Reza Solatipour

Album Title: 
The Gate
Release Date: 
Saturday, November 23, 2019
Review Type: 

I know, this one has been sold out in the meantime – at least when talking about the physical copies (compact disc and cassette), yet still it is important to focus on this release somehow. I will keep it short and to-the-point, but it is sort of my duty to give some promotion to this artist and the great label involved.

Reza Solatipour is an Ambient artist from Iran, and probably one of the best-known ones outside his home country. He lives and works in capital city Tehran but tries to support the local scene on a worldwide scale. There are quite some hidden treasures in Persia, so it is great to get closer to that hidden yet promising scene.

Partly, that international ‘fame’ is the merit of Raffaele ‘Sonologyst’ Pezzella, the guy behind labels like Eighth Tower Records or Unexplained Sounds Group (and more). One example: the Visions Of Darkness … sampler, featuring many excellent artists from Iran (link: see below). But as said, I will keep it brief right now.

The Gate was recorded by Reza in his home city Tehran and got originally released on both tape and compact disc, as well as digitally. Everything was mastered by Sonologyst (aka Raffaele Pezzella), and the artwork was created by frater Eliphas Üsher.

For more than one hour, The Gate brings an open-minded approach on Dark Ambient with a typifying cinematic character. Reza’s Ambient is based on several levels of synth melodies, injected by some samples / field recordings and percussion. Everything is draped in a dreamlike veil of haunting obscurity and mesmerizing lucidity. In a confronting way, the darkened ambience, being ultimately oppressive to the core, exhales some enlightening majesty, which confuses in a satisfying way. Deep drones, spacy soundwaves and almost meditative fragments are gathered, somehow projected into a sonic landscape beyond the conscious reality.

It is enormously remarkable that there is such a huge variation, and still the whole album gets introduced as one firm, cohesive soundtrack; and that cohesion in combination with the diversity shows the artistic qualities of Reza. It slowly, ominously creeps forward, constantly arousing, entrancing, glooming. The many samples / field recordings are more than just ‘background additions’, for the whispered voices, blowing wind, metallic and / or synthetic percussions, wailing synth manipulation, industrialised elements or noises whatever play their role of importance in this whole concept. One time it dwells into mysterious ethereal atmospheres, then again the whole floats into dimensions of magic and ceremonial ritualism, or it evolves towards occult and sacrosanct universes beyond earthly senses.

I am not going to write down something about each single track on this album, because, as mentioned before, The Gate must be seen as one single story-telling experience, instead of a collection of individual ‘songs’. No matter whether a chapter sounds Lovecraftian or esoteric, no matter if it’s based on rather electronic energy, tribal hallucinations, spiritual repentance or martial defiance, no matter if some segment sounds introvert, then again rather combative, no matter whether the atmosphere is heavy and oppressive, even asphyxiating, or obelizing at the other hand; The Gate, in its entirety, stands for more than an hour of permanent tension, endurance, discomfort, impulse and masochistic pleasure.