Nassiri

Return to Paradise

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Running your own label can be tough and challenging, but from a creative/artistic standpoint, it offers considerable advantages. Fred Nassiri owns and operates Nassiri Music -- the Iranian singer/producer occupies the driver's seat, and creatively, he can do whatever he darn well pleases. That means that if he wants to put out three different versions of the same album, there is no one to stop him. In the early 2000s, Nassiri released three versions of Singing to You: a vocal version in English, a vocal version in Spanish, and an instrumental version that he calls Return to Paradise. Whether he is functioning as a singer or an instrumentalist, Nassiri maintains a highly multicultural outlook. Return to Paradise has a strong Middle Eastern influence, which is only natural because Nassiri grew up in Iran (formerly Persia) before immigrating to the United States, and eventually making Las Vegas his home. But Return to Paradise is hardly a traditional Iranian/Persian album; Nassiri provides a modern style of Middle Eastern pop that also has a strong western influence -- this CD has one foot in the Middle East and the other in the United States and Europe. Nassiri tends to favor melodies that are poetic, dreamy, and hauntingly lush; Return to Paradise can easily function as mood music, and the instrumental versions of songs like "Heaven" and "Yesterday's Gone" would not be out of place in an artsy European film. They're very much the sort of melodies that a French, Italian, or Austrian director would employ during a love scene -- Nassiri has a way of making listeners think of the French Riviera and the Middle East at the same time. Fans of world fusion are advised to give Return to Paradise a close listen.

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