In four-part, 33-minute work Serus, Iranian composer Siavash Amini offers up “an ode to night”- from a composer whose, by their own admission, intoxication and lack of sleep led to being hospitalised by a nervous breakdown. But this is not the sound of a nervous breakdown. Primarily this is calm part-acoustic ambience, soft and sedentary, but with occasional touches of cold and texture that open up thoughts of dreams and other gentle disquiets- but if these are nightmares, they’re extremely mild ones.
After some crisp rumblings, hollow-sounding echoes and a prevalence of space in “A Recollection Of The Disappeared”, “Semblance” initially has a brighter and more melodic atmospheric piece initially, but one where sharp digital squeaks and short metallic noises gradually encroach, like angst edging into a dream.
“All That Remained”, in two parts, is a little more wave-driven, with different sounds washing gently over you in minute-long audio curves. It’s here that the contributions of Nima Aghiani on violin and Pouya Pour-Amin in electric double bass are more noticeable, the arrangements being given a soundtrack-like and cinematic feel by association thanks to the plaintive and drawn-out long violin notes in particular. As with the pieces before it, more awkward and harsh tones are waiting in the wings as the piece unfolds, before themselves fading away for a more settled resolution.
Although it’s tinged with unsettled thoughts- and in the current global political climate, let’s face it, who isn’t?- and although it has a background in serious levels of insomnia and borderline mental health issues, the sonic end result of this expression is rather sedate. It’s laced with enough texture and detailing to be appreciated in focus, but it’s also level enough that you can let it wash over you if you prefer. A very well-balanced piece of work.