Tristâme - Common Ground
Reviewer: Sama Shahrouri - 2013-07-15
Highlights: Age of Hope
Tristâme is a New York City based one-man musical project by Syrian-born singer/songwriter Rami. With an atmospheric/alternative rock sound, Tristâme create music based on the intensity of human emotions affected by harsh life conditions. The music is mostly lead by simple and sometimes sentimentally devastating string arrangements accompanied by Rami’s equally as moving vocals and lyrics. Tristâme have released one full length to date entitled “Unraveling Horizons” in 2009, and just earlier this year in April the EP “Common Ground” was released as a charity project in support of the thousands of refugees who have fled from the current political crisis in Syria. With this charity release, Rami hopes to bring awareness of “the civil war that still grips his homeland”. All proceeds from the sales of the EP will go to organizations helping Syrian refugees.
“Common Ground” is a 4-song EP, running at only 14:55 minutes in length; it contains themes ranging from loss and despair to themes of hope, peace, and a better future, but all regarding the Syrian situation. Rami also applied elements from his childhood memories into some of the lyrical material to give this work even more sentimental value.
The work starts off with “Euphoria”, one of the EP’s more complex songs. Its orchestra consists of percussion (drums), strings (violin, viola, cello, guitar, bass), keys as well as Rami’s vocals. It plays as an excellent intro of what is to come. It’s a quiet sad song that draws the outlines for the record’s general atmosphere.
“Distant Brothers” refers to the intensity of sectarianism that is the cause of the civil war. The song is a plea for unity; it transcends grief into a whole new approach somewhat strange to Tristâme’s style by taking a doomish turn with a distressed guitar sound that puts an end to the track after a calmer atmosphere was built the first couple of minutes. This turn symbolizes the harshness of the political conditions in Syria, and just how difficult everything is.
So far the general atmosphere in the EP is quite stressful, but all very professionally acquired. The music smoothly takes the listener from one feeling to another and each song acts as an introduction to the next.
“Last Curtain Call” is an ode to all those who lost their lives in the epic events of Syria since the beginning of all the troubles. A final farewell, this song is Rami’s way of paying his respect and honor to all the victims of the crisis. It is a ballad where he tried to immortalize all the lost souls, and keep their stories alive. It is one of the most intense emotional moments on the EP since it holds a constant calm feel throughout, with vocal harmonies accompanying a simple guitar/sting performance that puts a final end to the sad moments on this piece of work.
The EP ends with “Age of Hope”, a pop-rocky song that contains the final vocal harmony arrangement Rami had done on Syrian soil, making this track a highlight on the record. This song also is one that stands out most between the four, since it’s the only one with a more hopeful feeling. It fades into its end, symbolizing the continuity of hope.
“Common Ground” was made for the mere sake of aiding a human crisis. Rami, as any normal person would, felt the need to help his country people out in any way he could. And creating music was the way he had chosen to do so. Now, musically speaking, this EP is nothing really special; it has a very cool sound to it, if you’re a doom music fan or an atmospheric rock music fan, you would enjoy this EP, it’s an easy listen, enjoyable even, but it’s not one to leave a mark on music history. It was made to highlight a certain cause, and it did so wonderfully. It is beautifully produced and focused. I just hope it reaches a wider audience to achieve the goal it was made to achieve.