Listening closely to Azita

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Azita
  • Azita
In this week's paper I wrote a preview for the impressive double bill of Azita and Meg Baird at the Hideout on Saturday evening. I hope it communicates my enthusiasm for both, especially Azita, who has made her finest piece of work in a career that's seen her steadily improve from album to album. I've spent several months absorbing the new Disturbing the Air, and I'm convinced that really the only way to fully appreciate it is to do so slowly and with effort. In fact, I thought twice about posting a track from the album here, because listening to music on a computer tends to discourage the necessary focus—the sound quality is usually inferior and people are usually multitasking. Azita's music demands your full attention.

There's something ineffable about the new record—on the surface it's a collection of moody piano ballads addressing a troubled relationship—but her lyrics are dense and untangle slowly, and her melodies are riddled with unexpected shapes and digressions. In every verse she teases out fresh variations and finds new intricacies in the chord progressions in every verse, so that it feels like the tunes are through-composed. It's an album that's proved hard for me to write about, but every time I hear it I admire it more. Below you can listen to her song "September," but you won't experience it fully unless you put down what you're doing, close your eyes, and really listen. And if you end up going to hear Azita play tomorrow night, do me (and the rest of the crowd) a favor. Keep your mouth shut when she plays and don't spend half your time taking shitty pictures with your phone (y'know, so you can prove you were there).

Azita, "September":

Below I've also posted a song from Baird's terrific new album, Seasons on Earth. Just because I've carried on mostly about Azita doesn't mean you shouldn't check out Baird's gentle music and treat it with just as much respect and care.

Meg Baird, "The Finder":

photo: Marzena Abrahamik

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