Emergence was formed within a feedback system that began as I made contact with composers, producers, coders, and artists in Iran, whose works and words formed the basis of my academic research. The research was a way to rediscover the space I had left behind, and the bridges that were burnt, through practices and imagination of individuals with whom I had shared memories, without having met most of them. In these ways, this work exists as a hazy ballad of a refugee and a travelogue. It is an aphasic narration of my journey from a sunny nowhere to a rainy bunker in Belfast. It is my story, one of an Eastern nomad finding refuge in Western academia, only to reimagine musicking in the alleys of my distant home. As such, this collection is both an impulse within the resonance chamber of Iranian experimental electronic music, and the resonance of its diverse and colorful impulses. It is also a diary that anachronistically narrates the different stages of this journey. It brings together a host of field recordings, found object recordings, live improvisations, recycled sounds, synthesis, and voices, produced in Tehran and Belfast over the span of 10 years. It is an escapist soundscape that is meant to mark a period, stain it with sounds, and materialize it through composition. It is a dialogue between two times, places/spaces, cultures, modes of doing, thinking, and sociality. Since each of these are multiple, emergence too is a heterogeneous assemblage. It is a playful engagement with conceptual and physical objects and memories. It is a musical album carefully curated for Flaming Pines, whose presence within the Iranian scene has been a passionate and nurturing one.
This collection is the result of four years of close exploration of and interaction with an experimental electronic music scene in my place of birth, Iran. Although my physical ties to this place are cut due to unfortunate events, I’ve been fortunate enough to re-establish a new form of connection with it via sound/music.
Emergence came out of a massively irregular trajectory that started some time ago in a strange environment called Ekbatan, within the Iranian capital of Tehran, where the sound of my electric guitar would meet and mingle everyday with the sound of planes leaving the visible skyline; with the sound of sharing dreams with outlaw friends; and the sound of laughing at the absurdity of order. This was a trajectory that led me to another odd place, this time in the Northern Irish capital, where my memories of escape were exorcised through flows of the electric charge whose meetings formed another kind of music. Belfast and Tehran are similar in many ways. It was this similarity that evoked the first seeds of Emergence.
Beyond all life stories and narratives, however, Emergence is made for bodies that crave sound/music. It is best experienced through deep listening. Put on your favorite pair of headphones and tune in to an evolving world of unknown melancholia that places you in sound, that accompanies you through sound, and that renders you as sound for a duration of time. The time of Emergence is irregular, non-linear, re-emergent, and warped, like the time of Ekbatan and Belfast. Thanks Kate and Amir B Ash for your sound comradeship throughout the process. Album art and design by Amir B Ash
Hadi Bastani is a sound artist, composer, and anthropologist interested in the impact of sound and digital technologies on the formation of new modes of practice, thinking, and sociality.
As an artist, his practice engages with field recording, digital signal processing, and spatiality in the context of immersive compositions, performances, and installations. His work has been presented in academic and non-academic festivals such as the Sonorities 2018 at Queen’s University Belfast, TADAEX 2018 in Tehran, and IKLECTIC Art Lab 2018, London. His academic profile involves an interdisciplinary and practice-led investigation of the recent digital arts and experimental electronic music practices in Iran. He has presented in conferences around the world—for instance in British Forum for Ethnomusicology and Société Française d'Ethnomusicologie’s 2019 joint Autumn Conference in City University London, and the International Conference on Live Interfaces (ICLI) 2018 in Porto.
Beside his academic and artistic works, he has been active as a record artist, releasing through Zabte Sote, Flaming Pines, and Unexplained Sound Group, as a radio producer making programmes for the BBC (Persian Radio) and Resonance FM, and a music blogger.