DJ and Producer Ardalan has released his debut LP, ‘Mr. Good’, which captures a distinctive and emotional look into the heart and mind of a young artist. It’s a coming-of-age tale and an aural exploration of the producer’s path—from growing up in his two homes of Iran and San Francisco, to finding success and grappling with the sacrifice that comes with it. The story unfolds across eleven tracks produced amongst the crests and valleys that define the perpetual search for creative freedom.
‘Mr. Good’ is housed on DIRTYBIRD, who to Ardalan is more of a second family than it is his label home. As a nascent raver living sans parents in San Francisco, the teenage artist began his relationship with the brand at its very first BBQ event in 2007; by 2010 his career set sail with his Justin Martin collaboration “Mr. Spock”, and two years later he found himself living with his production partner. After cultivating his career and giving him a safe place to experiment, Ardalan returns the boundless love and support he’s received from DIRTYBIRD over the years with a forward-thinking record that enters the imprint into an inspiring new chapter. About the LP, he said:
Listen 'Mr. Good' :
In pushing his sound into the future, Ardalan looks to the past. ‘Mr. Good’ brims with analog accents from a carefully curated collection of hardware the producer has built over the years—adding a classic feel to an otherwise futuristic project. Instruments like the iconic Yamaha SP1200 and a Deckard’s Dream add warmth to the breaks number “Lift Up”, and a spacey element to the proceeding “Happy Place”, and in the penultimate “Zombie Village”. “Osci” is bursting with vintage appeal.
Ardalan’s Iranian roots also play a heavy role in the album’s inspiration. His musicianship began in Iran, where his adoration of the artform was bred into him from a saxophonist father and a mother who was once a singer. While he draws a lot of his inspiration from melodic dance music of today, he writes with the minor key and melancholic melodies that come from the music of the country he was born in.
This motif ties into the larger story ‘Mr. Good’ tells; the poignant “I Can’t Wait”, for example, conveys the isolation that can take over when one chooses the life of a touring artist, and the necessity of finding balance between family and gigs. The brooding “Mr. Bad” is an expression of inevitable human imperfection. Meanwhile ‘Mr. Good’s’ title track utilizes minor harmonies beneath otherwise breezy melodic parts—and ode to the mask often shown to the outside world in an effort to hide one’s inner “Mr. Bad”.
Ultimately what Ardalan has created in ‘Mr. Good’ is something bold, unexpected, and entirely his own. Genres are fused together and twisted into captivating new takes on house, techno, and beyond. It is with a sense of vulnerability and maturity that Ardy turns towards this next chapter, with the malleable future of dance music at his heels and the full support from the label that raised him.