Harmony Ridge Music

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  Axiom of Choice
Axiom of Choice Axiom of Choice are emigré Persian musicians with their roots in the repertoire of traditional Persian music. Led by guitarist and Music Director Loga Ramin Torkian and featuring Mamak Khadem on vocals, their music is conceptual and combines Eastern and Western instrumentation in original arrangements bringing a new sound to Persian and world music.

Poignant, innovative, epic, and soulful - these are but a few of the adjectives used to describe the music of Axiom of choice. Formed in 1992 by guitarist, composer, and artistic director Loga Ramin Torkian and co-producer and percussionist Mammad Mohsenzadeh, the ensemble's goal is to define a new sound within the context of Persian music. They were soon joined by vocalist Mamak Khadem whose prodigious vocal talent complemented the group's original compositions.

Axiom of Choice... mixes the haunting, warbling vocals of Mamak Khadem with a panoply of Western and Middle Eastern instruments: guitar, electric cello, ney (flute), clarinet, kamancheh (spike violin) duduk and zurna (oboes), saz and divan (strings), and percussion. Torkian also plays a custom-made, seven-string "quarter-tone" guitar with movable frets, which allows him to bridge Western and Eastern scales.

Torkian, who studied violin as a child in Iran, then flamenco guitar after immigrating to Eugene, Ore., in 1978 at age 14, writes Axiom's compositions. They are based on traditional Iranian music, updated for a young audience. Western-world fusion guitarists Ralph Towner (and his group, Oregon), and John McLaughlin are major influences. "I played for a while with a traditional ensemble in L.A.," says Torkian, noting that there is significant Iranian population in Southern California. "But it was like taking a lion to the zoo. I felt I had to do something that belonged to the immigrant community, that was a crossover of all my influences, from India, Iran, Japan and Western jazz."

Torkian eschews the description New Age, because of its suggestion of ethnic rootlessness. As a practical matter, however, the distinction is academic. Axiom of Choice trades in the kind of ambient, seductive, self-consciously exotic potions that waft through ethnic shops — not surprising, since Torkian owns one, on Melrose Street. A mathematician turned artist himself (like Khayyam), Torkian opened his shop in 1992, the same year he started the group. To purists who turn up their noses at such tinkering with tradition, Torkian responds, "Music is dynamic. We live in a different time, at a different tempo." - The Seattle Times

Additional information can be found at axiomofchoice.com

CD $15.99 catalog# nar125810
Parting Ways With The Soul

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