Boomkat Product Review:
This album is incredible - a highly complex but beautifully fluid traversal of Iranian folk music and modular synthesis that reminds us of Dariush Dolat-Shahi’s unparalleled ‘Electronic Music, Tar and Sehtar’ with its fantastically creative sense of freedom and abstract expression, pulling us deep into uncanny valleys of hyper modernism bursting with ideas and a sense of disrupted harmony that’s hard to absorb in one sitting. One of the most original, multi-layered things we’ve heard this year - a huge recommendation.
Ata Ebtekar’s restlessly searching sound has been in action for 30 years now and first appeared on our radar two decades ago with his debut 12” for Warp. Over the years he’s released on half a dozen labels - with Morphine, Sub Rosa and Opal Tapes among them - but this latest work for Diagonal has hit us like no other. On ‘Parallel Persia’, Ebtekar finds a poetic way of uniting his sounds into a brilliant aural energy that absorbs centuries of tradition before feeding into a new dimension of musical exploration.
Triggering a series of beguiling chain reactions that resonate throughout each track with electronic frequencies modulating the acoustic and vice-versa, Sote gradually re-sets templates to take us through a wormhole into an alternate reality, the Parallel Persia of the title. On the opening ‘Modality Transporter’, traditional Tar and Santur lay bare, unbothered by synthesis - but by the end of the track they become gradually transformed into ribboning tendrils of extruded electronics that continue to morph in fascinating ways. On ‘Brass Tacks’ they’re joined by unearthly, treated voices, before being pulled into bittersweet taffy on ‘Atomic Hypocrisy’, and utterly upending our proprioceptions in ‘Trans Force’, and the ancient-futuristic chants and dance rhythms recalling Rashad Becker in ‘Pipe Dreams’, until the whole thing ends in a purely singular language of unique intonation and shatterproof, beatless rhythms on ‘Pseudo Scholastic’.
‘Parallel Persia’ explores a subtle, gradual transformation into the unknown that’s both dizzying and inspirational, a reminder that pushing boundaries and templates works best when those boundaries are fully appreciated and understood. Innovation often births chaos and disruption, but beauty and symmetry, ultimately, prevail.