Siavash Amini – A Trail of Laughters

In the Achom district of this region, lies a mountain, with two caves, called Kaftâr Khal (The Path Of Hyenas). The tenebrous cave is home to a lake whose surface is covered by a stone platform.

I heard someone relate that they once ventured into the cave, “candles in our hands, we arrived at a lake circled by plants of a kind resembling pipes and reed pens. And we saw birds resting along the rim of the lake, their feathers ablaze with the fervid luminosity of gold. Upon seeing us and our lit candles, they took flight. Their wings were blazing like flames of fire. Surrounded by darkness and the wind, we betook ourselves without.”

And to behold a lake covered by stone, lying under mountain folds, and birds living in pure darkness, is wondrous. – Muhammad ibn Mahmoud Hamadâni – Book of Marvels*

A series of distressing dreams started this whole thing. A few years ago someone pointed out that my repeating dreams of being lost in what seemed to be a maze of pits, reminded them of stories about wonders of wells and pits in the Book of Marvels.

More than a year ago I started having those dreams again, so I read the book. There were similarities with a few of the stories but nothing more. One of the stories made an impression on me more than the others. After being done with the vain project of finding my dreams in a book from 12th century, I started obsessing about every detail of that certain story. Borrowing from distressing artifacts of my own subconscious and mixing them with all the details described or all the things left out of that particular one story, a musical project was starting to take shape in my mind.

Working outside the systems suggested by 12 tone equal temperament, has been a passion of mine from the start of my musical life. I released one track on my first EP doing that, a failed experiment. After that I kept on studying the subject. Whenever I got the chance, I tested out an idea borrowing from other systems of tuning and their suggested compositional techniques.

Imagining a musical equivalent to those distressing dreams and the scenes from the book was a very good opportunity to test out the oddest juxtapositions of the said systems, a formidable but suitable task. The sound, in my mind had to be murky, hazy, highly textured, crackling, resonant yet dingy and distant. It eventually took the shape of an album. The techniques I learned and used during the making of these pieces will remain in use in my musical activities for a long time. This album with all its shortcomings is about distressing dreams/ realities of being lost in the darkness of a pit and the sounds/creatures that lead you to it, based on my own dreams and a few lines from an old book. – Siavash Amini

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