Imagine not having a legal voice, not being able to express an opinion without fear of arrest. Such is the situation in many parts of the world. In terms of this release, it relates to the oppression in Iran that inspired the Green Revolution – citizens speaking from their own rooftops in order to be heard.
Dictaphone has been quiet for a few years, but returns with a new relevance and a new member, violinist Alexander Stolze. His presence lends the project an even fuller vibe than usual. Follow the violin throughout the recording, and one will get the impression that Poems from a Rooftop is an album of modern composition. Follow the bass, and one will imagine a smoky jazz session. Follow the electronics, and one will picture a Middle Eastern chill-out room. One would think these elements would fight against each other, but they do not. Poems from a Rooftop is an elegant blend of all three, akin to the blending of Arabica beans in a fine coffee.
While Dictaphone has only light political aspirations, its music makes a strong political statement. With so many countries edging toward democracy, political tension continues to run high. Nations yearn for dictators to be deposed, but squabble when attempting to form representative governments. Even modern democracies, such as the U.S., have begun to polarize. Songs from a Rooftop presents a world in which disparate voices are both fully present and fully heard, a seeming impossibility that finds fruition in these tracks. All are invited to the table. Everyone has a voice. Differences breed harmony rather than dissent. When played from a rooftop, this album may be as quiet as a poem, but it carries the power of a manifesto. (Richard Allen)
Release date: April 13