Boomkat Product Review:
Split across four albums and an impressive 42 tracks, 'Girih' showcases the Iranian experimental scene's diversity and energy, with contributions from Leila, Ash Koosha, Tegh, Rojin Sharafi, Siavash Amini and others.
Trust Ata Ebtekar (aka Sote) to put together a compilation so epic that it's almost impossible to sift through in a single sitting. The album was originally released on four tapes, and cleverly uses the symbolism of girih ("knot" in Farsi), the geometric patterns that have been seen in Iranian art and architecture since the 11th century, to loop together not just a wide array of artists, but a diverse spread of musical styles. And there's just so much good stuff on here it's impossible to go over everything. Our long-time fave Leila Arab gets two tracks, the mystifying concrète sketch 'Zoom Stairs' and the lengthier hypnotic melter 'In Sustain', eight minutes of giddy synths that can't help but remind us of the melodies that drew us into 'Like Weather' way back in '98. New Zealand-based Mo H. Zareei, aka mhz, who's released on Line and Important in recent years, takes us back to Autechre's early electro-flecked days with the twitchy 'Saturation in C ex F', and SET Collective's Shahin Entezami, aka Tegh, experiments with dynamics on 'Selected Narratives', pushing dusty ambience and unhinged oscillations into deafening, overdriven noise.
Rojin Sharafi, who since the release of 'Girih' has put out two albums on Ebtekar's Zabte Sote imprint and one on Vienna's Ventil Records, makes a forbidding statement on 'Pulp', counteracting wormy synths with amorphous electronic and acoustic drums that careen into what sounds like 8-bit hardstyle. The ace Temp-Illusion meanwhile, last seen giving the thumbs up to Matt Berry on their PTP tape 'Failsafe', weave a dense web of DSP burps and spine-tingling screams on the aptly-titled 'Macabre', and composer and professor Idin Samimi Mofakham forms CD skips into grungy techno on 'Stochastic Dance Music'. It's a fathoms deep portal into the Iranian scene that'll have you chewing over its ideas for months.