sote - parallel persia


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'Pivotal Iranian artist Ata Ebtekar mounts a head-buzzing debut for Diagonal, pushing microtonal tunings and timbres into mind-bending geometrical designs that echo the modular synth + strings formulæ of Dariush Dolat-Shahi for Smithsonian Folkways, but keen much deeper into noisy, uncanny valleys of modernist perceptual exploration ‘Parallel Persia’ presents the latest iteration of Sote’s restlessly searching sound which has been in action for 30 years now.

Commissioned for an AV performance at Donau festival in 2018, the album is a natural extension of his stunning ‘Sacred Horror In Design’ LP with Opal Tapes, feeding classical Iranian music tropes into a computer and modular synths to diffract and detach their meaning and operation, open them up to strange possibilities of electro-acoustic practice in the process.

But more than ever in ‘Parallel Persia’, his focus turns from percussion to tonal relationships, combining various synthesis techniques and instrumental recordings at the service of a holistic voice and “locked timbre”, or more simply a poetic way of uniting his sounds into a brilliant aural energy.

As Ebtekar explains, “Conceptually, Parallel Persia deals with the illusion and creation of an artificial hyperreal culture manipulated and controlled by an imperious agency somewhere within all galaxies. Like all realities, greed and arrogance channels destruction of life. However, the path to havoc includes resistance via beauty, grace and symmetry.

Snapshots of an apocryphal Iran is presented via sonic schematics for a synthetic “Meta Persian” experience. This experience can be in our present day life or maybe somewhere else somehow differently in a parallel world...”

In this surreal noumenal space, Sote triggers a series of beguiling chain reactions that resonate throughout each track, with electronic frequencies modulating the acoustic and vice-versa in a dizzying and mathematically sound “euphonious complete whole.” Here, the Tar and Santur initially sound like themselves in ‘Modality Transporter’, but by the end of this opener they are transformed into ribboning tendrils of extruded electronics, and continue to morph in fascinating ways, joined by unearthly voices in ‘Brass Tacks’, and pulled into bittersweet taffy on ‘Atomic Hypocrisy’, while utterly upending our proprioceptions in ‘Trans Force’, and ancient-futuristic chants and dance rhythms working in parallel dimensions to Rashad Becker in ‘Pipe Dreams’, until he’s speaking in a purely singular language of unique intonation and shatterproof, beatless rhythm on ‘Pseudo Scholastic’.'

Tracklist -

1.Modality Transporter
2.Brass Tacks
3.Atomic Hypocrisy
4.Trans Force
5.Pipe Dreams
6.Alpha Terrain of Disease
7.Pseudo Scholastic

Pseudo Scholastic

Alpha Terrain of Disease

Modality Transporter

Pipe Dreams