The above photo was taken on a recent (2010) trip to Turkmen Sahra.
Sohrab was born in Tehran in 1984. He was seven when the Iran-Iraq war ended. His name, from an old poem called 'Shahname', means 'rouge water', which can also mean 'blood'. He started a punk band with his brother and a friend, which lasted about two years before splitting. He is currently living in Berlin.
In Iran, 70% of the population is under 30 years old, and this explosive social mix is causing trouble. Sohrab performed one illegal gig which was broken up by the police. He then took to performing alone in a desert or other place of wilderness. Various sound files were sent out before he himself left for Germany in late 2010. These files were assembled to form his first album, A Hidden Place, which reflects his inner cultural isolation.
Sohrab is published by Touch Music/Fairwood Music UK Ltd.
Sohrab's releases, including bonus tracks, are now available on Bandcamp
You can find out more information here:
21.10.09 - Tanhayi - Live in Tehran – 42:24 - 320 kbps
Biking in Holland | Tears (Sohrab version) | Tanhayi | Satyr | Tears (Esteban Olenikov version Tundra)
| There is an ashtray between us | Tears (Yozhik version) | New Zealand | Barf
Recorded and played live in October 2009.
A hidden Place is in Pantha du Prince's top 10 albums of 2010
The Wire (UK):
With this album, context is everything and nothing. Sohrab is a Tehran based musician whose sense of displacement and isolation within his own country is palpable across the six Ambient pieces making up this release. He's both a product of his environment and a reaction against it. This contradiction still fits a model of rebel music (punk, say), except that here the form of expression is so internalised as to represent a kind of withdrawal.
There's plenty of space in his soundscapes, where the slow reverb of chimes and the fluttering of abstract electronica punctuate solemn pauses. It's like an expression of emptiness, of faint, spectral essences occupying vacant areas. But then these spaces become filled with a more forthright presence of undulating tonal frequencies, a respite from the indefinable sense of oppression.
A few voice samples pepper these washes of sound, but they offer only glimpses of a more concrete sense of place. It's the persistent emphasis on the elusive that makes these expressions so beguiling. While there is beauty here, there is also a nagging undertow of anxiety, a reminder of Sohrab's status as a cultural exile in his own country. [Tom Ridge]
Norman Records (UK):
This is the first thing I've heard from this young Iranian artist and as far as I'm aware his first physical release finding a suitable home at camp Touch. Sohrab creates unique soundscapes using Reason software with superb results. From the slowly building evocative bubbles of 'Susanna' to the emotionally resonant 'Somebody'. Sohrab also uses field recordings adding an additional layer of depth to his sound world. The tracks work subtly and build a mysterious picture of hidden corners. Fine quality stuff.
Sohrab: Iraanse experimentele muzikant op de vlucht
[Sohrab: Iranian experimental musician on the run]
Een Iraanse muzikant die een uitstekend album uitbrengt op het ultrahippe Londense muzieklabel Touch? Dat is natuurlijk groot nieuws! Sohrab is het pseudoniem van Sohrab Karimi Asli uit Teheran. Nieuwsgierig als we zijn, gingen we meteen op zoek naar de man. We vonden hem in Berlijn, terwijl deportatie als een zwaard van Damocles boven zijn hoofd hing. Vanuit zijn tijdelijke Duitse verblijfplaats kregen we volgend alarmerend bericht: “Ik moet je helaas melden dat ik op dit moment dreig gedeporteerd te worden uit Europa. Als je binnenkort niks meer van me hoort, dan zit ik in een Duitse deportatiegevangenis. Ik hoop dat het niet gebeurt en dat we in contact kunnen blijven…” Een paar dagen later hingen we aan de chat met de bewuste Sohrab. [Peter Wullen]
An Iranian musician who brings out an excellent album on the ultrahip London label Touch? That is great news of course! Sohrab is the alias of Sohrab Karimi Asli from Teheran. Curious as we are, we went looking for him immediately. We found him in Berlin, just when deportation was hanging above his head as a sword of Damocles. From his temporary residence, we received this hair-raising and alarming message: “But i must inform you, at the moment im facing the possibility of deportation from europe.. In case you don't hear from me soon, I’m being in deportation prisons of germany.. But i hope it won't happen and i can keep in touch.” A couple of days we were on the chatbox with Sohrab. [Peter Wullen]
Touch introduce a new artist to their roster, a 26 year old called Sohrab from Tehran. His startlingly beautiful first release 'A Hidden Place', is a six track album of elaborate ambient electronics and textured drones. Sohrab's music is understandably informed by a life isolated from outside cultures, and even displaced in his own country, which makes his instinctively blissful yet subtly menacing music all the more remarkable. In 'Susanna' we glean lulling rhythms reminiscent of Biosphere's 'Dropsonde' while in 'Pedagogicheskaya Poema' we're reminded of BJ Nilsen and Stilluppsteypa's 'Space Finale', but of course these sounds are informed by Sohrab's own natural taste for occluded darkness. Highly recommended to fans of Deathprod, Hildur Guddnadottir, Fennesz or Kevin Drumm.