The topic keeps coming up – how to find mental peace and remain centered even in tumultuous times. Iranian-born composer Arash Azadi is uniquely able to create those kinds of spaces in his music.
Finding meditative practice has been a survival tactic for friends dealing first-hand with crisis in Ukraine, in Iran, in Armenia, with long COVID, with other stress. Meditation for musicians is always impossible to separate from sound, to the point of it sometimes being difficult to find stillness in silence. But “Healing Light Through Stained Glasses” provides a specially constructed sonic environment for just this kind of inner recovery.
Arash, born in Hamedan, Iran, began with classical Persian study on the setar. But he came to interweave other compositional approaches across folk, contemporary concert, and experimental practices, followed by audiovisual work and more recently some club idioms. He studied in Armenia’s Yerevan State Conservatory and lived in Armenia for some years – to the point that Arash’s name comes up all the time as you look at some of what’s happened in the Yerevan scene in the past decade.
“Healing Light Through Stained Glasses” was composed back in 2021, in the context of the Mahaweb Festival, which focused on Middle Eastern and North African (and Persian) music. The festival’s name literally means “talents.” This piece was part of “Space In-Between,” an audiovisual installation-performance in collaboration with Hasmik Badoyan.
In what seems now to some of us like a parallel universe, the setting was Planetarium No. 1 in St. Petersburg. Now, in 2022, international collaboration in Russia has been largely interrupted. But as an instrument of meditation, the piece becomes essential. Here’s what Arash wrote about it:
The music is a minimal composition for one multi-layered synthesizer which creates a meditative soundscape over a long chord based on perfect 4th intervals. In this piece the composer has experimented with 528 hz (tuning A=444 hz, centered around C) that refers to ancient healing frequencies called Solfeggio and Sacred Geometry that are based on the perfect 4th intervals creating a Dodecagram. Over time the notes add on top of each other and get modulated gradually. The whole piece is constantly evolving and transforming in subtle, gentle ways.
It’s worth following it to the end, in order to get the full trip. The project is out on Kotä, curated by Gleb Glonti. (I’ve been both on this label and partnered on projects with Gleb.)
For an entirely different gesture, there is also this demand to abolish nations, self-released:
From the description:
Who needs nations? This whole Earth belongs to us.
As an active member of Earth’s society, I demand the total abolition of all old and existing constructs that create division and conflict. I demand the full implementation (theoretical and practical) of All Unity concept to be core of our ideologies. Amen Ya Rábál Alámin.
** Sufi knows no country, that the whole universe is their home.
Voice: from Osho’s talk on Nationalism
I also find myself returning to Arash’s 2017 outing, too, which is out on my own Establishment:
I’m certainly thinking of a lot of friends and loved ones right now, alongside strangers in need, as well. And for a lot of people separated by the chaos of the last years, I hope we meet again soon.
So to all of you, I hope this helps you find some healing light. Thank you, Arash.
Artwork by Hasmik Badoyan (“Healing Light Through Stained Glasses”) and Arash Azadi (Geosonic Journeys).