(New Album Review) Aria Rostami- Sibbe

When it comes to giving artists from all different aesthetic sensibilities exploring digital processing, field recording, and various kinds of synthesis the wider exposure they deserve, Audiobulb is one of the premier hubs to dig through. Among a slew of wildly diverse new releases from around the world comes Sibbe, a jagged and richly-textured chunk of dark ambience that is informed by its author Aria Rostami’s sociopolitical identity as a second-generation Iranian immigrant living in the U.S. who has known political oppression all too well from the impact that it has had on his family and friends. Some of the field recordings that Rostami utilized on this release were made by his family in Iran, where such activity is looked upon with suspicion. Sibbe is dedicated to all who have been imprisoned or murdered for their art, and to those who are not permitted by their culture to document their world.

Like possible influences Demdike Stare and The Haxan Cloak, Rostami makes emotive dark electronic sounds that drift in and out of a sense of rhythm. What is focal is the painstaking amount of attention paid to the emotional interaction of textures within the mix. The sound is constantly, violently shifting, constantly on the verge of collapsing on itself to reveal some new manifestation. Moreover, though Rostami has disclosed that violin, glockenspiel, melodica, Turkish tar, piano, and vocals were employed in a sound driven mostly by digital synth and sampling, in these mixes, the source of the voices at the peripheries are nearly always a little difficult to figure out– and with producers who make heavy usage of processing, that is how the finished creation is supposed to be, ideally! What all went into the creation of the volatile, mutating storm clouds of “Nosferatuva”? Truly compelling sound artists will want to keep one guessing when it comes to questions of origin– the only limitation that they should really feel beholden to is imagination itself.

It’s a sinuous, dynamic sound that sends a crushing tone of despair and longing right at your center of gravity, regardless of whether you’re passing through the eye, the eyewall, or the diminishing outer chaos (see “Sibbe III”, “Nosferatuva”, and “Vietnamoses”, in that order…). At its lowest and its highest, it hits hard. Essential listening of the year for any and all deep into microsound, dark ambient atmospheres, and experimental techno sounds.


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