Definitely don’t miss the latest live performance off her new album – and watch to the end, as more abstract gestures collide with insistent syncopated groove.
Born in Tehran and based in Vienna, Rojin Shafari just keeps moving forward. I talked about her over the summer –
If you didn’t, uh, obey the headline, now here’s your second chance – on the occasion of a new album that I think isn’t getting nearly enough attention. (Nice to see Rashad Becker on mastering, which is usually a sign of some good taste.)
In my perfect universe, all Sequential and Moog artist ambassador videos are like this:
Rojin also just played the incredible Timceh Festival in Köln over the weekend. I sadly had to miss the Friday performances but even requested audio so I can review the full two days – Saturday was terrific, and adds to the idea that the Iranian and Iranian diaspora music scene are integral parts of what is exciting in electronic music right now. It certainly embodies a lot of what has kept me coming back to this site and its community over the years.
But give the full album a listen – Rojin’s talents as performer, composer, sound designer, and mix engineer are all on display:
The album combines Persian instrumentation like santur – treated in a more experimental way – plus prepared piano, Max patches, custom tunings and sequencers, and a whole lot more. I think we are in such a tough moment in music now, between pandemic and streaming and political distress and runaway capitalism, that we can feel personally parched. To describe this as technology for accessing water is the perfect metaphor. This kind of sound can be hydration for our musical souls.
Kariz is an ancient, sustainable system – constructed 3000 years ago, to facilitate the collection of water.
‘‘These Karizes have been the source of life for me and all of my ancestors. They are now sick and if it continues like this, they will die in few years and if they die, I’ll die with them.’’ Said an old Mirab. You go through the corridors of Kariz to collect escape-time fractals and to preserve water. You are floating in the underground veins and corridors of your past, an early age.
In the corner of time
Where space passes by
Your mirror stage was spotlighted It made you blind
White sheets hide
Mosses and the dust of time
In your body, in your house
You pass through a stage, where an external image of your body reflected in a mirror produces a psychic response that gives rise to the mental representation of an “I”. A blinding spotlight is behind you and a mirror is in front of you. You can see nothing but unbearable light that reflects in the mirror. Your “Ideal-I” has been overexposed.
Kariz sonic experience is a search for a sustainable system of living together with your body, your ideas, your home, your past and your surroundings.
Kariz is about accepting your “Ideal-I” as a holobiont in your living environment -a mini nature-. The music was created in long improvisation sessions, while using live electronics (MAX MSP patches), analogue synthesizers, a self-programmed microtone sequencer with an irregular clock, two drum machines and acoustic instruments like santur and prepared piano. The instruments were processed partly live and partly in the composition phase.
A lot more in this interview for SHAPE network:
This bit I think should speak to a lot of us:
Sometimes I think I could develop two different sensitive ears: one which is focused on the quality of sounds, timbre, frequencies, intonation, and rhythm, and the other which is more focused on the form, texture and layers of sound.
I think they both helped me to have a better understanding of space, acoustics and instruments …
It helped me to fearlessly experiment with electronics, gear, and analogue and digital devices. I built my own speaker and amplifier as I started to study sound engineering. I enjoy both the technical and the programming side of music, as well as the creative and the performance aspects of it.