Kamran Sadeghi: Through Thickness
Dragon's Eye

An inaugural chapter in Kamran Sadeghi's proposed Kha series (“Kha,” a Sanskrit word meaning “emptiness” or “zero,” was used in early numerical systems to imply space in tabular arrangements), Through Thickness deploys synthetic means as a vehicle for exploring rhythm. A single listen reveals that the Seattle-based sound artist's electronics-based, hour-long excursion into cyberkinetic beatsmithing should appeal to Raster-Noton, Pan Sonic, and Ryoiji Ikeda devotees in particular.

Following “Day Break,” which opens the album with a veritable seizure of dizzying cartwheels and somersaults, “Planar Graph” steals a page from Frank Bretschneider and Alva Noto's playbook by deploying hypnotic rhythms and razor-sharp electronic interjections in the familiar Raster-Noton style. Sadeghi's whirrs, wipes, scratches, and machine beat patterns borrow heavily from the label, as does the convulsive “Teeth” that follows. One thing, however, that distinguishes Sadeghi's approach is the large amount of reverb with which he coats his sounds, a dimension downplayed by the clinical austerity of the Raster-Noton aesthetic. Otherwise, however, “Teeth” is largely textbook Alva Noto, if a slightly more raucous version of it, with the focus a rapid intertwine of throbbing bass and treble patterns. Sadeghi's smartly changes direction on “Through,” whose cyclone of writhing ripples churns for a relentless seven minutes, before investing “Haptic” with a pile-driving punch that cranks the Alva Noto style up a notch or two. “Shelter” also distances itself from the Raster-Noton style by pushing a thrusting gallop through an electrical cloud, while “The Harvest” thrusts and jabs over an elastic throb before “Thickness” hammers the album shut with a brief psychedelic drone.

Though Sadeghi's approach is sometimes too indebted to Raster-Noton for its own good, he manages to sidestep accusations of overt imitation by switching up the template at strategic moments.

November 2008