×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Music Review: Sevdaliza’s EP ‘The Calling’

Sevdaliza (real name: Sevda Alizadeh) is an Iranian-born, Dutch-based singer whose music is an ever-morphing combinations of European, Persian and electronic influences. It’s often described as “trip-hop” and while that holds true for the ricocheting beats and occasional quavering Portisheadian moods, it’s loaded with FKA Twig-ish elements as well as swooning string arrangements that recall Siouxsie & the Banshees circa “Dazzle” and especially “Homogenic”-era Bjork, who is also a profound influence on Sevdaliza’s elaborate videos and album artwork.

Indeed, her music often feels like (and often is) the soundtrack to a visual that amplifies the sense of displacement in the lyrics and the constantly shifting music. In one video, her disembodied face appears in various complicated chrome and diamond structures; in another she drops a long robe to reveal her female torso with a horse’s legs; recent concerts featured her accompanied by a contortionist. It evokes the ways her songs abruptly shift into incongruous sounds, pauses and sections that feel just barely connected to what came before; her versatile yet distinctive voice can flip from soothing to menacing in seconds.

Since 2012 she’s released a handful of EPs and several stray tracks on her SoundCloud page, but all of the elements truly coalesced with last year’s “Ison” album, which got rave reviews from the indie press and debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes electronic chart (impressive for a self-released album).

“The Calling,” a new seven-song EP, continues the album’s vibe while taking things even further out — a particularly beautiful moment occurs in the middle of “Energ1,” when a driving beat underpins an aching string quartet, then the beat starts to fracture as her voice, treated to sound ghost-like, floats in; in “Human Nature,” she’s one of the too-rare artists who uses autotune as an instrument in itself, warping the title and the phrase “touched by an angel” into weirder and weirder shapes. But then the EP ends with “Observer,” one of the most commercial-leaning songs she’s ever done, which combines a pulsating beat and beguiling melody into a song that almost recalls latter-day Sade’s more upbeat moments — its relative normal-ness is as disorienting as the odder tracks that precede it.

It all gets very high-concept at times — apparently there’s a solar concept tied to the project; she’s been dropping songs on the arrival of different phases of the moon — but while it commands the listener’s attention, it’s rarely jarring or unpleasant. A constantly shifting soundscape of strings, beats and voices, “The Calling” finds Sevdaliza morphing initially familiar sounds into ever-odder new shapes.

Music Review: Sevdaliza’s EP ‘The Calling’

More Music

  • Best Motown Songs of All Time:

    The 60 Greatest Motown Songs of All Time

    It is difficult to think of a more impossible task than attempting to rate the 60 all-time greatest Motown songs. Founded in 1959 by Berry Gordy, not only has the label — originally a small independent out of Detroit — spawned more classics in the 60 years since its launch than many corporate-giant-owned major record [...]

  • Kanye West Surprises at Kid Cudi

    Kanye West Joins Kid Cudi for Surprise Coachella Set

    After a lackluster weekend one performance, Kid Cudi brought out the big guns — or gun, singular — for his weekend two set. Everyone’s problematic fave Kanye West made a “surprise” appearance at the very start of Cudi’s closing Sahara tent set, riling up the crowd with an opening performance of “Father Stretch My Hands, [...]

  • Brandi Carlile61st Annual Grammy Awards, Show,

    Brandi Carlile Takes Dave Grohl Busking in Seattle (Watch)

    Not all the surprise collaborations happened at Coachella this weekend. Seattle’s foremost male and female musical exports, Brandi Carlile and Dave Grohl, teamed up for a mini-set Saturday afternoon in their hometown, setting up shop as buskers in front of the popular shopping site Pike Place Market. Unlike most of weekend 2 of Coachella, this [...]

  • FX's 'Snowfall' Panel TCA Winter Press

    John Singleton Hospitalized After Suffering Stroke

    UPDATED with statements from John Singleton’s family and FX Networks John Singleton, the Oscar nominated director and writer of “Boyz N’ the Hood,” has suffered a stroke. Sources confirm to Variety that Singleton checked himself into the hospital earlier this week after experiencing pain in his leg. The stroke has been characterized by doctors as [...]

  • Childish Gambino Concert Review

    Chance the Rapper Appears at Childish Gambino's Weekend Two Coachella Set

    Though Childish Gambino’s weekend two Coachella set didn’t vary too much from his electrifying first one, it did feature a new but familiar face. When Gambino popped backstage during a band feature, accompanied by the cameramen that made his set in part like watching a concert film on a massive screen, Grammy winning musician Chance [...]

  • Marketing Guru Sour Matt Brings Cannabis,

    A 4/20 Special: Sour Matt on Bringing Cannabis, Hip-Hop and Branding Together

    Sour Matt might be one of the most mysterious yet well-respected figures in the cannabis industry, as well as a growing force in the music business with which it intersects. With more than 100,000 followers on Instagram alone, he describes himself as “someone who likes to connect the dots, working with other creatives to build [...]

  • Jim Jarmusch in 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    Film Review: 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    “Carmine Street Guitars” is a one-of-a-kind documentary that exudes a gentle, homespun magic. It’s a no-fuss, 80-minute-long portrait of Rick Kelly, who builds and sells custom guitars out of a modest storefront on Carmine Street in New York’s Greenwich Village, and the film touches on obsessions that have been popping up, like fragrant weeds, in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content