AMN Reviews: Various Artists – Anthology Of Persian Experimental Music Vol. II (2020; Unexplained Sounds Group)

In 2016, Unexplained Sounds Group released an unusual and compelling compilation album, Anthology of Persian Experimental Music. Here, the label follows up with an equally fascinating sample of sound art coming from Iran. Due to the current geopolitical climate, Iranian artists are often unable to export their works, though happily, some like these manage to slip through customs.

Anthology Of Persian Experimental Music Vol. II offers up almost 80 minutes of cutting edge experimental music from this overlooked region, most of which focuses on various combinations of dark ambient, industrial, noise, and more traditional Middle-Eastern styles. For instance, Shahin Souri and Alireza Amirhajebi sculpt raw noise into shifting walls, with the latter adding in synth and knob-twisting elements. Force Ignore, Ali Ostovar, and Ali Latif Shushtari offer up the traditional-sounding pieces, updated with modern atmospheres and feel. Coming in as favorites, for this listener at least, are the more well-known Xerxes the Dark and Reza Solatipour, who combine dark ambiance with electroacoustic cracking and effects. And speaking of dark ambient, Alphaxone fits that bill with haunting layers of synth.

If this is the kind of vibrant music coming from the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities, it is a shame that it is impractical for many of us to visit and experience the scene in person. Nonetheless, this compilation provides the next best thing – a diverse set of tracks that are appealing as they are strange. Strong recommendation.