It was completely refreshing to hear the music of néGar (born Negar Mokhtassi), whose debut EP, néGar, is a truly remarkable release from what is sure to be the first of many for this talented songwriter.
Born in Tehran, but raised predominantly between Canada and Abu Dhabi, néGar’s creative path was ignited by the repression she witnessed while living in the Middle East.
After teaching herself to play the guitar and inspired by the likes of bands and artists such as Nirvana, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan and Nina Simone, néGar began performing with a few bands in and around Toronto during her college years. And after a time working in advertising as an art director, the songwriter decided to focus her energy and fully embark on her solo music career.
néGar is the songwriter’s 5-song EP, produced by Ian Smith and the late Dan Achen of the Canadian band, Junkhouse, and to whom she dedicates this stunning batch of captivating songs. Her sound is a complex dose of edgy rock, warm soul and traces of world music.
Standouts include the album’s opener, ‘Off The Ground,’ a beautifully rich song that mixes acoustic guitar and deep percussion to néGar’s satisfyingly hollow voice. The track carries with it a tinge of néGar’s Middle Eastern influences.
‘A Woman’ is a softer and more lulling number, but also strangely eerie, perfectly demonstrating the effect of néGar’s unique voice.
‘By The Sea’ closes the EP with an industrial and gritty experience where néGar’s vocals transform into banshee-like shrieks, recalling the raw energy of earlier works by PJ Harvey.
The bold and stunning ‘Faceless, Nameless,’ also from the EP, is featured for the upcoming film Bluebird.
néGar is currently available as a digital-only download at néGar’s Bandcamp page, but is also scheduled for CD release on February 26.