Dariush Dolat-Shahi – Electronic Music, Tar and Sehtar (Dead Cert, April 2015)

Andy Votel’s label has been on a roll since the off, reissuing fascinating music by the likes of Italian-American pianist Suzanne Ciani, Belgian composer Louis De Meester and that fine Industrial album by Alessandroni. Keeping the momentum going, Dead Cert provided one of April’s most surprising reissues in Electronic Music, Tar and Sehtar, a record that comes from Iran, or rather from an Iranian at Columbia University. Despite the unassuming title, this first album of only two from Dariush Dolat-Shahi contains much more than what it describes itself as: it’s a sort of visionary combination not only of different instruments, but also of differing sonic languages and sensibilities.

Inheriting the Iranian folk sceptre and passing it expertly through his academic research in electronic music, Dolat-Shahi creates a totally alien world of sound while maintaining a sonic equilibrium where rumbles of modular synths echo in and out of traditional folk melodies, while synthetic pulses open onto samples of pouring rain and sweet birdsong. Between the paces and the influences of the music a whole range of sonic textures merge, and the resulting album is mysterious and dense without falling victim to over-intellectualism, and while the work is complex, it remains anchored by simplicity.