[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
It’s good to be reminded that cities are lonely, alienating places no matter where in the world you live. From Tehran, we have here the debut of Idlefon, an artist who produces sparse yet engaging tracks that won’t just play nice. Nothing about this record is particularly pretty, which is a very welcome change from the usual modus operandi I’ve come to wearily expect out of the IDM crowd. That he wound up on Tympanik is providence to be sure, it might have just been consignment to compilations if he hadn’t. Even though he states that his work chronicles the goings-on in his city, the underlying feel of ‘Intensive Collectivity Known as City’ is of the desert.
I don’t mean grandeur on the scale of the Gobi or Sahara, but the isolated and abandoned majesty he no doubt sees every day outside the boundaries of his urban home. I see it myself outside of the town I’m in quite routinely. Drive five or six minutes and you’re in the wasteland, where nothing much lives and you’d better pray nothing goes wrong with your vehicle.
And while you’re on a trip like this, you might have occasion to look out your window and see the remnants and ruins others have left behind. It is easy to let your mind spiral off in wonderment at how people came to choose such a harsh and unforgiving place to try and carve out a living. People so often gloss over how much history can be witnessed if you simply tune out the continuous onslaught of temporal white noise; who wants to reflect on such boring things when technology keeps bringing the horrors of the world right into the palm of your hand. Most would happily blank out in front of their screens or just turn the music up and that is where the brilliance of what Hesam Ohadi composes comes sharply into focus.
The louder you make this, the more introspective you will become.
Events from long ago, conversations cut off by a curt word or spiteful gesture, dead air becoming suffocating on a phone line… all of this and so much more is just waiting patiently to come alive at the touch of a button. If there are other artists from this part of the world doing this sort of work, I cannot wait to hear them. Ohadi displays great wisdom by only touching on familiar tropes before dropping them all together and moving in a completely different direction. This is ambient as I’ve not heard it before and it will easily stand out from the others on his label because it makes no attempt to be accessible whatsoever. Our composer has a unique perspective on how effectively distance can be transformed into a living, breathing landscape where the rules of genre and format become as derelict as those rusted structures overrun by the sand.
Idlefon prove that music is indeed a universal language.