Babak Ahteshamipour - Violent Violins Exposed

Released: April 3 

On first listen, Violent Violins Exposed struck me with that old saying about not judging by the cover. The artwork gave me the impression that this would be a a loud, noisy, and somewhat brutal album. And while there is a bit of that on here on tracks like "Practicing Cruelty at the Pinnacles of Inverted Pyramids" and "Machinist Auxiliaries, Needles of Needless Emphasises," there is a lot of depth to the album as a whole besides some brutal aggression. This is something I noticed almost immediately from the very first song as elegant chopped up pads built up around a semi-melodic motif that makes it feel like something from the original Final Fantasy VII. The next track "Technospheric Levitations of a Detached Tundra" follows in the same vein while implementing some very glockenspiel-esque sounds. And it is from this point where the album starts to veer sharply into the noisier side of things. 

The previously mentioned "Practicing Cruelty..." starts this off with some low simmering static noises that seem to ramble around a bit, giving the impression that we're continuing on the same path, just a bit darker. Then a rhythm comes along that feels and sounds a lot like a machine gun - a single tone, rapid-firing its way into the space. This leads in perfectly to the next two tracks which feel rather like insanity. Heavy and cluttered breakbeats push their way in to places that feel like they shouldn't be but refuse to leave. "In a Dream, I Falsely Felt I Could Hold on to Something That Wasn't a Dream," takes this heavy beat and combines it with some erratic noises and then introduces this oddly soothing pad sound. This sound keeps going despite its obvious clash with literally everything else. It's a tough listen for a second but I kept coming back to this track as it tickled my brain while trying to decipher it.

The rest of the album continues on this path of hard juxtapositions with lots of unexpected samples clashing violently against intense and unstable rhythms. For me, it was a very brain-tingling experience, especially considering the rather soft start the album had. Everything feels like a jumble but also feels planned out as well as impossible breaks slam against curiously melodic loops and samples. It culminates in the final track "When Death Parties, Everyone Shows Up Dressed Like a Skeleton," a track that features percussion so blisteringly crushed that it is something hard to sus it out as anymore than noise. But when it subsides, there's a nice and mildly soothing oscillating pad that calms things down slightly, until we inevitably get hit with the beat again. 


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