Shallow is a record that has never not been with me. That is a double-negative speak for: the sounds of Shallow have always been a part of my life, I've only just recently heard them on tape. Porya Hatami is an experimental, beautiful, drone-n'-glitch-ster out of Sanandaj, Iran who plays in the realm of early morning/nocturnal sounds of semi-awake moments when you haven't completely severed ties with your subconscious. A place where everything is real and all is dream.
In that half-dream seance is where these sounds run riot with free-associations with stored facsimiles of sounds associated with your past. On the 21minute opener "Fen" the ping-ponging, seemingly aleatoric, prepared piano lines fall with such logical irregularity beneath the lunar pull of low-swooping drones that they resemble rain. But not just any rain. My mom grew up in Hawaii and would take us back there with regularity to visit family and friends. I know that sounds like an unimaginable luxury, and it was, but for me it was visiting grandma after a long plane ride. During the early parts of the rainy season there, when the rain hadn't begun to fall in torrential downpours, rain came as more a very thick mist that coated everything with water. After awhile the rain would coalesce enough on the banana tree leaves above my grandparents house and begin dropping on the roof with increasing regularity. "Fen" nails this, even down to the field recording of birds who would go about their day completely unfazed by the rain that dictated that I had to stay indoors, lying on their thick shag carpet reading some dated encyclopedia of animals native to Hawaii. Most of them are probably extinct now, anyway.
The aptly titled "After the Rain" is built on a few simple melodies that circle each other like ascending smoke pillars. Soon, that aleatoric, prepared piano, rain pattern joins them, but instead of lunar pull drones (which are still there, just relegated to the background, creating a soft, lush noise floor) are replaced by a heavily arpeggiated drone shred to ribbons and falling from an upper floor banister. "After the Rain" and "White Forests" are concentrated bouts with soft, unmoored sound teeming with the brittle pops of bells and taught piano strings.
Sometimes I really feel honored and humbled to be able to share music that finds its way into our inbox from places far from home. This is one of those cases. Shallow is an intense 43 minutes of some of the most beautiful music put to tape. These sounds can be seen as a traveling companion to Heinz Riegler's recent work of using music as a sleep aide. As an aide (probably the reason I am finishing this review up early in the morning after starting it 1:00AM) Shallow will help dredge up some of those pleasant, half-buried memories your subconscious keeps vaulted as a baseline on which to orient the general course and direction of your half-conscious state. Dream well, friends.