Adventurous releases by Iranian artists (2015)

The experimental scene in Iran may be on the smallish side but it has a long tradition with composers such as Dariush Dolat-Shahi and Alireza Mashayekhi producing electronic compositions since the 60s.

2015 saw a number of notable releases with increased interest in Iranian artists. Without wanting this to be a “best of” here’s a selection of 10 albums from last year by release date and one compilation of experimental electronic music out on Bitrot, a new label based in Tehran.

Through the Winter Woods – Tegh and Kamyar Tavakoli

“Both based in Tehran, this collaborative project sees the duo using processed guitars, synths and field recordings to create densely textured pieces inspired by their urban surroundings. Both solo artists in their own right, the duo also work together under the name Artirial but were looking to branch out and try something a bit different for this EP. Having gathered various field recordings they began experimenting with new approaches to shaping sounds and textures, resulting in a diverse collection of pieces. The final product was mastered by Lawrence English at Room 40 headquarters.”

Released March 13, 2015

Vanishing Point – Arash Akbari

“Iran’s Arash Akbari’s Vanishing Point nestles into inbetween places, revelling in the indistinct, the delicate and the mysterious. Bringing together field recordings taken from northern Iran, guitar and electronics, this is a late night album, an album which soothes, a set of sounds to think to. This is an album which lingers in the margins of consciousness, it conjures images gently, caresses them and ever so slowly lets them fade from view. With last year’s heralded Cracked Echoes on the excellent French label Soft Akbari established himself as an emerging talent within the ambient scene. With Vanishing Points he cements his reputation as one of the genre’s most exciting new talents.”

Released 30 April 2015

Arrhythmia – Sote

“Continuing his exploration of high energy and intense electronic music without traditional percussion, Sote aka Ata Ebtekar unleashes a new digital full length mastered by Noel Summerville called Arrhythmia, his 3rd release for Record Label Records.”

Released May 2015

Should Have Been Done By Now is the debut album from Tehran based Nima Pourkarimi under his Umchunga guise (named after the Mira Calix song, ‘Umchunga Locks’). Although this is his debut release he has collaborated with the likes of Tegh and Kamyar Tavakoli whose ‘Through The Winter Woods’ we released earlier this year. Using guitar, synths and vocals along with field recordings and electronic processing, Umchunga has created an album of atmospheric drones and static noise. Having recorded several tracks, Pourkarimi selected six to reflect a particular state of mind in which he found himself at the time.

Released 13 July 2015

Submarine – Idelfon

“Following his well-received debut album ‘Intensive Collectivity Known As City’, Idelfon now presents his latest works titled ‘Submarine‘. Continuing his infectious style of producing lush atmospheres and haunting melodies, marked by melancholic beats and wondrous soundscapes, ‘Submarine’ floats effortlessly from one song to the next, offering a welcomed escape from the chaos of this world. With five engaging new songs, Idlefon gently embraces the listener with a striking array of ambient sounds, locking in impressive rhythmic structures that flow through underlying static and echoing melodies. A soulful and reflective journey, ‘Submarine’ melts and pulses within itself, in turn resulting in a deeply resonating listening experience.”

Released August 18, 2015

Absence of Motion – Alphaxone

Alphaxone is back with his third album on Cryo Chamber, a truly moving experience with smooth reverbs, multi-layered ambience and intricate subtle compositions. Alphaxone sets a new bar for himself when it comes to production quality, recommended for spacefaring audiophiles.

Released August 25, 2015

Sibbe – Aria Rostami

“As a child of immigrants from Iran, San Francisco’s Rostami came to understand that even his own idea of Iran comes from a specific cohort of the Iranian diaspora living in America and that his view of Persian culture is not the full picture. So what is the full picture? How accurate is our understanding of the world in general? On Sibbe, SIbbe II, and Sibbe III Rostami uses processed field recordings sent to him from Tehran, Kerman and Taipei to insert glimpses of Asia, one of the largest and often over simplified groupings of “The Other.” Rostami also incorporated much of his own instrumentation including Piano, Turkish Tar, Melodica, Glockenspiel, Vocals, Synthesizer, Violin and Computer. The representations of outside cultures are only glimpsed at and often left fighting against masses of information and sound.”

Released September 2015

Resonance – Arovane + Hatami

“Arovane (Germany) and Porya Hatami (Iran) got in touch back in 2014 and quickly formed the idea of an album made from different sampling/synthesis techniques (granular, modal, additive, wavetable) and all kind of effect processing. They finished it in 2015.”

Released 30 September 2015

Subsiding – Siavash Amini

“Prominent Iranian artist Siavash Amini continues a triptych of works with ‘Subsiding’, an album of instrumental ambient drone. His most full and detailed sound to date illustrates Amini’s ability to bring together modern classical composition with that of controlled noise, granular synthesis, and atmospheric soundscape. Both monolithic and micro sound sculptures coexist within a perfect balance, a mix which makes for an all encompassing listen across the audio spectrum, funereal yet uplifting. Complete with striking cover photography by Alex Kozobolis, “Subsiding” will be available on glass-mastered CD in digipack sleeves (run of 200) and digital formats.”

Released 2 November 2015

Syzygys – 9T Antiope

“9T Antiope’s main focus is on experimental music, using layers of acoustic instruments and electronics, combined with mesmerizing vocals and lyrics. From tiny bits to huge landscapes – the narrations of an alien world and its inhabitants which 9T Antiope have envisioned put their listeners in a shvering trance. Syzygys conveys elegant modernity with a cold tribal touch.”

Released 11 December 2015

Kollektive 1 – AA/VV

Kollektive 1 is a compilation by the newly formed Bitrot, an independent and artist-run record label based in Tehran, Iran. The first edition of Kollektive brings together musicians from Iran, Mexico, Ukraine, Greece, France, Russia, Netherlands, U.S, U.K and Canada.

Release 13 December 2015

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