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DESPICABLE ZEE – ATIGHEH (Self release)
The latest release from local drummer, producer and youth worker Zahra Tehrani has an accompanying book, a rough-snipped 70s sepia collage of photographs of her father after his emigration from Iran to the UK. The music has a similarly handmade feel, combining fuzzy loops and vocal snippets with the artful looseness of a Kurt Schwitters piece, and also a similar air of parallel pride and melancholy. The EP feels wonderfully like a low key, dewy-eyed version all your favourite highbrow electro-pop: “We Won’t Stop” is late Bjork without the grandstanding and abstract frocks, “Counting Cars” is The Knife with verdigris tarnishing all the shiny cyborg surfaces, and when the drums kick in on “Sidhe” it’s like a timid, battle-weary Add N To (X).
“There are holes in our children’s memories”, claims the opening track, and although Atigheh is allusive and mysterious, lyrically and sonically, it may be about what is lost and what is gained as cultures meet and merge. Whilst the booklet tells of the marriage of an Iranian man and an Irish woman, the low-level police persecution and a hilarious British culinary baptism in a plate of beans on toast, it also tells of the beginning of a new family. The conflicting statements in “Counting Cars” are that “no matter where we land we always feel alone” and “keep on going, keep on living, keep on striving”. The booklet states simply “roses grow limes dry up”. Debit/credit. Regardless of whether this is the message, the EP has a soft, wintry beauty we recommend to anyone who appreciates understated electronica and intelligent pop. Like a blurred and washed out old family snap, Atigheh is life-affirming and achingly sad at the same time.