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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


Scott Walker – The Drift

This is the perfect album. I don't think music can be perfect, I think only films can be perfect as art forms, but this is as close to complete and perfect as it gets for me. It tells you from the first moment to fuck off. What I mean is that from the get go, it's an uncomfortable, disgusting, album. And there's a reason for it. He wants to put you in that situation and you cannot shake it off. What I want to do always in my live performance or albums, is exactly that. I always think I'm failing – people say ‘oh, I go to sleep to your albums’ and I think, ‘oh fuck you’.

So you actually want the discomfort as a bold and intentional thing? It's almost confrontational.

Yeah. I like that – maybe it's my metal background. I've had people shouting at me, I have people having panic attacks. I've emptied half a room in Basel, in two minutes. They always think I'm the ambient guy and they invite me and I play these really loud shows. Everything is shaking and vibrating and they get scared and then pissed off.

The thing is, we're always in the comfort of certain settings that the whole establishment of art, government, and the private sector with all the money, has made you feel comfortable. . All the things that like industrial music people were doing in the 70s, we were trying to do it here to get people out of their comfort zones. You come to a show of mine, it's completely dark. It's very loud. You don't get setlist, I don't talk to you. You come in, you get bombarded with something, and you go out and figure it out.

The confrontation for me, relates to the cultural atmosphere in Iran too. Because too much of the music or art that is consumed every day, even by intellectuals, even by creative types, even by people who call themselves artists, it's too comfortable, and this comfort comes from a depoliticisation of certain genres and making them more soft, and making them more unrecognisable. That's why I don't get like ambient Nils Frahm stuff. What's the significance of it, other than you're rich and you have nothing to worry about?