Saviash Amini (photo: Stefanie Kulisch)

Facing Fear with Siavash Amini

On his EP Tar, the Tehran-based drone musician Siavash Amini creates thick walls of sound that conjure eerie landscapes and feelings of disorientation generated by the cracked beauty of noise. But after a while, if one is brave enough to face the grim textures, this music creates an effect of empowerment.

Fear is a powerful, universal emotion. It goes back to the very roots of humankind, from encounters with wild animals to the dread of losing your job. It affects every aspect of life, mostly in a destructive way. On his new album Tar (Hallow Ground 2017), the Tehran-based drone musician Siavash Amini investigates «how fears [...] can be related to a broader state of mind shared collectively». The four songs consisting of thick layers of drones don't conjure fear directly, but the state in which it arises: in the face of the unknown. Anxiety is caused by the lack of beats or melodies, turning supposedly structural elements of the music instead into disorientation. From the dark textures to the millions of overtones slowly unveiled, the wall of sound seems impenetrable.

After a while though, tiny cracks occur and subtle light comes through the perforated wall in the form of string melodies («A Dreams Frozen Reflection») that make the subject recognize itself again, now positively transformed by a sonic catharsis. Amini makes fear and disorientation audible – and manages to invert its paralyzing effects into empowerment. He invites the listener to welcome the unknown rather than reject it. As soon as one confronts the unknown directly instead of running away from it, realizing that it is just something (or somebody) different from the ordinary horizon, one should be able to overcome fear. Wouldn't it be great if this «victory-through-confrontation» could be a general strategy, a new universal theme in peoples' mindset?

Published on June 19, 2017

Last updated on January 16, 2020


Philipp Rhensius is an editor for Norient, writer, musicologist and musician from Berlin. His main interests circulate around music, movies, literature, pop culture, philosophy, metanoia and pareidolia. His texts are published in Taz, Spex, FAZ, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, WOZ and several academic book volumes.


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