The best thing that has happened to me in 2016
By Ankitha Gopal
This album, I think is one of my most played albums. In all my playlists, at least a couple of these songs make an appearance. There is so much emotion behind every song and the intricacy makes me so happy, I love hearing every song! Ranging from the slower and sadder feel of "10 Hours Too Late" to the exciting manor of "Midnight Chaos".. I just can't get enough of this album.
Fans of the powerful, piano-based and emotionally-charged music that made Yanni famous in the early years of his career, take heed! I would like to introduce you to Amir Khostavan, a composer/pianist/keyboardist/guitarist with the same kind of musical energy and passion as his Greek predecessor but who is by no means a clone or a wannabe. Khostavan wrote and recorded his first piece at the age of 7 and released it on a major Iranian label in 1992. He often appeared on television performing his own compositions - even before he started piano lessons. Khostavan wrote hundreds of songs throughout his teens, eventually abandoning the piano for the electric guitar and playing in and writing music for punk rock bands. He eventually earned his audio engineering certification from the Los Angeles Recording School and started bringing the piano back into his music. Khostavan returned home to Los Gatos, CA and opened his own music academy. "XVII" is his first album and contains ten original compositions that feature piano, strings, electric guitar, percussion, and so much more. Comparisons to Yanni are inevitable, but Khostavan describes his music as a combination of Yanni and Hans Zimmer with a bit of Ludovico Einaudi and Yiruma. This is really exciting music and I’m anxious to help get the word out about this debut album!
"XVII" begins with “Midnight Chaos,” a high-energy piece with a big, orchestrated sound swirling around the piano - and then the electric guitar takes over. What is really interesting about this piece is how Khostavan has seamlessly woven together elements of ethnic, hard rock, symphonic classical, and soundtrack music, easily moving from one to the next. It’s a great first impression! “San Remo” starts out serenely with piano, strings and light percussion. Its poignant and touching melody becomes much bigger and more dramatic, quiets, and then swells to full orchestration and piano - a great romantic ballad that gently fades out at the end. “Levitate” introduces ethnic instrumentation in addition to the piano, electric guitar and flute - colorful, energetic and often intense. “Reminor” is something of a mysterious waltz for piano and strings - beautiful! Although very sad, “10 Hours Too Late” is mostly piano with some sound effects - late-night musings from the heart. Strings are added here and there to enhance the poignance of the gorgeous melody. “Chambers” is a favorite. It begins with flowing broken chords on the piano and string washes in the background. More instrumentation is added as the piece evolves, but the piano stays in the lead, becoming ever more passionate and emotional - love it! I don’t know how anyone’s fingers can move as fast as Khostavan’s do on the piano keys in “Phoenix,” a powerful and triumphant celebration. I really like this one, too, and the way it combines several cultures and genres of music. “Over the Airwaves” pulls out all the stops for the closing track of the album. Piano and cello start it off, adding percussion and more orchestration for a big emotional swell that continues through the most of the piece, then suddenly dropping down to guitar and piano and fading out. Wow!
"XVII" is a fantastic debut and I predict great things for Amir Khostavan! Very highly recommended!
By Ken Shadman Ota
A collection of beautiful notes strung together with the intention of painting a portrait of deep emotions.
The song San Remo is unequivocally the most touching piece of music I have ever listened to. I grew up with Amir and have had the opportunity to listen to almost everything that he has written over the years.
There are songs in our lives that that get us through tough times. San Remo is one of those for me. Love the song so much I play it on the piano all the time.
I'm so glad Amir has the ability to share his art with the world.
By Mike Tavan
One of the best piano instrumental albums that I’ve heard. Beautiful background, music, and arrangement. The orchestration is top notch and the songs are filled with touching melodies. Highly highly recommended!
LOOOOOOOVE this album
I think this is Amir Khostavan's best work. I can not get enough of his music. His compositions and production showcase his maturity of his music and they are in parr with a number of other composers like Yanni. This album has become my go to music at home, work and driving. I especially like to listen to it in high volume. His mastery of piano is delightful and rich. His rendition of the cover piece "Golden Dreams" is very unique. Bringing in the master violinist, Shawyon Malek, in Reminor and Ghosts is brilliant. I can't wait for the next album.
Excellent original compositions and superb production. I hear influences of Yanni, Hans Zimmer, classical, and more. Wide range of emotions, complex and yet very listenable. My favorites are "Chambers" and "Over the airwaves". Give this collection more than one listen. It will grow on you quickly!
Can't get enough
Love this album. Masterful piano playing and melodies. Arrangements in the vein of Yanni. Favorite song right now is Reminor. Beautiful!
A masterpiece of composition and performance
By Magesh J.
XVII is an absolute joy to listen to. If anything, it proves that Amir Khostavan is a brilliant composer and a virtuoso on the piano. The music in this album, while distinctly original, reminds me a lot of two other pianists I loved growing up, Yanni and Richard Clayderman. If you enjoy listening to either of them or to musicians like them, you will love XVII.
The range of emotions this album captures is truly remarkable -- there are tracks that are uplifting, some that are mellow, many that are joyful and even some melancholic. Whatever my mood, there's always something in XVII I would enjoy listening to. This is a testament to the versatility of the album and of Khostavan. My personal favorites are San Remo and Ghosts, two tracks I've listened to dozens of times in just the past month.
If you're a fan of classical piano, easy listening and/or soft rock I would highly recommend picking up and listening to XVII. You won't regret it.