Siavash Amini – Subsiding (Futuresequence, 2015)


Siavash Amini’s latest effort on Futuresequence is, in many ways, not too dissimilar from the work that he’s produced in the past that we know and love; it’s underpinned by idiosyncratic synth drone elements and migrates through effortless segues from thought to thought, but what I think is notable about Subsiding is that it feels less contextually clear and in possession of even fewer vantage points that normal. This is a record that truly doesn’t hold your hand and sets you down right from the off in the emotional deep end to find your way alone in the spooky and alienating dark.

This isolation and abandonment is immediately obvious as opener “Agarthini” bursts open with thick blasts of sound to overwhelm and confuse the listener, these menacing and jarring leviathans of chilling density that affront the senses like the repetitive slap of cool saltwater on the face. A faint breeze blows over the top of its wave crests, a disintegrated wind that carries a distorted and fuzzy spray along with it that ushers a collapsing fugue in on its tails, an emptiness filled with guitar pickings and misty drone lines that gaze blankly out with a thousand-yard stare before the piece’s death throes reintroduce the jarring and tortured instrumentation for a final time. After this shocking introduction we fall into the distant and frozen tinklings of “The Water Awaits You”, eaking out a thin and meagre existence on crystalline drones and fragile piano strokes, each action a laboured and slow-motion metabolic process that barely advances the piece, as close to inactivity and lifelessness as one can get.

It segues directly into “Nonexistent Vicinities” and we begin to migrate back into more substantive territory as it rises in a slow-burning crescendo of rising textural onlaps, currents of obfuscated drone finding shape and form and strength before transmuting into a howling gale of irrepressible noise that bursts forth explosively to the surface, gasping for air and relishing life. It leans into the 14 minute title track, opening on morose airs as plaintive strings hover and creak morosely out of the air with both an impending and also noticeably active sense of misery and melancholia. They fall away as the idiosyncratic drones envelope their unhappiness and dissatisfactions, their collective despondency significantly more potent and seemingly unending in its terrible despair. It wont last forever though, and indeed it can’t sustain its own emotional burdens, dropping these heavy and impassioned weights in favour of more subtle and shimmering loss towards its end.

As we slide away into the final track of “Blurring Contentment” there seems to exist the possibility of hope, as though we’re being wafted inexorably back to firm land as genteel clarinets usher in a mirage of swimming tones and more empowered synths. This fall into the void has carried us a long way from any notion of personal happiness across the span of the record, we’ve almost forgotten what it feels like to be happy or hopeful, but we catch a glimpse of light on the horizon before we lapse out of consciousness riding the thoughts of salvation.

It’s a characteristically Amini record make no mistake, both sonically and thematically, lost in its own ruminations and fighting for emotional clarity and stability at every moment. It feels lost in the oceanic abyss, the ground from beneath its feet gone as we scramble back to the surface and drift listlessly back towards some semblance of sense, bombarded with fraught emotions and lapsing fugues as we do so. It’s a strange, tumultuous one, but compelling nonetheless.