Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Ata Ebtekar & The Iranian Orchestra For New Music Performing Works Of Alireza Mashayekhi - Ornamental (Isounderscore, 2009)
Ata Ebtekar & The Iranian Orchestra For New Music - Ornamental
Ata Ebtekar & The Iranian Orchestra For New Music have put out possibly the most challenging record who's genre wouldn't include the word "power." They make listening as difficult as possible while still making it entirely rewarding and enjoyable.
Ornamental is a mind fuck of an electro-acoustic record. Ebtekar does all sorts of electronic shit and then there's the orchestra playing traditional instruments. It reminds me a bit of Greg Kelley's Self-Hate Index in the way that you're never sure if the sounds you're hearing are from analog or digital instruments (except in Kelley's case, it was almost all analog). The lines are blurred so much that if there were no liner notes, I might assume this was a 100% electronic record.
The sounds on Ornamental are fucking nuts. It's almost total anarchy. The speed goes from slow chugging to amped up giddyness in one explosive second. Crazy arpeggios, shrill tinny blasts of nonsense, and piano smashing that take you by surprise every fucking time. The crunchy electronics sound like if Tristan Perich made his 1-Bit Music back in the '60s. And the regular instruments that I do recognize seem processed to oblivion.
Every time I listen to this, I make just a little bit more sense out of it. The first time it just knocked me the fuck down, without so much as a "sorry." The second time I was at least able to hold my own. And each time I hit play again, I have more confidence than the last that I'm gonna make it my bitch. But it never happens. Ornamental is somehow always, like, 10 steps ahead of me.
And did I mention that this is on double vinyl? Look at that cover art up there. Super slick. So gorgeous. You need to buy this.