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Siavash Amini * Amini & Umchunga

Amini - Umchunga

Foras

SIAVASH AMINI – FORAS  Also on Spotify

Foras (meaning ‘Outside’ in Latin) is Siavash Amini‘s sixth solo album in six years, and his second release for Hallow Ground. With four track covering 38 minutes it is a relatively short album, but Amini does not need more than that to express what he wants to.

The opener First Came Their Shadows warns us for what’s to come, with sonic outbursts as well as foreboding calm. The track titles reveal that the atmosphere will not get much ‘lighter’: Aporia (‘the expression of doubt’, definitely the noisiest track of the set), The Beclouding, Shadow of their Shadows.

Foras want to explore ‘how individual sorrow relates to and is triggered by space’, focusing on ‘how landscapes and buildings connect to and transform the inside world and thus the psychological experience’.
Using field recordings he made ‘in places over which a deep sense of darkness looms’, he blends ‘harsh electronic noise with lush granular synthesis and classical composition techniques.’ With four intense, deep soundscapes as a result, a ‘complex sound world that is haunted also by hope and compassion’.


Amini - Umchunga

SIAVASH AMINI & UMCHUNGA – THE BRIGHTEST WINTER SUN

The Brightest Winter Sun was released almost simultaneously with Foras, but on a different label (Flaming Pines). Here, Siavash Amini teams up with Umchunga (Nima Pourkarimi, also from Iran) who released his debut album Should Have Been Done By Now  on Hibernate in 2015.
The depth and emotional impact of these soundscapes are similar to those on Foras, but the ‘tone of voice’ is quite different: widely cinematic, more open perhaps, more optimistic even?

This may have something to do with the fact that this is a collaboration. But it may also have originated from the underlying concept: the ‘disoriented drunken drones’  are ‘drawn from the work of long dead composers.’
Amini and Umchunga reinterpret (piano) compositions of late 18th and 19th century composers in a way that renders them completely unrecognisable – ‘by depriving these compositions of one their most prominent characteristics namely thematic and tonal development and progression’.

For most tracks, you will have a hard time recognising the composers and their compositions. But the titles are a clue: each track points to the year in which the composer in question passed away. So Google is your friend here. You’ll probably be surprised (I was).

The Brightest Winter Sun is released on cassette and as a digital download.

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Pleq & Giulio Aldinucci; Umchunga; Dronny Darko & ProtoU; Matthew Atkins

Dronny Darko & ProtoU

Pleq + Giulio

PLEQ & GIULIO ALDINUCCI – THE PRELUDE TO
Italian electroacoustic artist Giulio Aldinucci (also known as Obsil) meets Polish experimental wizard Bartosz Dziadosz (aka Pleq). The opening (title) track was their first collaboration, previously published on Home Normal’s Elements 5They continued working together after that, which resulted in these four tracks. It’s a fascinating mix of matching ingredients: the subtle piano notes, vocal samples, field recordings and stretched drones all seem to fall into the right place.
The piano notes in the title track never take center stage: they are mere accents in the background, yet once you heard them you’ll always recognise them.
Three of the four tracks are reworked by The Green Kingdom, Christopher Bissonnette and Olan Mill to complete this full album.
If this is the prelude, we can definitely look forward to further collaboration work from these two artists!


Umchunga

UMCHUNGA – SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE BY NOW
It starts with a quiet drone, but after a few minutes there’s an unexpected twist in intensity. Droning organ sounds and effects reminiscent of early Pink Floyd, from their most psychedelic period. But on the other side, there are also the calm guitar themes from the title track.
Nima Pourkarimi (from Tehran) named Umchunga after the Mira Calix song Umchunga Locks. This is his debut album: ‘six tracks of atmosphere drones and static noise, each reflecting a particular state of mind in which he found himself at the time.’
I don’t know if it’s the context and being from Tehran that gives this album an extra, and somewhat different, dimension: there’s a cry of despair in almost every track, but there’s also hope.


Dronny Darko & ProtoUDRONNY DARKO & PROTOU – EARTH SONGS
A (dark) ambient concept-album: starting out with the Big Bang (13.8 billion years ago), and exloring various stages of evolution from there – even into the distant future in Leaving Earth (2135 AD).
Given the enormous span of time it thematically covers, it’s remarkable that these seven tracks sound remarkably consistent: it’s a calm atmospheric, misty cover to immerse yourself deeply into.
Of course, you can also ignore the concept if you want, and just see where your own imagination gets you.
Dronny Darko is Olec Puzan (and onviously fascinated by all things outer space), and ProtoU is Sasha Cats  – a trained violinist and choir vocalist now exploring more experimental territories. They are both living in Kiev (Ukraine).


Geometric Decay

MATTHEW ATKINS – GEOMETRIC DECAY
Matthew Atkins (not be confused with Matthew (‘Monty’) Adkins – the difference is only one letter) runs the Minimal Resource Manipulation label, and this album is the fourth release under his own name.
Atkins uses all kinds of found sounds, field recordings and drones, takes them out of their original context to replace them in these sonic collages ‘whose textures teeter at the edge of noise in places. This is offset with almost meditative passages with snatches of repeated melodies and looped textural blocks’.
The result is a fascinating kind of abstract, industrial, but above all otherworldly soundscapes. Bandcamp offers the digital download, but you can order a hand stamped cardboard sleeve physical edition here.

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