Listen: Yasmine Hosseini – Ribbons

By Devon Chodzin

Photography courtesy of the artist

For a lot of people, tent camping is an odious experience. No matter what you do, the ground will always be too hard, the bugs will always be too loud, the fire will never burn long enough.

I often feel this helpless when I’m convinced to spend a weekend camping. But somehow, whenever I spin Ribbons, Yasmine Hosseini’s music transports me back in front of the rumbling campfire, roasting a marshmallow with one hand and cradling an iced tea with the other. It’s a summer eve and the sun has set. I’m camping, so nothing feels perfect, but with Ribbons playing in the background, everything feels perfect.

Hosseini’s Ribbons is a gift. An exercise in live instrumentation, the 5-track EP is a pensive and dreamy journey through the homey sensations of alt folk. “Mangoes” enters quietly, parking on my shoulders and rocking me gently, lulling me like the soft breeze off the lake. Hosseini kicks off “Certain Women” and “(Losing your Innocence is like Losing) Your Favorite Shoes” with sonorous and intricate guitar lines that bob and weave with her vocals, which lay low as the night sky. Despite their stark differences, these tracks leave me feeling painfully comfortable. 

Hosseni’s cover of “Walking to Oman’s” rumbles like a bonfire, and instead of laying the vocals thickly on top of the instrumentals like in the original, she lets her voice settle in the cracks that her live instruments leave open for her. The end result feels as comfortable as a just-washed hoodie. The closer, “Wolf,” ends the groovy campfire tunes and leaves me despondent:

There’s something about /
Your voice when it tells a lie /
It don’t like the smell of the words /
but you can’t hold back

“Wolf” brilliantly undoes every sense of comfort I’d conjured while listening to the rest of Ribbons, showing how Hosseini is a master of setting and resetting the mood. For a collection of this size, the record is courageous: between cutting lyrics and live instrumentation, Hosseini’s Ribbons takes me there and back. Whether it takes you to a lakeside campground or deep into the recesses of your psyche, this record is an absolute must-listen.

Devon (he/him) is a Cleveland-based event organizer. He loves radical theory, loud guitars, and hash browns. He lives on Twitter.