Review: Porya Hatami – Shallow

As an experimental sound artist based in Iran, Porya Hatami is likely to be one of the more fascinating prospects in the ambient genre. On a musical level, he certainly delivers but what did surprise me, was the unexpected connection between the artist and me, a humble blog writer.

Porya Hatami Album Cover

This is because, as a resident of Lincolnshire, England, I felt an affinity with the opening piece named ‘Fen’. The Fens are a marshy region in Eastern England and Hatami’s careful and intricate assembling of water-themed field recordings and ambient drone will conjure up images of these wetlands even if you’ve never seen them. The track stretches out for an initially daunting twenty one minutes but reshapes and reforms itself along way including a lovely, ethereal centrepiece. For ‘After The Rain’, delicately-played keyboards simulate the last remnants of precipitation. It would sound clumsy in lesser hands but Hatami proves himself to be a master of light melancholy; even recalling the magic of Harold Budd as the track nears its piano-led conclusion. There is a twinkling nighttime aura on ‘White Forest’ but it’s offset by a refreshing breeze which fades in and out on twelve relaxed (but always compelling) minutes.

Hatami sticks to the promise that these recordings will be “rich in tone”, for here are three compositions which evoke places known and unknown, minimalist yet multi-textured and – in contrast with that album title – blessed with so much depth. Certainly, ‘Shallow’ deserves its place alongside other nature-inspired instrumental works by The Angling Loser and Tench labelmates The Green Kingdom.

Web Sites:
Tench Label Page for Porya Hatami – Shallow
Video for Porya Hatami – After The Rain by Pejman Pabarja and Azad Jannati
Porya Hatami Bandcamp

Further Releases:
The Green Kingdom, The Angling Loser, Harold Budd

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