Utilizing what are now staples of electronic music (Reason 3, MIDI controller and sampler) Tehran-based Sohrab presents a slab of shifting, groove influenced, ambient soundscapes. The album A Hidden Place comfortably posits itself into the necromantic compositional field of pop influenced computer music.
Sound characteristics typify a vibe of isolation, yet don’t seem to yearn too much for company. The first piece “Susana” is the most danceable through the use of repetitive pulse in common time, yet there is no distinctive melody that would assimilate shaking hips. Instead the rhythm is mirrored through gurgling samples and shifting synth-scape material that sweeps through various filters in step with the pulse of the piece. Intensity rises through out the duration of the piece by rising volume of a swirling, ethereal chord which begins to modulate in 3rds and 5ths as the rhythm takes a back seat volumetricly, otherwise there is a serene stasis to the piece.
Each side of the record contains three pieces that blend rather seamlessly, which makes it difficult to differentiate between the tracks. This is of little concern however, as the overall movement and sonic images provided remain intact and complete.
Some pieces include more than the standard IDM palette, making the most of samples such as voices – both spoken and singing – as well as environmental sounds. My favorite would have to be the inclusion of a rooster crowing and clucking which, ostensibly remains unaltered against the electroacoustic tones carrying the piece.
A Hidden Place makes the most of the ambient genre while also pushing it forward by including rhythm and pulse driven pieces as well as incorporating vocal and environmental samples with deft taste in counterpoint to an otherwise bleak electronic album. Very soothing and thought-provoking indeed.