Armeen Musa's Simultaneously is essentially a pop album but terming it as just 'pop' would be a great disservice. Her voice is drenched in elements of jazz and world music and is clearly, by the time the fourth (and title) track comes in, the voice of someone raised in eastern classical. It's a unique blend and Armeen being just what she is, has come a long, long way from her simplistic debut album Ai Ghum Bhangai (2008).
The album features ten tracks in total and every track has something different. There's no tied down definition of her music. The relaxing nature of her voice is probably the only constant. It kicks off with “Essa Quam Videri,” a track where the string section probably steals the spotlight. For those who are wondering, the phrase means “To be, rather than to seem” in Latin and the lyrics go with the theme. The myriad of instrumentalists who play on the album have their moments but they probably shine the most here, with a powerful, expansive backdrop. I can confidently say no Bangladeshi artists' music has thus far featured an instrumental track of this magnitude.
“Frost” is faster paced and could probably become a successful indie rock radio staple. The violinists from the earlier track make a comeback but they are more in the background this time. Armeen's voice takes full flight on this one and it's catchy but not really in a pop way. “The Brighter Side” follows in a similar vein, only growing in intensity.
As I said before, the title track “Simultaneously” reminds us that Armeen was raised in eastern classical traditions. The song has strong subcontinental flavours but the fact that a number of Berklee graduates are playing in it isn't lost either.
“Jokhon Chole Jao” is the first Bangla track of the album. Musically, it follows the established theme of tying down the East and the West. But it's faster and the electric guitar gives it a rock vibe too. This is probably the track in the album with the most fire; a haunting narrative of walking away and the pain it gives. The ninth track 'When You Are Gone' is an English version of this song.
A wide assortment of musicians, many of them Armeen's friends from her time at Berklee, play on this album which gives it its own aura. The violins stand out so in some ways this is more than just Armeen's album. The production is on spot but it does not have the excessive polish that a lot of modern music does, which gives it an organic feeling.
All in all, it's a powerful evolution for an artist who is still very young. With her music branching out like it has, fans can have high expectations of where Armeen Musa's career is going.
Bangladeshi fans can purchase the album on shurjorajjo.com
CDs are available at shows mainly and a limited number at rokomari.com
To get news about her shows visit her Facebook page: facebook.com/armeenm