THEA FARHADIAN – Tectonic Shifts

Creative Sources

Integrating a violin inside a Max/MSP-based interactive system, multi-disciplinary artist and teacher Thea Farhadian – a former student with various luminaries of improvisation and electronic composition – lets us inhale fumes of disassembled harmony and dissonant refractions. What separates her from the typical “just-plug-and-let’s-see-what-happens” tedium-transmitting specimens is the ability in rendering the most absurd-sounding complications with sensible unambiguity. Furthermore, several episodes of this 37-minute disc reveal that she’s not afraid of highlighting the magnetism of a romantic modernity through the use of purer tones across transitional environments. The aural transparencies resulting from those variations are heartwarming.

However, Farhadian’s core research is typified by the aleatory qualities of a given soundscape. This puts her in a procedural ambit contiguous to that of fellow avant violinists like Mari Kimura (there are significant differences, though, so do not hold this against the reviewer). The emphasis is on the interrelation between short segments of unconventional melodicism and contexts where microtonal displacement, abrupt breaks and luminous openings act as diversifying complements to the clearer sections of the scores. The brain is lulled into the illusion of storing something that sounds (more or less) familiar. But in a matter of seconds, theoretically extraneous particles acquire functionality to change the physiognomy of our mental picture, forcing us to keep track of multiple voices and itineraries within an extremely pliable solitary counterpoint. The total of the parts forms a startling geometry replete with strange angles and curves; a sort of cosmic biology deprived of the ineffective hyperactivity characterizing countless analogous releases. As the record is spinning for the third time, this listener’s rational defences are being lowered. A very encouraging sign.

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