AMN Reviews: Reza Solatipour – The Gate (2019; Eighth Tower Records)

Dripping with tension, The Gate is the latest release from Tehran’s Reza Solatipour. We were briefly introduced to his work in the Visions of Darkness compilation. In short, this album might be what you’d get if Lustmord went further toward the dark side – a set of grueling tracks featuring pulsing, deep drones and ambient waves along with electronics and synthetic percussion.

Each of The Gate‘s ten offerings has a distinct pattern and texture that probably could be classified based on the length and frequency of the drones, the extent of manipulated acoustic sounds, and the amount of industrial influence. But the album as a whole has a hazy feel to its production, evoking mist-cloaked streets and the rhythms of distant machines with the occasional low-register boomlet. As instances of these elements, Reach the End offers windswept soundscapes with barely-discernable voices punctuated by a sparse stringed-bass chord pattern, while Among the Signs presents dissonantly-processed samples over layers of ominous drones and breathy vocalizations. On the other hand, Collapse is based around a non-Western drum pattern, waves of static, and bassy rumblings.

Like many of the most interesting and compelling releases, The Gate provides fodder for multiple listenings each of which revealing yet another aspect of the music thereon. I found myself slowly raising the volume as I progressed through this album, as so much detail is subtlely contained in the lower registers. What begins as a fairly run-of-the-mill dark ambient effort rapidly morphs into something far more interesting. Bravo.

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