Aemilia – Iran (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Sometimes it is the simplest and the oddest things which are the difference between giving an album a spin and leaving it unexplored, especially given the majestic and dangerously unstable stack of CDs found on my desk. But as soon as I saw the phrase “Italy’s ayatollah-core trio,” I knew that I needed to check it out.

If you are looking for traditional, Middle Eastern sounds, you will be disappointed, although the whole album has the vibe of the place, though as heard through a modern, forward-thinking, perhaps even futuristic sonic filter. These seven improvised pieces take the form of blend of experimental post-rock, relentless motorik energies and noisescapes which drift between the psychedelic and the ambient.

The band themselves refer to the music as being the sound of “electric sheep dreamed by androids,” a phrase which I thought was too brilliant not to include here, though it probably doesn’t help describe the sound that much. What it does do, if you get the reference, is conjure images of dystopian wastelands and the blasted deserts of one possible version of the world in 2049. It also suggests that Aemilia would make a great soundtrack to a film set in such a place. Maybe get Denis Villeneuve on the phone for a quick pitch right now.

But even if the previous paragraph went over your head, Aemilia is a great album to spend some time immersed in. Its soundscapes are always intriguing, always changing, always heading off along tangents that you didn’t see coming. It is free-form, beguiling and nothing less than a brilliant debut album.

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