“It was deep it was soulful, it was techno, it was disco, a kaleidoscope of sounds, it was truly underground”. The famous Finn Lurcott quote, recognizable from BBC Radio One Essential Mix‘s opening theme, feels all too appropriate to describe Sharam‘s sophomore album Retroactive.
Sharam Tayebi is an Iranian DJ, producer, label owner, and was half of one of the most beloved dance music acts of all time, Deep Dish. Partnered with legendary techno artist Dubfire, Deep Dish defined club music from the late 90s to the 2000s. Working with industry giants like The Rolling Stones, Madonna, and even pulling off a grammy award winning remix of Dido's “Thank You”, Deep Dish broke down barriers between the mainstream and the underground and played a serious role in paving the way for the EDM explosion years ago.
The duo is for the most part broken up, but Sharam has shined on his own, releasing various hit tunes on his labels Yoshitoshi and Shinichi Recordings. However, Retroactive is far more then just a push for his imprints, its a true expression of passion from an artist who has already been there and done that, and has so even before most of the trendsetters of today even picked up their first pair of decks. Many of the album's tunes have been in the works for a long time and present very straightforward, and classic flavors of house music.
Sharam shows off his vast understanding of soul, funk, prog, pop, and disco and does so in what he describes as a “theme park” like manner. Old school prog lovers can indulge in the 14 minute, worldly, hypnotic voyage with “The Photograph”, fans of Daft Punk get what they were missing from Random Access Memories with the Giorgio Moroder collab “Crazy Flute”, and techno diehards can chew on tracks like “Techi” and “Morning Glory” with ease. Every track brings its own vibe but yet no one song feels like an outlier. Together it creates a very memorable and emotional journey, quite reminiscent of Sharam's own personal journey throughout the years and a reflection of the sounds that shaped it.
On top of all this, Sharam also pleases Deep Dish fanboys by including not one, but four tracks featuring the legendary duo's favorite vocalist, Anousheh, who was featured in classic tracks “Flashdance” and “Say Hello”. The Anousheh collabs seriously sound like they were recorded at the same time as the duo's last studio album George Is On. Each one, especially “Same”, could easily be mistaken for 2016 Deep Dish, and everything from the lyrics to Anousheh's incredible voice hasn't faded one bit.
Retroactive is easily Sharam's greatest achievement as a solo artist. The album gets better and better with each listen and could easily retain the same longevity as Deep Dish's landmark recordings. Sharam has managed to pay the best homage possible to his legendary career and memorable exploration of house music.
Sharam is currently in the middle of his Retroactive world tour. You can get your ticket to house heaven by entering to win FREE tickets to see Sharam at Sound Nightclub in Hollywood, CA on July 16th.