After departing Vampire Weekend in 2016 (and consequently shattering my life), Rostam has been putting his whole heart into every single one of his musical endeavours since.
With the release of his debut album, we are finally gifted with Rostam‘s personal narrative, embellished with soaring melodies and a dynamic approach to musical production. Half-Light – named for the light that exists during dusk or dawn – is a sprawling, intimate glimpse into the psyche of a rebellious artist with a penchant for experimental instrumentation (Rostam has cited The Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby and Lou Reed’s Street Hassle as examples). The sonic range within this album is vast, as the electronic Hold You (featuring the ethereal Angel Deradoorian) and the chaotic chimes of Don’t Let It Get To You exist in extreme contrast to the tender crooning of Gwan and Wood (a beautiful ode to his Iranian heritage).
Half-Light is, among many things, a revelation, as it allows Rostam the chance to fully explore and develop his musical consciousness. The poignancy of Half-Light (featuring Kelly Zutrau) allows Rostam‘s vocals to sit at the forefront, accompanied by temperate and persistent keys and percussion.
From the warmth of Wood (said to have been recorded during a sunny day, with the studio door wide open), to the touching, one-minute ballad, I Will See You Again, it is evident that this album has been meticulously constructed. Standout tracks also include the jittery, vibrant Rudy and the affectionate, triumphant Bike Dream – a track that ricochets around the heart and subsequently heals it: “But I’m sure that you’ll catch your breath / you’ll sleep into the day / to wake up with sunlight across your room.”
The acoustic reprisal of Don’t Let It Get To You is an appropriate closing track that comes with a much-needed reminder about love and life:
“You’re not gonna get it exactly how you want it
But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try, no
And it’s not gonna feel the way that you expected
But it’s still all up to you.”