Following up on the first volume of this series that was released in 2017, Unexplained Sounds Group and Cold Spring Records have teamed up again to document the rich and multi-faceted Iranian underground music scene. The music spanning these 20 tracks all falls under the rough category of experimental but varies in approach.
While incorporating pieces from dodenskald and Negari, Shirely, and Pandi that hint at Middle-Eastern melodies, the rest of the album can roughly be divided by influence – dark ambient / drone, techno, or something else. Regarding the former, Morego Dimmer is present with two of his monikers, Nyctalllz and Xerxes the Dark. The Xerxes track employs wind and sparse string instrumentation, as well as synth, to great effect. Other artists providing efforts along these lines include IDFT, Shahin Souri, PooYar, Melkor, and Reza Solatipour, exploring ominous long-held tones and cinematic waves of synth. In contrast, Babak Sepanta, S.S.M.P., Dariush Salehpour & Zhoobin Askarieh, and Sam Eyvaz make use of sequencers, loops, and/or percussion to drive warmer and catchier efforts. Nonetheless, where Vision of Darkness Vol. II contributes in the most compelling fashion is its featuring of artists whose material defies simple categorization. Tracks from Alireza Amirhajebi, Amin Shirazi, and Vesal Javaheri straddle multiple genres with rough textures, beats, static, and sculpted feedback, among other sounds.
Ultimately, the exact categorization of many tracks is too difficult and not even necessary or desirable. Art finds a way to be expressed, regardless of labeling. This set of recordings from one of the world’s oldest civilizations is captivatingly modern, abstract, and enjoyable.