Nima Majd – For My Kindred Avalanche

Nima Majd
For My Kindred Avalanche

Nima Majd confuses me. As a Teheran born musician who grew up in Washington, D.C., he enjoys mixing American indie rock and Persian sounds with free jazz and electronic elements and seems to have found the majority of his fans in France. As such, nearly every stitch of background information that was available on this international man of mystery was written in a romance language that yours truly can translate very little of, putting me in the unenviable position of writing only about the music contained in the 10 tracks of For My Kindred Avalanche. Luckily, the complex patchwork of morose meanderings found therein are pleasantly distinctive enough to make this less of a chore than could have been expected.
Generally brooding and foreboding, Majd casts deep, swirling masses of displaced sounds into his own musical abyss, restlessly roaming experimental sideroads that aren’t frequently explored in contemporary indie rock. That’s not to say that Majd is a difficult or depressing listen, losing himself in conducting sour symphonies of morose reflections, as he doesn’t hesitate to break out readily accessible processed beats and more than a few catchy repeated guitar grooves. His words, too, while not asserting themselves as a primary focus in the mix, don’t present a negative distraction either, just existing as another element in the total sound collage. And while Majd’s record label is fond of pointing to his Middle Eastern roots, that tradition seems to be paid little more than a passing glance in the total musical presentation and possibly wouldn’t be noticed at all if not explicitly called to attention.
Majd’s penchant for ominous chord progressions with understated guitar buzz occasionally gives him a grunge-ish intensity, recalling a strange combination of Layne Staley and Chris Cornell with his smooth moaning vocals on “Amarynth” or Nirvana-esque uneasiness on the quieting “Loom.” At other times, as with the snappy repeated guitar hook of “Skin,” you could be convinced that a Built to Spill outtake was slipped into the set, though an epic guitar crescendo never arrives. Still, Majd’s songcraft is rarely predictable, with swerving melodies and cavernous drum loops exploding in a swelling mass of slinking noises in the last moments of the trip-hopish “Raw and Pander.”
Occasionally, Majd’s free jazz influences turn up in the arrangements, but they seem to be sifted through a Sonic Youth filter, with his more experimental leanings generally staying crisp and accessible, never overstaying their welcome in extended passages. In fact, tracks like serenely haunting “Wire Swan” and “Is Your Anger Love?,” boasting lovely flute over acoustic guitar strums, showcase a more pleasantly disillusioned mood.
Overall, it’s somewhat hard to articulate a sound that seems intuitively dark and almost incomprehensibly entangled. Majd only dances around the perimeter of folk, electronic, and grunge, rarely standing in clearly familiar territory. Ultimately, he may not yet be extraordinarily groundbreaking artistically, but is succeeding on his own merits. Now if I could just find something written about him in English…