Belgium £16.50 (including postage)
Europe £18.50 (including postage)
Rest of world £23 (including postage)
Limited edition of 200 copies
There, Pouya Ehsaei’s debut album,
processes samples of traditional Iranian
music to reveal the rage hidden beneath
Pouya Ehsaei is an Iranian sound artist
currently residing in the UK.
While every instrumental album is
open to interpretation, some beg to be discussed. Pouya Ehsaei’s There is one
of them. This ambitious work from the Iranian sound artist introduces Iranian music samples, then pulverises them
with processing and electronics. If this work arose from outside the nation, it might be questioned, but its authenticity
is never in doubt. If anything, the music comes across as inside journalism from
a native observer.
The samples are heard in plinks and plonks, typically at the beginning of tracks, dissipating like individual droplets in a downpour. But sub-melodies hide throughout the work, inhabiting the background like serfs in the presence
of a king. At times, all that can be heard is their low-level hum, a choral echo,
a repressed populace, a buried pride. Ahmad Shamliu’s prison poems come across as radio chatter, sound and fury,
dropped transmissions whose tone
bears the weight of their visceral power. And over it all, like a mist of regret, a fog of indecision, a cloud of unknowing,
an electronic shroud blocks out the light, whitewashes the history, substitutes
itself for the truth; and nothing stands in its way.
Richard Allen at A Closer Listen
Engrossing debut album from Iranian sound artist, Pouya Ehsaei, sublimating samples of traditional Iranian music
to “reveal the rage hidden beneath its melancholia.” There was produced
in 2010, using fractured and brutally
processed instrumentation indigenous
to Iran to isolate a palpable feeling of tension articulated with a timbre
unique to the artist’s background.
In the course of its six pieces we perceive a stark and grinding sadness from his aerated arrangements, gleaning elusive emotions from a rich, whisked swirl of glistening tones that remain dangerously high in the mix, sustaining and imparting a perpetually heightened state of sensitivity that either makes each ornate shimmer and glisten cut like
a piano string garotte, or accentuates
the feeling of frustrated detachment and
confusion in the two pieces employing Ahmad Shamliu’s indecipherable
reading of poems written whilst in prison in 1954. As listeners, we’ve long been drawn to the deep melancholy of recordings created or informed by this region, from Muslimgauze to Honest Jon’s archival collections, thru to recordings by Dariush Dolat-Shahi or Touch’s Sohrab. Understandably,
we’d fileThere in that precious pile.
Photo by Tara Fatehi