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Artist Spotlight: Rostam

Music Reviews :: 07.07.17
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- By Nathaniel Smith -

Once the keyboardist and producer for the clean collegiate sounds of Vampire Weekend, Rostam Batmanglij has announced a new solo half-length album coming September 8th, as reported by Fader. The collection will include a mixture of new and old songs, released sporadically throughout his career. Among the new releases is Rostam’s most recent single, “Bike Dream, in addition to an older favorite, 2011’s “Wood.” The album will be entitled Half-Light, in which Batmanglij commented on in the release statement from Nonesuch records:

“It wasn't until I had almost finished this album and I was trying to decide what I should call it that I took the time to look up the word 'half-light,'. That lyric, and a large part of that song, had come to me in a stream of consciousness sitting in front of a piano years ago, captured in a voice memo on my phone. I had never stopped to figure out what that word meant exactly. But when I read its definition, and found that it had a double meaning—that it referred to both dawn and dusk—I started to think of how those times of day are part of so many lyrics on this album.”

In a previous interview, Rostam remarked how the term “half-light” applies to his own experience coming to terms with his sexuality. “It’s something a lot of us who identify as queer experienced growing up as well, slipping between straight and gay worlds, code-switching... I say experience in the past tense because I don’t know that that’s the experience today’s kids will have. Things are changing.”

Batmanglij started his music career while studying at Columbia University, and produced all three of Vampire Weekend’s albums. Throughout his time with Vampire Weekend, Rostam worked on several other projects, including self-released singles and under the name Discovery, a collaboration with Ra Ra Riot’s Wes Miles. After splitting with Vampire Weekend in 2016, he created another full length album, this time with the Walkmen’s Hamilton Leithauser entitled I Had a Dream That You Were Mine, released September 2016. Be on the lookout for more of Rostam’s signature baroque-inspired riffs and colorful synths in Half-Light out September 8th, 2017 via Nonesuch Records.

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