A new LP featuring emerging artists from Armenia and its diaspora has been released to support artistic initiatives that explore cultural identity.
YERAZ is named after the Armenian word for dream — an apt description for its soothing, lo-fi feel. Combining electronic beats with neo-soul tunes, instrumental sounds and folk melodies, the LP oscillates between upbeat and meditative across different musical styles including an Armenian traditional touch. “The most significant inspiration behind YERAZ was to set a new precedent for Armenian identity by illustrating it through these various musical contexts. By approaching this compilation as an “artefact” rather than a music album, it will mature over time into a reflection of this current moment, where we are still processing the losses of last year and are looking for means to rebuild our culture,” says Zach Asdourian, founder of Critique, the LA-based creative agency behind the album.
YERAZ is a collaboration between Critique and Kooyrigs, a non-profit organisation that implements community and educational projects both online and in-country. All of the proceeds from the album will be donated to Kooyrigs and used to support artistic initiatives in Armenia.
Following its digital release, YERAZ will also be launched as a vinyl in May 2021. While the side A-B hosts US-based diasporan artists, the side C-D features those based in Armenia. Among its most prominent names are LA-based Lebanese Armenian musician Bei Ru, neo-psychedelic singer Angel DEardoorian, and Yerevan club favourites KamavoSian and Melineh.
“Pressing YERAZ onto a vinyl record seemed very appropriate because the listening experience can become more of a ritual where the record is set, the needle is dropped and the listener is transported,” says Asdourian. “As they listen, I’d like for all people to meditate on the new paradigm being delineated by the album, where the past, present and future of our people’s history is illustrated through a new narrative.”