Boomkat Product Review:
Iranian-American producer Aria Rostami takes cues from John Luther Adams on 'Allegory', using crumbling tape loops and nuanced drones to counter perpetual chaos.
For over a decade now, Brooklyn-based Rostami has been developing his compositional language, releasing albums on labels like Jacktone, Dark Entries and Geographic North, and collaborating extensively with San Francisco's Daniel Blomquist. On 'Allegory' he considers forces of nature, letting himself surrender to choices he isn't completely in control of and embracing, or at least responding to, the disorder of the world around him. It's surprising then that his elegant washes of textured ambience and reverberating Harold Budd-style piano phrases are so meditative and peaceful.
Rostami's not-so-secret weapon is his tape recorder, and the saturation it imparts on his elegiac harmonies just pulls it away from the edge of melodrama. On 'Thirsty Moon', he melts gravelly environmental recordings into terse, dissonant strings, but before it gets too grim the atmosphere is warmed by muted piano fidgets. There's a sense of restraint in his production that sounds as if he's writing with Lawrence English or Tim Hecker-style power ambient in mind, but turning the gain down at the last moment. 'Become Ocean (Once Again)' might be bombastic if it was slammed through a guitar amp, but Rostami is careful to control the output, calming seas of white noise with gossamer harmonies.