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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


Keith Jarret & Jan Garbarek – Luminessence

I started listening to music as a metal head, I played electric guitar. Then this relative of ours came from Romania. He lived there and was studying to be a doctor, and he came with this huge collection of ECM CDs. He had this really cool hi-fi system and he invited us to listen, and played us all this ECM stuff.

Of course people never turn it with one ECM CD, they turn up with all of them.

This Garbarek was the first CD I actually bought. In Iran at that time you had bootleg CDs and cassettes that were really cheap, with Xeroxed covers, bad production, terrible quality. We called them CDs, and the imports you would buy from Europe we called 'originals' which were very expensive. So I saved up and went to the store, and this was the only ECM album they had that didn't have a cinematic photograph on it. It has this big font, so I said OK, I'm gonna get that one. I didn't know how it sounded. When I got home and listened to it, I was stunned, totally speechless. It had a roughness that really spoke to me.

How did that change things for the way you were finding or listening to music?

The adventure was the thrill of getting this CD and finding a completely new world that I didn't know about. It went further than getting something from a friend’s collection. It became about looking for places to buy things, looking for albums in listings, and calling people coming from abroad to say 'can you please bring me this CD?' It got me into being a music nerd.