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***Avan songstress AZITA has returned from wherever she goes when we can’t see her, and as always, she’s bearing drifts of music that shock us out of our reverie and into hers. The sounds of her new Year are bright, bold, surrealistic, playful—among the best songs you’re gonna hear in this or any other annum. Azita’s stance going back through the years has been bold, to say the least. It’s possible that audacious is a better word for it. Or worse—but extremity is part of the essence of her expression, whether in the form of extreme punk theatre with BRIDE OF NO NO and THE SCISSOR GIRLS, the electronic sounds on her solo debut, Music For Scrambled Brains, or the far reaches of piano pop music that she has surveyed on her albums Enantiodromia, Life On the Fly, How Will You? and Disturbing the Air. Whichever direction Azita is flying off into, she moves with preternatural conviction. Of course, this is just what we see down here on the ground. From her perspective, Azita’s just doing what she does and it’s totally normal. That’s what makes her such a compelling freak in our eyes—excuse me, artist—there’s a difference in gravity, and even among her peers in Chicago’s music and arts scene (of which she was voted 2011’s best singer-songwriter by the Chicago Reader), Azita stands apart. Why are we not surprised that these songs of Year were conceived for an avant-garde theatre piece? Azita has collaborated previously with playwright Brian Torrey-Scott, and as with the songs on her EP “Detail from the Mountain Side,” these collaborative songs represent a kinder, gentler Azita—almost childlike at times. Year is the closest anyone’s gotten to Nilsson’s The Point in a long time. (STREET DATE - 11/20/2012)