by Chris Conde
Here at the Current we are bombarded with endless emails and notifications from out-of-town bands on tour, regional and local bands wanting us to do write-ups for their project, tour or show their playing. Sometimes combing through it all can be a bit tedious, but every once in a while, a diamond in the rough will reveal itself, re-affirming our faith that San Antonio indeed is a hot-spot for growing local talent.
A couple days ago we received a submission from an artist that we hadn't really heard about and were absolutely blown away.
Sorush Ranjbar's project, Granite Hands is seriously a hidden gem in the local music scene here and his new album Don't Do It, which was released on June 30, absolutely deserves to see the light of day.
Born in Tehran, Iran, Ranjbar moved to San Antonio with his parents at the the tender age of one and attended Clark High School before pursuing a bachelors in bio-chemistry at UTSA.
Through failed attempts to collaborate with other musicians in high school and college, due to their lack of interest in the type of music he wanted to write, Ranjbar came to the conclusion that he maybe didn't need to lean on other musicians to execute his vision.
“I was like ‘fuck this, I’m going to learn how to do it myself" Ranjbar told the Current and explained that while he was at UTSA, he learned how to program his own drums and write material as a solo artist.
With use of live instruments and audio programs like, Reaper, Ableton Lite, and Audacity, Ranjbar constructs instrumental, jazz-fusion movements that waltz in and out of the realms of post-hardcore, djent, and atmospheric post-rock. Though his music is definitely on the avant-garde edge of rock and jazz fusion, there are moments of melodic guitar notations that lend just enough pop-aesthetic to be palatable to a broad audience.
Naming The Mars Volta and The Fall Of Troy as big influences on Don't Do It, Ranjbar demonstrates a mastery over his style of guitar playing which is punctuated with polyrhythms, staccato jabs, and swirling, almost improvisational-sounding, jazz riffs and chord progressions. It's apparent in songs like the spastic "Icicle Man," and the psychedelic corridors of the title track "Don't Do It," which tip the hat towards the guitar stylings of Omar Rodriguez Lopez from At The Drive In/Mars Volta.
Though Ranjbar has recorded, engineered and composed all his own material, he reached out to drummer Cesar De Los Santos and bassist Erik Wisloff after the release of his first EP Eventhorizon back in March 2015 to try performing some of his material live. From November 2015 to June of 2016, the three piece played a handful of shows as Granite Hands but went on a somewhat permanent hiatus after Ranjbar moved to California to pursue a job at a startup.
However, after living on the West Coast for nearly a year, Ranjbar decided he wasn’t willing to give up on his music quite yet. “I realized that this is the end of me playing music ‘cause I [wouldn’t] have time,” said Ranjbar, who eventually decided to quit his job and move back to San Antonio last month.
Ranjbar is currently hammering out plans to get a live band back together again and premiere these new songs live at a future album release show, but until then, we'll just have blast Don't Do It on repeat at the office.
For more information on upcoming shows and releases visit the Granite Hands Facebook here.