Album: DIALOGUE by Parjam Parsi

Meredith Gasparian

The elusive pianist and composer Parjam Parsi, returns to our platform with a brand new “old” album. Dialogue, an album released way back in 2012 is a delightful collection of short pieces that asks more questions and sets more things in motion than most albums of this nature would dare. 

The brilliant Parjam Parsi is a composer and pianist whose organic compositions and fluid fingers make for sounds that could equally be described as delightful tunes or deep, rich pieces of art. On the surface, Dialogue offers more of the same Parjam Parsi magic. Short to medium-length compositions, warm, dramatic, and mostly unaccompanied piano, playing layered parts that set one melody against the other in delicate harmony. Counterpoint and syncopations are two elements, heavily relied upon in Parsi’s music, and they are most often featured with sublime fluidity and effortlessness that the complexity of the pieces gets pleasantly lost on most listeners, and what they are usually left with is a piano instrumental that compels and draws the attention, without ever sounding forceful or demanding. 

Dialogue is an open conversation, started by Parsi himself, that evokes South American poetry, poets, and the composer himself. The results are usually thought-provoking, introspective, and curious. The cyclic nature of the compositions, the seemingly lost meter, and floating melodies all propel this album forward, making the music sound like a tapestry of homogenous, but randomly splashed colors, like the browns and yellows of a forest floor, or the greens and deep blues of a flowing river, and such colorations, in turn, induce a near physical sense of motion in Parjam Parsi’s works. While most music of this nature resorts to a few memorable melodies per piece, Parjam’s music is unquestionably more dense, sophisticated, and curious.

The heavier-than-ever feature of some kind of bass instrument throughout this album does it a great service in terms of setting it apart from Parjam’s previous releases, which were for the most part piano-only. The bass parts of this release, be it an upright or any other bass instrument, are an essential part of the motion, and of the dialogue, the pieces aim to start. 

Parjam Parsi’s Dialogue was a more fulfilling listen than his 2 already brilliant previous releases, the melancholic ‘In Decadence and Disarray’, and the dreamlike ‘Immeasurable Distance’. Dialogue presents us with a more refined and confident Parjam Parsi, in total control of his narratives, both musical and conceptual. Dialogue is an album that’s greatly pleasant, equally when consumed at face value, or when in-depth and thought over its themes and ideas.