- Out-of-this-world club music and intriguing avant-garde on Sepehr's label.
- Just three releases in, Sepehr's Shaytoon Records is one of the most exciting American labels you might not know about yet. Started as an outlet for his own productions following an excellent album on Dark Entries, now Shaytoon expands its remit with an album-length EP from Aria Rostami. Like Sepehr, Rostami is Iranian-American, and incorporates subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) Persian influences into the framework of leftfield club and experimental music. On Bolbol, Rostami touches on the outer reaches of this style, supplemented by remixes from Sepehr and Tehran-based Sote for a frankly incredible seven-track EP that highlights something of a micro-scene that's worth watching out for.
Rostami's tracks vary from clubby to abstract and ambient. "Cheshm" is pure Tangerine Dream worship, its shimmering but decaying arpeggio adding a woozy, organic feel, while "Endless" is a satisfying slow-burner. Incanting a poem of sorts first published in Tazeh Magazine, the track slowly builds in intensity on its base of bobbing hand drums, like smoke slowly curling around and engulfing the words. And "Depthless" is a trippy broken beat number with disorienting pattern and tempo changes, a solid example of the experimental tendencies that seep into everything that Rostami makes.
But really, I'm here to talk about "Bolbol," a track whose three remixes would easily justify the RA Recommends stamp by themselves. The original is gloriously giddy, a garage-lite beat with tendrils of string instrumentations slipping through the cracks. Sepehr's "Dark UKG Remix" brings things back to the days of Horsepower Productions, a heavy-duty remix that nails that proto-dubstep sound Sepehr has been playing around with lately, right down to the eerie snatches of vocal. His "Mortality Remix" goes back even further—think Love's Secret Domain Coil, a sleazy midtempo pulse, while Sote's "Rework" feels more like a cover, the original frequencies crushed, torn apart and reassembled into something that sounds like evil classical music. All four versions of the track are visionary, retro and futuristic in different ways. They represent not only the flourishing Iranian diasporic scene in electronic music, but also the evolution of Sepehr and his label.
01. Bolbol (Sepehr Dark UKG Remix)
02. Bolbol (Sote Rework)
07. Bolbol (Sepehr Mortality Remix)