Album Review: Shallow by Porya Hatami (on Tench)

Experimental sound artist Porya Hatami has been quite prolific of late. Based in Sanandaj, Iran, Hatami has released a variety of solo albums and EPs over the past two years, appeared on numerous compilations, and has collaborated with artists such as Lee Anthony Norris, Darren Harper, and Liam Coleman (Lcoma).  In February 2014, he released what may be his finest work to date in the form of Shallow on M. Ostermeier’s Tench label.

Shallow is comprised of three tracks lasting just over 40 minutes that take the listener on a pastoral journey through inner space.  Hatami’s work has always been largely focused on nature and has featured an abundance of field recordings, but on Shallow he has opted for a more delicate and spacious sound that earlier releases have only hinted at.

The 21 minute long ‘Fen’, which opens the album, begins with the whirring, crackling, and bubbling sounds of natural field recordings which eventually fade into a soft melodic drone ebbing beneath an expanse of celestial tones.  By the time a hushed breeze and birdsong come into the frame, the listener is in a state of complete serenity which only deepens as the album continues.  ‘After the Rain’ features lovely work on the piano and one can almost smell the “petrichor”, that distinctive scent that rises from the soaked earth as the clouds dissipate. ‘White Forest’ then closes the album, enveloping the listener in more soft drone, bell tones, and the sound of a rushing breeze so vivid one can almost feel it on one’s face.

Shallow is the exquisitely patient work of a master sound sculptor.  One of my very favorite things to do is walk on an isolated beach at the break of dawn with only the sound of lapping water, birds, and sea breeze as company. This album is the closest I have heard to recreating that feeling through music and sound. It is rich, organic, tranquil ambient at its best.

If you enjoy Shallowbe sure to visit Hatami’s Bandcamp site to explore his many other releases such as Land and The Waning Branches and watch for the May 2014 release of The Longing Daylighthis second collaboration with Lee Anthony Norris on Carpe Sonum.

Ordering information: http://www.tenchrec.com/TCH06.html

Porya Hatami on Bandcamp: http://poryahatami.bandcamp.com/

Listen to ‘After the Rain’ set to a gorgeous video by Pejman Pabarja and Azad Jannati

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