Barzin: Studio 13 Session (Monotreme Records)

Outstanding live session EP from Canadian singer-songwriter

Released Jun 7th, 2019 / By Erick Mertz
Barzin: Studio 13 Session (Monotreme Records) Canadian singer-songwriter Barzin has been crafting surreptitious songs of a blue, melancholic order since his self-titled EP signaled the saw of our often-confusing millennium. He has released a string of albums since, highly acclaimed capsules filled with ponderous songs. Similar to the best songwriters of his emotional intensity, Barzin offers glimpses into life’s real and often-raw moments – perhaps they are, in creation, glimpses into his life, but it’s not long into any of his tracks before the story becomes a domain shared with the listener.

On his most recent EP release, Studio 13 Session Barzin offers live versions of a few tracks off of his 2013 full length, To Live Alone In That Long Summer. The first sensation one gets, as “All The While” spills out, is of the room and how the blend of Barzin’s crooning voice and gentle instrumentation seizes every corner of it. It is dour but warm, like a Leonard Cohen song, where the performer welcomes you to view his or her open wound. Even gloomier, In The Dark You Can Love This Place gives a sense of October warding, yet Hard To Love Blindly gives the impression that the singer simply (and delightfully) could not heed his own wisdom. And those teardrop guitars and that tender percussion, how they give rise to a feeling of such utter resignation.

The album ends with a Songs:Ohia cover, Blue Factory Flame one of the bleariest tracks offered in that doomed catalogue. The song is a fitting hat tip to an artist in Jason Molina whose emotional intensity fits, hand in glove with Barzin’s own. These songs draw comparisons to artists like Red House Painters and Low (and Cohen and Molina as I am making) and those are perhaps apt lines to draw, but such personal songwriting should stand on its own. Here it does. 4/5