Tegh & Adel Poursamadi, “Ima ایما”
By Will Pritchard · July 18, 2022

Ambient and New Age music has spent the past decade or so casting off an unfair reputation for being music that just sort of hangs around or, at best, washes over you in a largely forgettable lather. Tegh & Adel Poursamadi’s Ima ایما could sit at the sharp, spearing point of an argument against: its five lengthy, languorous tracks are tricky, stirring, even unsettling. You wouldn’t hear this played in an elevator or a yoga studio. A long-awaited Half-Life video game sequel though? Maybe.

Ima ایما  is the first release from a series of collaborations in which Tehran-based sound artist Tegh (aka Shahin Entezami) works with Iranian musicians trained in the classical tradition. In this case, he’s joined by violinist Adel Poursamadi, whose elegant strings become stretched and scuffed and occasionally soar. The setup places the electronic and organic, and by extension the modern and traditional, in dialogue with one another. Under the weight of creative expectation, this dialogue can descend into conflict. On “Mornaal مرنال”, each side stalks the other, sniping and biting. Poursamadi’s wandering scales ride pot-shots from Tegh’s metallic percussion; then Tegh teases out a softer, more emotive mode from the strings.

For the most part, Poursamadi’s violin is present in a mangled form. It’s there in decaying flecks on opener “Bad`a بدع”, and abstract plucks on “Regh`e رقعه.” When its short plucks and rolling drags cut through on the sci-fi gloaming of “Ijaad ایجاد,” the whole thing lifts off into a dizzying swirl that comes crashing down in a wailing alarm of blips and mournful fingerwork, ready to be resurrected.

This album isn’t an exercise or experiment in resolution, but its moments of undeniable harmony—consider the sudden frisson two-thirds of the way through “Gamaan گمان”—are revelatory. There are shades of the brutal embrace captured on ambient recordist KMRU and composer Aho Ssan’s Limen from April this year, or the smothering textures of Rafael Anton Irissari; but mostly Ima ایما sets out to scratch its own sonic approach onto the canvas, with all the complications that involves. It succeeds in doing so with startling consistency.

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