Review Summary: Have I swam too far this time?
It’s not every day you hear an album with so many delicate orchestral touches. It’s what sets Syrian-born Azniv Korkejian apart from crowds of indie singer-songwriters. These aren’t just cute folk tunes with the strumming of a guitar; they’re fully realized, carefully conducted streams of consciousness. On “Solitary Daughter”, many of the lines are half-sung, half-spoken -- Leave me alone to the books and the radio snow,
she confesses -- but not without flowery orchestration weaving around her every utterance. The colorful melodies throughout recall a simpler time, reminiscent of those oldschool, hand-drawn Disney movies. This makes sense given Korkejian’s work as a music editor for film, and with the added touch of some additional musicians, it’s perhaps the smoothest sounding album of 2017 I missed up until this point.
Yet, despite some bright strings and flutes that would feel right at home in the intro of a retro Disney classic, the scenery of Bedouine
isn’t always roses and clear skies. Korkeijian has taken in the scenery through several corners of the world, not all of it pleasant. “Summer Cold” is deceptively tame; a furious protest song only held back by her gorgeous voice and sense of composure. Though it's not entirely abrasive, it has darker shades and tones than the rest of Bedouine
, both lyrically and musically. Even so, quoting user Lucid here – “it’s just warm and cozy, and goes down like chamomile tea.” I’m personally left convinced she could write about pretty much anything -- death, war, you name it -- and it’s still going to sound beautiful.
is an album that tells a story - each song a snippet of Korkejian’s experiences. “Dusty Eyes” is full of vibrant imagery from her life: the city, the city lights/the lampposts burn the night/but they don’t come close/to the way that I feel about you now.
On the other hand, “Back to You” paints a colorful contrast between her culture and Los Angeles – with busy horns in the later half replicating her move to the big city. What’s perhaps so magnetic about Bedouine
is you don’t feel like you’re on the outside looking in with this one, but rather, a vital part of the experience. From the beating heart of Saudi Arabia to the bustling night life of Los Angeles, this is likely as close as you’ll ever get to meeting Azniv Korkejian. What she’s crafted here is a breezy, personal portrait of her life through finely orchestrated folk tunes - and it's nothing short of a stunning debut.