Siavash Amini – FORAS (Hallow Ground, 2018)


I asked my girlfriend recently “have you ever thought about how it is that you can’t turn off your eyes or ears?”. She was bemused: the notion of disconnecting one’s senses seemed like a ridiculously alien concept. “Why would I ever think that?” she replied, “It’s not possible so why would I waste time considering it?”.

I’ve thought about it a lot.

The world can sometimes feel like an endless assault on the senses, a constant stream of data fed into a burdened mind. Why would someone want to disconnect their eyes, switch off their ears? Maybe so that they could stop the tumult of shit piped into them with such alarming, unhealthy regularity and take a waking break, if only for a moment.

Foras, “outside” in Latin, finds itself right in the middle of that struggle between external stimuli and the sensitivities of the mind. It is a disquieting release that wavers somewhere between vague discontent and unabashed psychological hell at its peak, each of its 4 pieces themselves vacillating between states of thought and feeling, the slightest touch changing equilibrium.

At their core, the tracks are low-key and slowly drift into view, sleep-walking drones bleached into near apathy. Each are overcome in some way by damage, thoughtless shards that grow into nagging, then obliterating noise. None more so than “The Beclouding”, whose early movements are veiled and creeping but as it turns into view it melts into an all-consuming force of nature that overwhelms totally. Time and space are annihilated in its migraine static, the mind screaming for an off-switch before it cracks under its own assault. Gauzy drones spiral out like a post-supernova nebulaic shell, the quiet gaseous remnants that betray some catastrophic cathartic instant.

Creeping, insidious motions introduce opener “First Came Their Shadows” in less overt fashion before blowing out into distorted noise shakings and quakings, subdued drones maintaining a sense of stability and cruise before wobbling too easily into upset and pain. These disturbances are momentary and transient though, returning the guitar drones to their quiet calmness, a meditative space of refuge dark and cavernous: the theatre of sleep perhaps. A soft digital rain patters softly, soothing yet also keeping a reminder of reality close.

It is then resurrected in final piece “Shadow of Their Shadows”, thoughts upon thoughts. Those empty guitar lines repeat themselves ensconced in a fabric of destitute drone, the world bleeding in through the eyes, through the ears, through the nose in uncaring imposition. Voices move about around us, field recordings from the street, a hive of people and activity who barely even register your existence as you move through the crowd. It seethes softly, it hurts alone inside the only place that can never be shared, never be turned off, never be still.

“Why would you ever think about that?” she said. I didn’t give her the full answer.