“Parallel Persia“ is an epic album, thoroughly thought out in terms of both form and narrative. SOTE delivers a brilliant combination of traditional acoustic sounds and electronica, an impressive sonic synthesis, an innovative look at what futuristic folk may sound like.
Favorite track: Modality Transporter.
Ata Ebtekar (aka Sote) composes music with a deeply-held conviction that rules and formulas should be deconstructed and rethought. A pivotal figure of the electronic music scene in the Middle East, he alters musical modal codes from their original tonality and rhythmic tradition to achieve vivid synthetic soundscapes.
Although this spirit has remained consistent, Ebtekar is, in sonic terms, in constant flux, with a 30-year artistic career that can be read less as a fixed thing in itself, and more as a process of perpetual exploration and change.
In 2019 that process continues with a body of new electro-acoustic music on Diagonal Records. The partnership is a natural extension of many years of dialogue and mutual love/respect between Ebtekar and label founder Oscar Powell. The music was created in Tehran, Iran, in early 2018, after Donau Festival commissioned Sote to do an electro-acoustic AV project for their upcoming festival.
Following on from the standalone single Artificial Neutrality, the new full-length LP Parallel Persia presents a series of compositional structures in which the sound’s frequency content acts as hyper-modulators on each other within a series of vast panoramic spectral environments. The music combines various synthesis techniques [notably, physical modelling, FM, wavetable, granular and additive] with Iranian acoustic instruments [santour, tar] that are pushed beyond ordinary operation. Thus the synthetic and acoustic combine with equal strength to form a euphonious and complete whole.
“Parallel Persia deals with the illusion and creation of an artificial hyperreal culture manipulated and controlled by an imperious agency somewhere within all galaxies,” says Sote. “Like all realities, greed and arrogance channels destruction of life. However, the path to havoc includes resistance via beauty, grace and symmetry. Snapshots of an apocryphal Iran is presented via sonic schematics for a synthetic “Meta-Persian” experience. This experience can be in our present-day life or maybe somewhere else somehow differently in a parallel world…”