Saedi – Exhale
An incredible singer and artist has been discovered.
Saedi’s (Tania Saedi) release on the Sofa Surfer’s label Monoscope is her first album.
This deeply talented Viennese singer, with Persian roots, has been waiting patiently for this very moment. Exhale is many things, but a shot from the hip it is definitely not. The eleven songs emerging on this album have been under development for years, slowly ripening on the meandering path to their final destination:
the perfect match of vocals, melodies, and lyrics.
Listening to “Who Can Be Real”, one is tempted to call it the most outstanding song on the album, except that all the other numbers then reveal themselves to be unbelievably compelling and personal. Tania Saedi released the introductory song under another title, “Sex Appeal”, on an EP about a year ago. However, it is presented here in an almost unrecognizable form. The previously released EP was a funky downtempo number floating somewhere in the space between R’n’B and post-TripHop. The current arrangement heads in a totally different direction. “Who Can Be Real” has now morphed into an existentially deep electro ballad. The vocals pierce the listener, ghostly chords and dub effects interweave a delicate piano. A goose-bump moment, and by no means the only one on the album.
Exhale is Saedi’s baby. The music tells the story of a beautiful collaboration between a singer/musician/composer and Markus Kienzl, who, after multiple albums with the Sofa Surfers and two solo projects
(one with a certain Tania Saedi on vocals…) has now completed his first album as a producer. After Tania gave him her song demos - vocals accompanied by piano - he instinctively created individually unique sound concepts, which the two then developed together in the studio. “It’s a fantastic combination,” says the singer about the work process, “it enables me to concentrate wholly upon my voice.” The conclusion:
“I have never felt such strong confidence in myself.”
Stylistically, the album spans an impressive range from rocking numbers like “Someone” or “Asshole Number Ten” to bass-heavy electronic sounds (“Beauty”) or an excursion into the technoid (“Visions”),
all the way to soulfully calm moments on “Boatsong” and “Who Can Be Real”. Saedi does it all.
For her, it’s not about showing off, it’s about creating the perfect atmosphere for the ideal presentation of each song and the emotions expressed within.
Exhale bears its name with reason. While listening, the feeling that something had to be let out, to be expressed, keeps on coming back. You’ve heard about writing songs as cleansing personal therapy? Saedi’s songs are her means of processing and getting things out. Her voice can be thoughtful and delicate, yet convey at the same moment an incredible strength: “Now the good will and charity they have left things undone / If, you want something done, you know that you better do it alone / Tonight you won’t be sobbing / You shall yet overcome / The dread of having to be / Someone you are not.“ This is the stuff that love songs are made of. Songs that straighten you up and carry you forth like a mantra.
Where does this all come from? Know it or not, dedicated music consumers have probably heard Tania Saedi a.k.a. Sista Sadie sing more than once. Not only was she the distinctive female vocalist on Markus Kienzl’s Density album, she also gave the downbeat tracks of the Uko formation a face and sang for the cosmopolitan pop project Pumali Panthers. Recently, she also toured with colleague Anna F. as a background singer.
Saedi knows that anything is possible – to be an experienced music professional active in a multitude of areas, yet remain a passionately dedicated singer. An inadvertent comment she made in an interview, “Music saved my life,” portrays the true intensity of her love for music. She has been singing and writing her whole life. The latter in English from the very beginning. Before coming to Vienna as a child, she attended an English language kindergarten in Iran. Ever since, her most personal thoughts have been in English, including her diary, also written in the language of pop, a definite boon for her texts.
“I never wanted to make your typical soul or singer/songwriter album,” she says. As a matter of fact,
a descriptive niche for her intimate works of art has yet to be found, although in truth it would only be superfluous anyway. Simply put, her music is intense, deeply felt, and has heart, brain, and groove.
Exhale is a very special album – wonderfully intimate, yet open to all and excluding none.
Who listens, will feel.