Niyaz is the meeting of three major artists—Azam Ali, the sublime vocalist of Vas; multi-instrumentalist Loga Ramin Torkian of Axiom of Choice; and producer/remix savant Carmen Rizzo.

Niyaz is the meeting of three major artists—Azam Ali, the sublime vocalist of Vas; multi-instrumentalist Loga Ramin Torkian of Axiom of Choice; and producer/remix savant Carmen Rizzo. The 10 songs on their self-titled project are based on Sufi mystical poetry. Ali sings in Farsi and Urdu, and the Farsi poems were taken from the work of the fabled Jalaluddin Rumi. Sufi poetry—and the contemporary music that draws on it—is known for its ecstatic quality, but the arrangements here have a greater sonic density than, say, the recordings of legendary Sufi vocalist Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and the emphasis is on groove rather than prolonged jams. The Niyaz vibe is an alluring combination of medieval Persian and Indian exoticism and beats that are state of the art. Ali's vocals are wholly evocative of another world and another time, which creates a wonderful tension with Torkian and Rizzo's inspired instrumental textures.—PVV

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