The first two minutes of Raffi Joe Wartanian’s “Never Forever” inhabit the spaces between silence and sound. Those early measures allow us to breath slowly in the beauty and vastness of the world around us and then to exhale in a sparse sonic response. Wartanian evokes this interplay with his spare shimmering cascades of notes. Yet, such spare meditative states seldom endure, and the song blossoms headlong into a reeling gypsy blues, syncopated by MB Gordy’s and Jeremy Smith’s percussion, before slowing once again at the song’s end to a ruminative riff of blues notes.
In the video, the Baltimore native stands before the vast expanse of the ocean with his guitar on his shoulder, the waves crashing on the shore inspiring him to mimic the music that surrounds him in nature, which dwells in him, and which he attempts to evoke in his own songs. “Never Forever” comes from Wartanian’s second album Critical Distance, which contains 10 instrumentals that illustrate his embrace of musical styles ranging from bluegrass to gypsy jazz.
As Wartanian reflects on the video: “’Never Forever’ is a meditation on impermanence, and a musical exploration of how cultures can converse. Like the entire album Critical Distance, I tried to find the songs, and articulate them as faithfully as possible. There was no specific stylistic agenda, but more so an open-hearted approach to letting the music lead the way. The interplay of silence and sound in the beginning reflects the dualities of existence: night and day, joy and sorrow, life and death. Then, the music gradually evolves towards a bluesy vamp before launching into some soaring banjo-inspired fingerpicking that sounds like dancing on clouds. After the piece was complete, I listened back and noticed a variety of influences from bluegrass, flamenco, and Armenian folk music.”
‘Critical Distance’ and “Never Forever” are available HERE.
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