VARIOUS ARTISTS – Visions Of Darkness In Iranian Contemporary Music

Unexplained Sounds Group

Looking for sonic homogeneity – not to mention equality of artistic levels – on a VV.AA. type of release is one of the biggest mistakes a listener could do. However, this extended compilation of obscure Iranian artists deserves attention. For starters, the operation’s controller – Raffaele Pezzella (aka Sonologyst), from Naples – appears to have worked seriously enough to warrant an acceptable balance between the urge of “letting everybody know” what happens beyond the usual channels of current electronica and the effective quality of the assemblage. Then again, we are always eager to find out if there is still someone somewhere who is not a careerist disguised as “enlightened creator” (the very state of Iran provided an illustrious example of that, many years ago). Therefore, it is sometimes refreshing to plunge into unfamiliar waters as we did this time.

I won’t let you ingest a “best of” list, a rather stupid thing to do when reviewing recordings that can be entirely streamed. Listeners will love or detest according to taste, individual training, open-mindedness and personal idiosyncrasies. What this commentator can say is that several tracks are superb and, without indulging in arcane motivations, truly offer positive stimuli. Most of these give indications about an earnest probing of the blackest corners of acoustic expansion (in spite of its title, the collection also features pieces that sound less “dark” than you would imagine). A couple of episodes convey the image of distant replicas of Conrad Schnitzler and Asmus Tietchens. Other materials are quite predictable, occasionally to the point of genuine boredom, at times betraying a considerable degree of dilettantism; luckily, they constitute a smaller fraction. This must not be deemed offensive to the project’s principles, which remain totally praiseworthy; untalented participants stick out clearly exactly because the majority of this music is surely over average, as far as the lack of foregone conclusions is concerned.

Overall: a thumb up to the whole, and a recommendation for the readers to retrieve their own favorites, not forgetting to check the rest of the production from this somewhat unconventional enterprise.

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