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Baker's Dozen

The Pleasure Of Discomfort: Siavash Amini's Favourite Music
Jennifer Lucy Allan , August 26th, 2020 09:07

Siavash Amini discusses his 13 favourite albums with Jennifer Lucy Allan, including the power of romanticism, weeping over the death of Leonard Cohen, and why Nils Frahm has a lot to answer for. Photo by Selma Pour-Amin


Ralph Towner – Ana

I got this through a friend of mine, the relative that came from Romania. He led he lent us CDs so we could rip them into mp3. I still have the mp3s I ripped actually – I'm emotionally attached to digital files! [laughs] I still listen to those same files. The first half is all compositions of classical guitar, which I was studying at the time. But they're dirty, messy and improvisational. It's very difficult to play, technically. So you hear him struggling with the technique, but he's getting the emotions through no matter what. The thing that I love about it is the sequencing – it starts with the most clear, most defined harmonies you can imagine, the clearest voice possible, the guitar is huge in your speakers, in your face with a big reverb, then it starts to melt away. He diffuses the album technically, harmonically and sonically, and I love it.

I went sober – with the help of John's book no less [tQ editor John Doran’s Jolly Lad] – 19 months ago. This album was the start of my drinking – I started drinking gin out of can, if you can believe it. You could get it really cheap as a high schooler. This album was my refuge. I had this classical guitar, I just moved to Tehran, and everything was too much. The school was too much, the city was too much – I was like a small city kid – this calm album that expressed exactly what it wanted with just one instrument spoke to me a lot, and I drank a lot of gin to it.

Can you still listen to it now?

The first three Scott Walker albums, I don't listen to them any more – I can't. There are a few albums like that, but this one no – I was too innocent a drinker back then.