Danny Bedrosian’s Seri Mistik (mystic of love) album is a musical tour de force. Such a statement can be said with no precedent, no wordy pretext, and no minced notions of anything but the fact that this album can be considered a masterwork, pure and simple.
Bedrosian usually employs a menagerie of carefully picked and often times internally trained musicians, singers, engineers, artists and songwriters. This album is a bit different, in that Bedrosian plays all the instruments, sings all the vocals, and handles all the production and most of the engineering, as well as the other usual conceptual, compositional, arranging, liner note works, and dealings with the mastering and duplications, manufacturing, marketing, distribution, downloads, advertising etc. Danny is wearing many hats on this venture; however it is a long time coming. Bedrosian has been conceptualizing an album where he plays and sings everything for some years now. (Special note must be made to Bedrosian’s ‘real’ solo album debut before Somn Fierce, entitled Rockefeller Roskar, where he did just that concept – playing all the instruments and singing all the vocals, but the album was never released). Inspired by multi talented players like Ray Charles, Sly Stone and Junie Morrisson, Bedrosian strikes out on his own with a solo album that is centrally cohesive, and excitingly exploratory. And just as with the inspired madness of Bedrosian’s five Secret Army offerings thus far, his first solo album release Somn Fierce, and all his BOZFONK productions and releases, this one promises to give the listener a FULL experience. Listening, Seeing, Feeling every note, phrase, and movement. Bedrosian himself felt very closely to this music, it being rooted not just in his usual progressive funk (although that is here too), but also his Classical roots, Armenian Music, Ancient musicology experiments, Jazz Fusion, R&B, and other incredible sounds and songs.
The Intro to the album comes from literally another age. It is (along with the second verse in a version that appears at the end of the album) the Hurrian Hymn, a song that has been discovered in the archaeological mounds in Ugarit, Syria. It was written in 1400 B.C. around the end or climax of the Hurrian period in that part of the Middle East, and it is indeed written in Ancient Hurrian, a now long-dead language that Bedrosian sings in the harmonies as written by the Hurrian composers 3400 years ago, as if it were his first language. Indeed, Bedrosian is closely knit to this music, the Hurrians being one of the tribes making up the ethnogenesis of his Armenian ancestors. In fact, the area of Armenia his family is from (Kharpert, literally meaning Hurrian Fortress) is in the ancient Hurrian world. This song is mysterious, captivating, spiritual, and incredibly different from what the average western music listener is used to; and yet the sound is so incredibly primordial and influential on all music as it is indeed the oldest written, translatable music we have found on Earth thus far.
Tondurak, named after a volcano in historic Armenia, is a modern jazz exploration through some really bebop influenced substrates of piano work set upon an acid jazz beat, and some Hancock-esque synth work. It is in and out quickly and is a beautiful transmission of musical time-warping. The great times continue with “Eyes”, a symphonic type of sophisticated funk, with some great falsetto, and live drums. Subari, named after another eponymous proto-Armenoid people from the 3rd millennium B.C, goes through some beautiful faux-guitar work, and has a world music element for certain. It segues into the very Junie inspired Now I know (which has an equally smashing instrumental version later in the album), with some great synth workouts, and exceptional lyrics. Vahagn, (named after the ancient God/Hero from Armenia, who came out of a Volcano), is as if Art Tatum had lived to see Ecstasy, Dub, and Mash-ups…'nuff said. It’s truly one of the most progressive things on the album, and that is truly saying something, with piano work that is quite literally, out of this world. Bedrosian goes into some truly other territory here. Becoming more contemplative, “Daytime”, is a contemporary gem, polished to a gleam with the shimmering Rhodes, Organ, Piano, and harmonizing vocals. The album switches gears to a world music tour de force of it’s own called “Here is the Water”. It goes through everything from Rainforest sounds, to Congolese tribal chants, to Baroque organ, to Japanese Geisha music, to Modern beatboxing and human sampling, to Traditional Jazz, to a more progressive lean, and into some more really uncharted musical territory. It puts all musical ideas on their heads in terms of world music and how to arrange it. The next song is the introspective-feeling jazz/r&b song “Remote Control”, which has some more great live drums, and great Rhodes-Piano-Synth interplay. “Puru – Kuzzi”, named after an Ancient Armenian kingdom in the Upper Euphrates River Valley, has the feel of an ancient near eastern royal processional, and ends with a lead-and-drone, woodwind instrument, harkening to the move from the Northern Mesopotamian lowlands into the mountains during the end of the ancient era, right before the founding of the ancient kingdom of Biainili (Urartu). It is another great historical-feeling piece, with an incredible modern electronica/progressive beat mixed in with the traditional percussion, string instruments, woodwind sounds, and eastern feel. The clever worldplay and musicality on this album harkens to Bedrosian’s P-funk influence, it not being lost on this writer that Bedrosian is an integral part of the modern Parliament-Funkadelic, as George Clinton’s go – to man on keyboards for almost a decade now. The colorful instrumental of Now I know, and the second verse of the Hurrian Hymn round out the album, along with a secret snippet of Bedrosian’s funky Caribbean influenced “You Know I gotcha”, with sexy lyrics and another punch and run atmosphere, the song being no longer than a minute.
All in all, this album is one of the finest gems to come out of Bedrosian’s BOZFONK MOOSICK Camp, it being a very eclectic, yet extremely personal record coming from the head of the camp itself in it’s entirety. If you loved Survival & Euphrates Babies from Secret Army, Miss Sarah Tonin’s Waltz & Lisa’s Lullaby from Somn Fierce, and Games Are Fun from Sleaziest of the Greaze, you will melt into a puddle upon hearing this album. This is a truly revolutionary album, in terms of not just it’s vision, it’s extremely lofty, all encompassing tradition that is heralded and done right at BOZFONK, but also in it’s incredible execution. The music is powerful, ancient and futuristic all at the same time. And Bedrosian’s vocal arrangements are, as always, an incredible trademark to the sound so well cultivated in that camp. Whatever you listen to this year, whatever you buy in the coming years and generations to come, BUY Danny Bedrosian’s album SERI MISTIK
It will be one of the most important, inspirational, influential, and powerful musical purchases you will have made for a long time, and that you will make for a very long time. Hear an album that’s quite literally 3400 years in the making.
From TIGRAN HOVANISSIAN – writer for BOZFONK MOOSICK