Review: Porya Hatami – The Garden

Focused on “exploring the balance between electronics and environmental sounds”, Iran-based Porya Hatami has earned his colours through a strong and prolific schedule of releases; most notably with ‘Shallow’ from earlier in the year. Now he delves into the fascinating world of six small creatures who all play their role in nature’s rich tapestry.

Porya Hatami Album Cover

It may not be the obvious source for the morning sounds of nature but ‘Firefly’ is the aural equivalent of waking up to a hazy dawn; ambient washes and drone broken up by splashes of beats and samples. Just as the opening track threatens to become ever so slightly claustrophobic, the following ‘Spider’ releases its grip to reveal a gentler, more intricate approach; a perfect accompaniment to the delicate web-making skills of an arachnid, perhaps? ‘Snail’ is one of the most enigmatic pieces. No surprise that’s it’s a languid, slow-moving experience (all six of these tracks are) but its populated by warm, inventive crackles and melodic about-turns.

The most poignant moment is arguably ‘Ladybug’, which appears, initially, to be engulfed by rushing water and waves of melancholy before they evaporate to leave behind a minimalist mood piece. In contrast, ‘Bee’ begins like an irritation with an inevitable buzzing drone to the forefront as well as shrill bird noise but – just as with many offerings here – Hatami builds from the core subject matter into something which is mesmeric and seductive. The album then ends in appropriately busy fashion courtesy of ‘Ant’; thanks to the click-clack rhythms and patterns of beats the music resembles the sound of animals operating like machinery.

Despite the somewhat modest sources of inspiration, Hatami gives voice to ‘The Garden’ via some evocative instrumentals. Much like the animals and insects they portray, the pieces start as unassuming ambient experiments but they gradually flower into multi-layered works of depth and intelligence.

Web Sites:
Porya Hatami – The Garden
Dronarivm Label Site

Further Listening:
The Green Kingdom, The Angling Loser, Talk Talk

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