From The Guardian, Thursday January 22, 2015
Tigran Hamasyan: Mockroot review – a vibrant, personal take on songs from Armenia and beyond
Virtuosic burn-ups … Sam Minaie, Tigran Hamasyan and Arthur Hnatek. Photograph: Maeve Stam The dynamic young Armenian multi-instrumentalist/composer Tigran Hamasyan makes his Nonesuch debut with this session of
originals and reworkings of traditional Armenian songs, featuring the leader on keys, synths and vocals, with Sam Minaie on bass and Arthur Hnatek on drums and electronics. On stage, Hamasyan can revel in his remarkable technical firepower and knack for setting joints jumping to the extent that his lyrical originality recedes, but this is a world-music session that does his diversity justice, and features plenty of virtuosic burn-ups too. To Love, Song for Melan and Rafik are falsetto-voiced folk songs, the latter of which turns into a staccato groover in which the acoustic piano line and Hnatek’s drum-patterns prance inextricably together, while Kars 1 and Kars 2 are spacious and anthemic, and the snappy Double-Faced meshes stomping piano hooks and hip-hop. Hamasyan’s vibrant, jazz-inflected and uninhibited angle on world-music has a very personal feel.