Listening to Sevdaliza has the uncomfortable, arresting effect of sitting in a mystic’s presence and being laid bare by her wisdom. On The Calling, the Iranian-Dutch artist doesn’t overload us with words, but across seven tracks, she carries a heavy burden that turns to resilience and recovery.
Profound melancholy is brought out from Sevdaliza’s abrasive breath, driven harder by heavy trip-hop beats (I hear echoes of Bowery Electric and Björk’s Homogenic). It’s all very beautiful, with a string ensemble that embellishes the tracks in Eastern modality. Musically, as lyrically, Sevdaliza does much with little. ‘Energ1’ stands out as the track that embodies this simple sophistication. Here she is at her least esoteric, and her most vulnerable. ‘Human Nature’ follows, a sparse track that can’t quite hold itself together in its repetition. While it is the weakest track on the EP, it is the only one you will be tempted to skip. She ends with a taste of hope on ‘Observer’: “I’m near the part of letting love in”.
The Calling feels best on the road—but don’t pull this one out on a happy-go-lucky road trip. This is music for aimless meandering; for those nocturnal journeys going anywhere but home.