The Toronto based composer, Kambiz Mirzaei, has navigated between two musical cultures: from authentic transcendental Middle Eastern melodies to North American flavored ambient, electronic and orchestral arrangements. His collaboration with Jamshid Andalibi in 1999 initiated an alternative approach to traditional use of the folk instrument, Ney, in modern compositions. If you’re looking for an instrumental record that explores cross-culture electronic and ambient themes cohesively, look no further than the album – “The Lost Ambient” by Kambiz Mirzaei. I am astounded that Mirzaei isn’t talked about more often, because there is so much innovation in his compositions and production that it’s just strange to me that so few have heard of him.
Nevertheless, this record’s sound is that of an electronic artist giving true organic characteristics to digital instruments, infusing them with potent imagery and emotion. There’s engaging instrumental hooks that use alluring melodies in clever ways. There are rich harmonic layers that transport you to exotic cinematic visions.
There’s always new musical ideas and themes fading in and out to keep the listener engaged. Every instrument designed over the main foundation does something new and different all the way through the songs, but always maintains excellent thematic cohesion all the way through. The production of “The Lost Ambient” is nothing short of perfect.
There wasn’t a single moment where a written part didn’t come through to find my ears or attention. Despite there being so many parts to keep track of, there is unprecedented cohesion in the mixing as well. Kambiz Mirzaei understands how to put many different parts together in a way that makes them all bounce off each other, and you will hear that in every track.
Instrumental electronic music is hard to get right, because often music makers throw in as much technology and sounds as they can in the hope of sounding ‘epically’ impressive. More often than not, the result is a mass of overwhelming sound – No nuancing, less atmosphere, and zero emotional valleys and peaks.
Not on “The Lost Ambient” though – the arranging, mixing and production is this record’s strongest point, as Mirzaei transports us through a myriad of sonically induced sentiments, right from the eloquence of the opening track, “Symphony of Lights”.
From there, the album embarks on a remarkable 9 track voyage that is engrossing and full of magic and mysticism. The ominous lows of “Peaceful Contradiction” entwines with the sweeping strings on “Trapped in Time”, while a resonant quivering melody introduces the exotic ambience of “Eastern Calling”.
Although Kambiz Mirzaei is in essence crafting electronic music, with his use of orchestral instruments and his art-focused approach to producing, his pieces will even appeal to those who are more interested in the works of classical or soundtrack music.
Moving ahead to tracks like “Floating Dream”, “Rhythm of Hope” and “Deep Ambiguity” we get further proof of his variegated depth of musical composition. With a meticulously curated approach, Mirzaei bestows a transcendental listening experience that sifts through astral planes from start to finish on these tracks.
By the time we reach “Forgotten Melody” and “Awareness Waves”, Kambiz Mirzaei has already taken us through a cerebral examination of celestial proportions. It’s the kind of music that’s hard to put into words because it makes you feel in abstractions.
It is instrumental music that commands your entire presence and attention. There is no invasive dissonance, just slow rising climactic atmospheres that lead into spectral head-space, made by sounds casting delight into your ears. “The Lost Ambient” is a dominating melodic mellowness behind a rising wave of dynamic, ascending energy.