produced a Nico album in Berlin.

Rezanejad’s singing is decidedly Nico-esque. The German chanteuse casts a shadow over all genres of alternative music because of her involvement with the seminal The Velvet Underground & Nico album. However, the vocal processing on her voice drags that analogy through a time warp to the present day. On opening track Pilot: The Guardian, her vocals glide through the pulsing synths, all but buried underneath their gleaming sheen.

It’s the sheen of the production on Six Archetypes that really invites the comparisons to Ms. Bush, circa Hounds Of Love. There are hints on later tracks such as Climbing On The Back Of The Impulsive Child of the operatics Bush made her name with. But our technological advances since Kate Bush’s heyday have brought these stylings into the present. Making them all the more thrilling.

‘Thrilling’ is a good word for Six Archetypes. It’s not a heavy metal adrenaline-rush thrill. Rather, this is the thrill of architecture.

The thrill of experiencing and enjoying new nuances and subtleties with each fresh listen. As if you visited the Notre Dame during the day then came back again at night. There’s nothing there that wasn’t present the first time. But now you’re seeing it in an entirely different way.

Six Archetypes is a record of perspectives. Specifically, the mixing of those perspectives in the great melting pot we call consciousness. It may be a definitely European sounding LP with traces of Rezanejad’s Middle-Eastern heritage present. But the fruits of creativity know no boundaries, be they societal, geographical or political. Soho Rezanejad’s debut album is thrilling the way only life in the 21st century can be: a crossbred mongrel. Beautiful in its uniqueness.

by James Fleming

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