Sounds Like: Electronic music rendered on a laptop pulled from a smoldering building
For Fans of: Oneohtrix Point Never, Holly Herndon, Arca
Why You Should Pay Attention: It's not every day that an indie rock singer becomes a figure of geopolitics, but that's what happened when Ashkan Kooshanejad and his band Take It Easy Hospital were featured in the Cannes Special Jury Prize-winning documentary No One Knows About Persian Cats. While playing underground rock concerts had already attracted a police presence in Kooshanejad's hometown of Tehran (and landed him in prison for three weeks), after the film was smuggled out of the country to international acclaim, Kooshanejad and bandmate Negar Shaghaghi became "persons of interest" and sought asylum while on tour in the U.K. Now he's focused on his uncompromising, dizzying and dense electronic album, I AKA I, which will be released by Ninja Tune in April.
He Says: "Before the internet in Tehran, music was very random via people bringing in tapes and records," said Kooshanejad, who now calls London home. "It was either Backstreet Boys or Pink Floyd's The Wall. We picked tapes based on their covers. I was into Pink Floyd and then Nirvana. Electronic music was rare." Kooshanejad formed bands and taught himself how to produce. "No one was teaching about this kind of music, about found sound or how you can manipulate sound with a computer. It was experimental and I was self-taught. It was just for myself and personal." He still doesn't know much about the genre he finds himself in and instead draws inspiration from classical composers. "Vivaldi is someone I'm trying to see myself in," he says. "For me, electronic music is just a method — it's just because I use a computer."
Hear for Yourself: "Mudafossil" is a collision of Eastern violin and Western noise. Andy Beta