Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, And Shahzad Ismaily Announce ‘Love In Exile’

The group shared the project’s first single, ‘To Remain / To Return.’

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Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, and Shahzad Ismaily - Photo: Ebru Yildiz
Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, and Shahzad Ismaily - Photo: Ebru Yildiz

Musicians Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, and Shahzad Ismaily have announced a collaborative album, Love In Exile, out March 24 on Verve Records. To herald the announcement they have shared the lead single “To Remain / To Return.”

“Our music is a process,” says Vijay Iyer. “This fragment of ‘To Remain / To Return’ reveals not just the melody but the birth of a song. I hear Shahzad and myself establishing these haunted cycles, then slowly and delicately transforming them, as Arooj glides across like a dark moon.”

Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, Shahzad Ismaily - To Remain/To Return (Visualizer)

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“This piece holds, at its core, the delicately unfolding emotion of separation anxiety induced fury (see: love, self exile) between two people who are deeply connected,” Arooj Aftab explains further. “One is leaving and the other is asking them to stay. The former is saying ‘I will leave but I will also return’; in better form for the both of us.”

“We all provide the best we can,” adds Shahzad Ismaily. “In my case it’s euclidean rhythms, crystals to hold the oceanic beauty of Vijay’s keys and the silent raven of Arooj’s voice. We grow to the company that we keep; I am both fortunate and grateful.”

Love In Exile asks you to step inside its sense of time, to stretch out alongside these delightful and unhurriedly unfolding songs. Profound impact is achieved with minimal instrumentation: Vijay Iyer on pianos and electronics, Shahzad Ismaily on bass and Moog synth, and Arooj Aftab’s exquisite Urdu vocals.

Subtle musical interrelationships build into moments of deeply felt drama. Shimmering keyboard melodies and stirring vocals, earthy basslines, and hypnotic drones: together they create an album of stunning gravitas and beauty. Love In Exile was recorded live in a New York City studio with minimal editing, and each listen reveals distinct aspects of this soundworld, sure as it will activate new feelings inside you.

Pre-order Love In Exile.

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