Foras – meaning ‘outside’ in Latin – is Amini’s sophomore album on Swiss label Hallow Ground, and his sixth solo venture in six years. The Iranian artist continues to study the relationship between the mind and the outside environment which surrounds it.
A monstrous and often brutal assault of white noise and unabashed dissonance has been the prime weapon in Amini’s arsenal for years, and this album only elevates the cognitive dissonance, amplifying the humming static in an ill mind and an environment that see-saws between urban decay and antisocial messages, of plastic bags limping through midnight streets and the litter of discarded coffee cups nestling into the green belt; in short, these things shouldn’t be here, this shouldn’t be happening, this wasn’t in the script…and this is how dissonance, both cognitive and musical – gets in.
The four tracks on FORAS are also contradictory – some moments are as quiet as the inside of a church, prayerfully passing by in a state of near-silence – but this only helps to write out in a bold font the ongoing rivalry between noise and harmony, between outside chaos and inner peace. Instead of crumbling in the aftermath of wild noise, the music rebuilds patiently (these four tracks equate to something like thirty-eight minutes), giving the music plenty of time to rest as it navigates through its stressed stanzas, finding a moment to sleep in a spell of sleeplessness. A lament falls into the quiet zone, dragging the music down, a weeping statue of Madonna holding her crucified son in her blessed arms. Sorrow fuses itself to the bone, and the album itself explores how sorrow relates to and is often triggered by space (and sounds). Landscapes and buildings are absorbed into the mind, into its experiences, and we drink them in like morning juice, the outer world passing into the inner world via perception and the five senses, and then subsequently influencing the psychological status quo. So much of life is perception, and the way we look out of the window. If it’s raining, you can either moan and be negative, or you can be thankful for the ending of a drought, and for a new opportunity to listen to the downpour’s watering of the earth.
You can weep at the state of things, sure. Bad news has always made the headlines because it sells newspapers. But there’s still some good in the world, and in the music. Psychogeography is present, secreted away inside the music, mapping out the environment’s direct effect on the mind, be it the conscious or the subconscious; having a direct impact on the mind’s actions and responses, influencing and controlling an individual’s behaviour. Those actions then shape the outer world, be it for good, for ill, or for neither, a cycle without end, like music herself. Clustered together like an insane archipelago, the noise never disrupts the overall flow of the music. Amini explores the inner world through events in the outside world, most of which cannot be controlled. Its complex sounds are dark, but they aren’t without hope. Amini’s field recordings take in areas where ‘ a deep sense of darkness looms’, and the lightless corners can be heard in the music, giving it a dirtied and disquieting vibe, of glass permanently stained with dried blood rather than luminosity, but something still clings on to the hope that comes with daylight.