Rostam // Half-Light

Written by J.M


Rostam // Half-Light

Release Date: September 15, 2017

Label: Nonesuch Records

Half-Light, the debut solo album of Rostam -- formerly of Vampire Weekend -- is a sweeping, ethereal journey through a landscape that is both familiar and other but consistently delightful.

An impressive musical and production feat, Rostam Batmanglij produced all of the tracks on Half-Light (a few with additional producers) and performed not only all of the vocals, but on various tracks also played: drums, harpsichord, acoustic and electric guitar, piano, string arrangement, bass, synth, and a horn arrangement, among other instruments. Other instruments featured throughout the album include cello, violin, choir vocals, tabla, saxophone, double bass, and more. 

The result is a modern symphony with orchestral and choral moments in a large-scale vocal work. Many tracks contain multiple movements, and each has an understated momentum that is empowering without being anthemic. 

Lyrically, Half-Light is just as gorgeous, ranging from the quirky wit that was common in Vampire Weekend to the thoughtful and introspective. One of the first tracks that is more vocally focused, "Bike Dream," features a fun, ear-catching chorus: "Two boys, one to kiss your neck / And one to bring you breakfast / Get you out of bed when / You're sore from the night before / From knocking on my door."

One of the final tracks, "Gwan," is more navel gazing and philosophical (but in an accessible, familiar way), proposing: "Do you ever get the sense / You're watching someone else? / Your face against the glass / Across 11th Ave / Some people say they know / They never really know / They all wait for something /That never comes to them."

However, it's the title track "Half-Light" that really captures the essence of the entire album right from the opening verse: "Somewhere in the half-light / I could feel it coming true / I know it and I knew it / But I did it just for you."

Half-Light by Rostam truly feels like something that has not been heard before. Complex, thought provoking, and undeniably beautiful, it's an album that everyone needs to get their hands on. 

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