Get ready to disappear in Śara​ṇ​aṃ, through itself. Hashshashin continue to spoil us with some incredibly fine music.

Release date: November 10, 2023 | Art As Catharsis | Bandcamp | Facebook

It’s hardly any surprise that I’m taking my microscope and having a proper look at the new offering from Hashshashin. While boasting easily one of the most annoying band names to spell, their tunes are on a level of good that’s out of this world. I talked with fervor about Badakhshan, Śara​ṇ​aṃ’s predecessor.

My initial surprise, besides the fact that there are new Hashshashin tunes (besides that one song from 2021), Śara​ṇ​aṃ is surprisingly brief both in physical terms of length, as well as in terms of narrative breadth. What it does lack in terms of size, though, it makes up for in sheer substance and depth. The same can be said in terms of sheer sonic impact in a sense. What it lacks in a certain kind of diversity and punch, it makes up for in elegance and subtlety.

Somewhat following its predecessor, Śara​ṇ​aṃ also decides to impart a specific geographical reference in order to ground the listener better into a well-defined space, as well as associating some spiritual notion taken from Eastern philosophy with it in the process. This seems like a very minute detail, however, the references themselves and the subtlety with which they are applied truly shine when held up against the musical context. They enrich this wonderful tapestry with all sorts of splendid minutiae, if we allow our imagination to run wild. I will not delve into further details regarding this aspect, I’d rather let you have the honor of going in blind.

I think what sold me the most on Śara​ṇ​aṃ is the incredible immersive quality it holds. I actually had to put in way more listens than I usually do, because I’d simply drift off to who even knows where, riding the smooth, undulating waves of the songs. My attention would be almost mischievously robbed by this hypnotic presence and I would surrender immediately and effortlessly. I can’t really pinpoint as to what exactly gives this quality so much power, no matter how much I try.

Obviously, it’s something to do with the songwriting at a base level, as well as the instruments voicing said compositions via their beautifully balanced tonal interplay. However, it’s not clear to me what is it specifically. Maybe it’s the whole package. We’ll never know. What I am certain of, though, is that the production plays a solid part in this aspect. The soundstage is spectacularly crisp and clear-cut, and the presence of each instrument is almost mystical, as if they are stepping out of the speakers into the room. Never even mind the sublime dynamics which keep you highly focused, despite the relatively relaxed demeanor of the tunes.

It’s rare for me to run into a record that’s this easy to listen to. Where I generally tend to applaud compositional complexity, dozens of layers upon dozens of layers of sounds, larger than life approach, and other similar virtuosic qualities, Śara​ṇ​aṃ could not be any further from these, yet I give it an equally high praise, if not higher. Śara​ṇ​aṃ is all about impressing through immersion, simplicity, and telling a story straight from the core of its soul. It remembers that the most important aspect of making music is to say something, and also that the most important aspect of listening to music is to enjoy it – it superlatively excels at both.

Robert Miklos

Robert Miklos

What can I say? I love slapping keys and listening to squiggly air.

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