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This is Tehran?

24/06/21Hamburg's 30M Records Invites Us On A Contemporary, Genre-Crossing Sonic Trip To Iran

Tehran, the Iranian capital and cultural melting pot, is not just home to a population of approximately 15 million, but also accommodates a vibrant music scene with many a hidden gem yet to be discovered by Western audiences. Sure, we've covered a few uncharted releases in the past, such as Hamburg-born and Tehran-based sound visionary Ata 'Sote' Ebtekar's "Parallel Persia" (2019) and "Sacred Horror in Design" (2017) or Iranian composer Morteza Hannaneh's pre-revolution tape "Tchashm-e-Del". Yet we feel that this latest various artists compilation on Hamburg's 30M Records manages to provide a much-needed introduction into the city's contemporary and highly diverse music scene that will certainly raise some eyebrows.

"This  is Tehran?" brings us ten compositions, ranging "from contemporary classical to experimental electronic sounds, trip-hop and jazz," by a new generation of "Iranian composers and musicians," inviting listeners to join them on "a mesmerising journey through a fascinating culture" and to "discover and be amazed by the fruits of the marriage between heritage and innovation in [this] city of endless creativity." 

The artists include the composer, musician and kamancheh (Iranian spiked fiddle) virtuoso Saba Alizadeh, renowned sorna flute player Ehsan Abdipour, the multi-talented sound designer, producer and composer Bamdad Afshar and Iranian-British musician, composer, producer and pianist Hooshyar Khayam, Bamdad Afshar's multi-genre collective, the Otagh Band, Tehran-based composer and producer of contemporary classical music Pedram Babaiee, the aforementioned Sote, the mesmerising young singer and pianist Parastoo Ahmadi, Vienna-based emerging sound artist and composer of acoustic and electroacoustic electronic music Rojin Sharafi, kamancheh standout Siavash Molaeian, exceptional pianist Kasra Faridi and, last but not least, composer, multi-instrumentalist and singer Mina Momeni

30M Records' second release presents a veritable smorgasbord of contemporary musical styles and atmospheres from one of the world's oldest and richest cultures, blending sonic tradition with youthful promise and artistic vision. "This is Tehran?" will no doubt leave listeners surprised, enraptured and yearning for more of these secretive yet boldly innovative soundscapes. This, too, is Tehran. 

You can stream/buy the full release via the Bandcamp player and also watch the accompanying video to Hooshyar Khayam and Bamdad Afshar's "Char" below. And thank you to Jean Trouillet for putting us on to this release in his most recent episode of Globalwize

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom