Iannis Xenakis
Persepolis (2018 Reissue)


4.3
superb

Review

by Tristan Jones STAFF
March 7th, 2018 | 27 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: We're meteorites.

My best Persepolis listening experiences sit uncomfortably between misophonia and ASMR. On the couch, head tilted back, pressure on the neck, pulses of red in the peripherals. It’s a bit Jacob’s Ladder-esque, as though the music coerces you to relive traumatic life experiences, warped and sinister, most of which may not have ever happened. It’s self-induced terror at worst, lip-biting discomfort often, and an audial feast always. As a reissue, this piece feels like psychological excavation. Fitting, as the original 70s version was performed amidst the ruins of the great city itself, properly excavated decades prior, in the Temple of Darius. Here, we lie in the shadow of a shadow of a shadow. No, this isn’t pseudo-spiritual woo; the likes of Xenakis, Luigi Nono, Schoenberg, and Stockhausen had a stoically scientific bent, and Xenakis in particular used mathematically techniques in his sound design (he also had experience in engineering and architecture). Most of us will never know the full scope of Xenakis’ Polytopes: live performances blending sound, like, structure, and colors. So, we’re left to wonder.

As we wonder, our thoughts don’t evade the onslaught. This isn’t electroacoustic at its most sparse, as these nine pieces are relentless and dense. There are few nooks or crannies - every space is turned out and its contents flung. The This Heat fan in me can’t help but see the record’s opening minutes in the atmosphere in their 1979 debut. Or, if Art BearsHope and Fears came under siege and collapsed, maybe it’d resemble “Persepolis #6”. Though meant to be a free-flowing suite, much changes throughout, as though it’s a time lapse soundtrack to the then-recent history of Iran. (Unfortunate side note: the incoming theocracy of the Iranian Revolution led to the cancellation of the Shiraz Arts Festival, where this was originally performed. Other performers included John Cage, Morton Feldman, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and more.) “Persepolis #8” creaks monolithically, like a decrepit skyscraper, whose thousands of metal beams are bending and twisting. It’s in contrast to a section like “Persepolis #2”, which disorients and stings like desert wind before bumbling through a noisy rigmarole in “Persepolis #3”.

In his book Formalized Music, Xenakis flexed his mathematical knowledge with mentions (and applications) of Poisson’s Law, Paul Lévy, Markov chains, and analysis of Stochastic music. More importantly - and maybe more relevant to us - he explained how causality constricted music, and how his ethos was to transcend the serialist music of the time. On page one, his mission statement is to take concrete sounds and convert them to their spiritual essence. In the process, we navigate through fixations, finding ourselves in a state of bliss and realization, even if it lasts merely a second. A “tremendous truth” beyond music, a religion without dogma. Listening to Persepolis, on the couch, head tilted back, I know it’s here somewhere.




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user ratings (3)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2018


6673 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

https://karlrecords.bandcamp.com/album/persepolis

http://www.karlrecords.net



Xenakis' book I mentioned: https://monoskop.org/images/7/74/Xenakis_Iannis_Formalized_Music_Thought_and_Mathematics_in_Composition.pdf

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2018


17794 Comments


Oh sweet

Saw this floating about on Discogs for a while

Winesburgohio
Contributing Reviewer
March 7th 2018


2302 Comments


astounding work as per and now you've pointed out certain This Heat commonalities i can't unhear them... shitting bricks over here!

Digging: Felicita - Hej!

Gyromania
March 7th 2018


25790 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review. Only heard metastaseis (which you misspelled in the rec section) and I loved it. Will probably check this

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2018


6673 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

lol oopsy, thx

AsleepInTheBack
March 8th 2018


5864 Comments


Neat review, sounds like something that'd probably go over my head but that I'm curious to check. Didn't know you gave out 4.3s

EasterInTheBatcave
March 8th 2018


305 Comments


How does the remaster compare to the original?

TheBarber
March 8th 2018


3720 Comments


Downloaded this rec a while back but never found the time, hopefully this should be it

Digging: Infant Island - Infant Island

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
March 8th 2018


6673 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

@asleep - there's a lot to this contextually but in the end it's just noises



@easter - rashad becker does the remaster. imo this one has less of a 'slow start' and there's some structural changes. i like the overall sound more i think, especially at the mid-section where a lot of the variety is

(should probably have touched on that i suppose, will work it in later)

Sinternet
March 8th 2018


17017 Comments


is this as good as the movie

Digging: Tragedy - Fury

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
March 8th 2018


6673 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

idk I only read the book

rockandmetaljunkie
March 8th 2018


7393 Comments


Can't believe i'm reading descriptions about asmr on sputnik tbh

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
March 8th 2018


6673 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

ehh read more ambient reviews, it comes up

Wildhoney
March 9th 2018


211 Comments


that first sentence... lmao. gotta check this though since a 4.3 from you is some high praise

Sinternet
March 9th 2018


17017 Comments


is it better than the book

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2018


6673 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

“that first sentence... lmao”

I mean... I’m trying to say it has a tingling, soothing effect, but also generates sounds that grate and irritate. I don’t think it’s a bad sentence 😕



@sint - sure, not really comparable since one is an Iranian girl’s coming-of-age graphic novel and the other is some old Greek guy going stringy strangy

Sinternet
March 9th 2018


17017 Comments


stringy strangy sounds good, i'll give it a peep

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2018


6673 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

you mean that could’ve been by entire review?

actually wait that is my entire review

Eons
March 10th 2018


1785 Comments


This guy was a super interesting person.

Cygnatti
March 10th 2018


32577 Comments


lmao a re-release in 2018? why tho.

Digging: Astrud Gilberto - The Astrud Gilberto Album



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