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Zaman 8 Free download Sani

ZAMAN 8 isn’t just a part of Six Degrees’ “Emerging Artists Series” – in a sense, the group is a model for what this series of digital-only releases is about.  The San Francisco-based world-electronic duo, collaborating with Iranian-American sax master Hafez Modir, creates distinctive, genre-bending music that fits the digital world’s emphasis on immediacy and community.  But at a time when much of today’s global music scene is based on the pop model – built for speed and easily disposable – ZAMAN 8 draws on Persian and Indian classical traditions, jazz improvisation, African rhythms and modern dance grooves to create music that’s eclectic, likable, and built to last. 

“Much of what exists in our genre seems very momentary,” says Sanaz Ebriani, the duo’s Iranian-born singer and co-producer.  Along with her partner, guitarist/programmer Dan Newman, she wanted to find a Persian word that reflected the group’s desire to make something new out of music traditions that have endured for centuries.  “ZAMAN means time, duration, era,” she explains, “and the number 8 turned to its side is the infinity sign, so put time and infinity together and you get timelessness.”

ZAMAN 8’s digital-only releases are clearly a part of our time – dance music’s ongoing love affair with Indian percussion helps shape the song “Surya,” for example, and “Sukra” neatly mixes a jaunty Near Eastern rhythm on the hand drums with some highly processed drum programming.  But on top of that, the group deploys an unusual array of keyboard and guitar sounds, vocals, and Hafez Modir’s extraordinary solos.  “We do have strong influences coming from jazz,” says Dan Newman, “in particular the exploratory power of improvisation which we’re all deeply invested in.  We want our music to have that intensity of a great solo.” The three musicians often build each track around a moment of inspiration that occurs during their improvisations.  Newman likens it to hip hop, “where a track is built from the “break” – the highlight moment of a Parliament or James Brown track.” 

ZAMAN 8’s first two digital EP releases come from a larger project called Suryaghati – a Sanskrit word that means “sundial” – which was conceived as a collection of nine tracks, based on the nine heavenly bodies of ancient Hindu cosmology.  Suryaghati is a reflection of the constant motion of musical ideas across the globe – a musical sundial that tracks the shadows cast by African polyrhythms, hip-hop production, and the trance traditions of North Africa’s Gnawa people and the modern dance clubs. 

The inaugural tracks from ZAMAN 8 owe a lot to the Iranian-American sax player and composer Hafez Modir, who also plays the Middle Eastern ney flute, and has applied the techniques he learned on Arab and Asian reed instruments to the tenor sax.  The result is a sound that is impossible to pin down, either to a time or a place.  “The tone sometimes reminds me of a Hendrix solo,” says Dan Newman.  On both “Surya” and “Ketu,” Modir’s tenor sax wails like a North African oboe.  It’s a reflection of Modir’s concept of “Chromodal Discourse,” a musical process developed over years of study and which Ebriani says “allows the exchange of musical idioms without watering either down, or compromising the original music.” 

Instead of trying to fuse East and West, ZAMAN 8 follows the Chromodal Discourse model: “by looking at our particularities,” Modir explains, “those things that distinguish us from one another, by appreciating that, you’re able to appreciate large universalities that underline our humanity.”  Acknowledging that Persian, West African, Indian, and electronic music are all different traditions, ZAMAN 8 finds the common elements that let them create something original and organic. “Ketu,” for instance, seamlessly blends the mystical, breathy sound of the Sufi ney flute with the African thumb piano and Modir’s keening sax.  All of it flowing over some bass and percussion programming that leaves no doubt what century this music is from.  And “Sani” uses both live and programmed percussion and bass as the backing for some of Modir’s most surprising and perhaps most traditionally “jazzy” improvs, again using the ney and the tenor sax. 

Improvisation, which is common to American jazz and the traditions of Asia and Near East, is a key element in ZAMAN 8’s production, and both Dan Newman and Sanaz Ebriani have strong – if unusual – histories with jazz.  Dan Newman’s father is a part-time jazz musician who actually produced the underground film “Space Is the Place,” starring the late cosmic voyager/jazz legend known as Sun Ra.  Dan sees that as a pivotal influence on his 6-year old self: “I was often on set during filming, taking in the majesty of the Arkestra (Sun Ra’s band) and the cosmological aesthetics, concepts and vision of Sun Ra.”  In the 1990s, Newman studied Ghanaian drumming and jazz at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, where he met Hafez Modir, who became his mentor.  Sanaz Ebriani, born in Tehran to a surrealist-painter father and a mother who was a singer, grew up hearing everything from Persian-Jewish chant to Ray Charles.  She studied jazz through high school, college, and finally, in 2002, attended the San Francisco State University’s Jazz and World Vocals program, where her mentor was none other than Hafez Modir. 

It’s a small world, and as Six Degrees Records likes to remind us, everything in it is closer than you think.  Now, with the advent of digital releases, ZAMAN 8 hopes to be closer than ever to its audience.  “We are thrilled to be a part of Six Degrees’ turn towards digital,” Dan says.  “One thing is that it allows more flexible releasing patterns. So we might come up with a great track and suddenly there’s an opportunity for it to be released much quicker.”  And as Sanaz points out, “releasing music in smaller chunks seems to bring the feedback loop in much closer – so that as musicians we get to share what we do much faster and that keeps the inspiration at a high level.”

The evolution of ZAMAN 8 is already speeding up.  The next batch of songs will focus more on singing and songwriting, Dan Newman says. “The jazz element may be a bit less and the Middle Eastern and Brazil/West African element may come yet more to the fore. The ‘timeless’ goal and much of the process of production will be much the same.”  With their own world music radio website ( and wider exposure through the Emerging Artists Series, ZAMAN 8 is uniquely poised to leave a lasting impression in the here-today-gone-tomorrow world of digital music. 

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