People are starving; now is the time when dismantling imperialism and supporting family is vital. So let’s turn our ears again to the poignant sounds of the Iranian “underbelly” – and enter the ultraverse.

What more can I say about the Iranian underground that I haven’t already said? We get another absolutely essential compilation, including friends I’ve mentioned here before, like Temp-Illusion, Milad Ahmadi, Maral, and Paramida, and plenty more.

The political message is important, too, as Afghan people also face starvation. As a US passport holder, I hope we join our friends and colleagues in the music community with Russian passports and all try to claim responsibility and humanity where our governments do not. The role of US imperialism here is inverted by the fact that the most immediate crisis was a withdrawal, but the underlying story is really the same.

Hunger knows no nationality. Where I do find some hope is that the evolving music community is sending a different message – after so many years focused on taking, it’s humbling to see the passion for giving.

New York-based Shaytoon Records focuses on Iranian underground music and other connections, with some familiar faces – you’ll find Iran-based Sote on a remix in December. They’ve made a beautiful and poignant digital edition, focusing on physical CDs. And there’s a t-shirt, which I’ll give a shout out just because it’d be great to spot these from across the room at a gig.

The album text is so well done that I’d actually rather paste that here as I don’t think I can top it. Congrats to everyone. And I can’t wait to see what the ultraverse has in store next. Once you enter…

Enter the ultraverse. The ultraverse is the dimension that you can access when you really want to. A shared universe that provides a cornucopia of delights. Shaytoon is proud to present a collection of music gathered from Iranian artists from all corners of the ultraverse. 

Aria Rostami kicks off the compilation with “Birth in the Garden Triptych”, meshing cinematic undertones with a sense of urgency with beautiful and mysterious pads drenching the listener in allure. Unique and enigmatic duo Saint Abdullah provide a earth-shattering track with “Lustre Ware”,  a freaky number falling somewhere between 90s east coast hip-hop and muslimgauze (except actually produced by middle easterns). Voiski takes us on a futurist technoid journey, drexciyan-esque elements and ethereal pads make you forget all your problems and then ricochet back into pure hypnosis. 

Label boss Sepehr takes the torch with “Diaspora Simulacra”, a hyperreal image of his sonic mind ebbing and flowing between psychedelic drum shuffles and primal chants, perfect for a romantic evening with the void. Pupils may dilate after listening. London-via-Iran artist Kasra V takes a 90’s styled approach reminscent of Prodigy with “Thousand Year Dream”, expertly placing samples that play with each other in a harmonius yet jacking fashion. 

Next up, goddess Paramida serves up a dreamy and timeless slice of champagne house music with “Konbanwa (Ibiza Mix). A tune that you could equally hear as an uplifting soul churner in Panorama bar or taking a stroll through candy cotton fields right at dawn. LA based artist Maral supplies us with “Lorestan Reggae”, deftly utilizing Farsi vocals and grungy drum and guitar textures to create an epic punk rock soundscape that sounds like it was recorded right before an apocalypse! 

Iran based Milad Ahmadi delivers an enchanting, low slung roller with a high octane edge. Also hailing from the motherland, Temp Illusion take us on a biomechanical rollercoaster, evoking cyborg utopias where artificial intelligence is geared directly toward hedonism. To close things out, XEEN brings us peaceful yet inquisitive tones to guide the ship back to the ultraverse.

Shaytoon is allied with our Afghan family who is currently violently being starved to death due to US imperialism. A portion of proceeds will go to Wellness Worldwide, a volunteer-based NGO providing healthcare & social support to vulnerable populations in Afghanistan. 

Wear this to CTM or something, and I’ll find you and buy you a drink at the Berghain bar. Okay, most of you can’t make it so… uh… Instagram it and maybe I’ll figure out delivery.
It reads – “Sounds from the iranian underbelly // iranians in solidarity with afghans // abolish white supremacy”.