Mysterious and opulent in its songs, The Sky and the Caspian Sea is a début album that exudes confidence and poise and promises the start of a great future. Born to an Iranian family in Wales, Roshi Nasehi is a singer-songwriter and keyboards player whose music reflects not simply her Iranian heritage, but also the traditions and influences she has picked up during her life in Britain.
In particular, these songs are contained in the place where classical music meets jazz meets electronic experimentation. Her band Pars Radio shows as much – featuring cellists Rachel Threlfall and Richard Thomas and, most significantly, Graham Dids on all the electronic bits. Samples of violin melodies played by Roshi’s father Vahid Nassehi add to the album’s intimacy. With 11 tracks, several being Roshi’s framings of Iranian folk songs, it’s a quiet album that warrants close re-listenings, such are its evocative powers.
The soft electronic soundscapes – droplets, telephone rings, scratchings and murmurs as if from far-off radio dreams – with which producer Dids wraps Roshi’s songs make it hard not to be reminded of Portishead. Beginning with a series of remote sounds – pipes, a telephone ringing in an empty room, a ship’s horn, perhaps – songs such as ‘The Isle of Eigg’ have their own stage directions written into them. However, there is nothing derivative here. The Sky and the Caspian Sea is really its own exceptional thing.