Rostam – Changephobia
Clearly no stranger to hard work, Rostam Batmanglij has had not just a busy year, but a busy decade. Between his work as a founding member of renowned genre-crossing group Vampire Weekend, his contributions to records by artists like Frank Ocean, Solange, and Haim, and his own solo projects, Batmanglij has garnered a well-deserved reputation as a songwriter, producer, composer and musician, drawing on his classical training and an impressive range of creative influences.
Solo project Changephobia carries echoes of Rostam’s past compositions, but signals a new maturity, both in lyrical direction and orchestral experimentation, opening with an immediately insistent guitar riff on These Kids We Knew and building a landscape of sounds at once familiar and elaborate. Vocals and percussion are run through synths and distortion, interrupted and expanded by the calming themes of a baritone sax (played by Henry Solomon) on tracks like Unfold You and Kinney, while standout 4Runner carries the listener along in a rush of emotion, evoking long drives, meandering conversations, and picturesque landscapes slipping past in a charming blur. The structure feels episodic – the listener drifts in and out of the relationships that make up the focus of the record, never catching the full story but left with the impression of the love and care at their centre.
The album oscillates between calm and action, worry and certainty: each of these tracks has a distinct mood, but they blend together perfectly with a lightness and brevity characteristic of Rostam’s work, through lyrical imagery that seems to float (“On the pavement I was half alive / Half ocean, half sky” – Kinney). Touching on urgent questions both political and personal, Changephobia does not shy away from fear or shame, or the chaos of the outside world, but offers the listener an internally ordered space – in fragments, in moments, in the liminal energy of the backseat of a taxi – from which to process all of that.
Changephobia is released on 4th June 2021. For further information or to order the album visit Rostam’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Changephobia here: