Iranian singer/songwriter/producer Azam Ali has announced her latest album, Phantoms, to be released on September 13 via Terresetrial Lane Productions. Phantoms sees Ali exploring concepts of spiritual humanism, “how we develop multidimensional selves, a series of personas if you will, that enable us to navigate in a multidimensional universe and how we learn to move between them very fluidly.” These ideas correlate with her multicultural approach to sound design and songwriting as she has been renowned for blending in the sounds and traditions of the Middle East, India, Eastern Europe, and the U.S.; Ali explains that while she has sung in English on various songs in the past, “I waited this long to do an entirely English album because I wanted to be sure that I was doing it for the right artistic reasons, and that the production would be on a par with those of my musical idols who have inspired me.” She also refers to the blend of ’80s and ’90s elements as being the result of “that period of my youth that I first became infatuated with technology and its immense power as both a destructive and creative tool.”
With a music video by Skyler Brown, the first single from Phantoms, “‘Hope’ is a poignant reflection on the grim social/political state of the world in which we are witnessing a global resurgence of nationalism and extremism.” In addition, the album features her rendition of Cocteau Twins’ “Shallow Then Halo,” with Simon Raymonde commenting that although the original song was written before his tenure with Cocteau Twins, “Azam Ali ticks all the boxes for me,” going on to call her interpretation of the track “Billiant music!” Having approached the track “not to cover the song per say, but to sing and produce it as if it were a part of me and my personal expression,” Ali comments that it was an attempt to “pay tribute to artists who had shown me the profound potential of music to reach sublime depths.” The album’s second single, the title track “Phantoms” will be released on July 12.
Phantoms was composed, recorded, and produced entirely by Azam Ali, and was mixed by Grammy nominated engineer Michael Patterson (Nine Inch Nails, The Social Network soundtrack, Atticus Ross). Also contributing to the album are Gabriel Ethier and Loga Ramin Torkian, both of whom Ali has worked with extensively in the band Niyaz, as well as cellist Leah Metzler (Panic! at the Disco), and film score composer/producer Tyler Bates (Marilyn Manson, John Wick, Guardians of the Galaxy).