Rostam: Half-Light (Nonesuch) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Sep 15, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

It’s hard to believe Rostam Batmanglij is only now releasing his debut solo album. A vital cog in Vampire Weekend until recently, he also collaborated with Hamilton Leithauser on last year’s excellent I Had a Dream That You Were Mine, and scored The OA, a stylish and baffling Netflix sci-fi show co-written and directed by his brother. But believe it or not, Half-Light is the first time he’s ventured out on his own.

Ambition is certainly one asset Batmanglij is not lacking in. Half-Light unfolds over nearly one hour and 15 tracks, mixing styles and blending all that experience he’s accrued to date. The sound is a Rostam greatest hits compilation, mixed with interesting gambles. Not all work, and at times it can feel like Vampire Weekend offcuts, but this is no retread. If Half-Light sometimes sounds like Vampire Weekend, it’s because Vampire Weekend sounds like Batmanglij. He was integral to the New York band’s indie rock meets African beats style.

This explains why tracks like “Rudy” and “Thatch Snow” come with a ring of familiarity. But it’s an unmoored Vampire Weekend Batmanglij is now tapping, mixing dense rhythms with calypso, strings, Auto-Tune, and a futuristic sound. “Thatch Snow” quickly comes to resemble several songs bolted together, while “Hold You” feels like a computer singing “Graceland.” “Don’t Let It Get to You” even judders into life with a drum machine and Paul Simon pan piping.

The experimenting has its limits. There’s too much filler spread across the record, whole songs like “Wood” and “When” just drifting by. When it comes together though, as it does to best effect on the breathlessly exuberant “Bike Dream,” Batmanglij is operating at another level. Half-Light is a brave, challenging, and infectious debut, sometimes falling short, and other times achieving grand things. (

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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September 17th 2017

Абсолютно с Вами согласен. В этом что-то есть и мне кажется это очень хорошая идея. Полностью с Вами соглашусь.