Tani Ghaffarsedeh – Empty

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Tani Ghaffarsedeh


7 October 2014 (The Other Side)

By Patrick DeBonis

Tani Ghaffarsedeh is a sound artist with quite an odd attempt at an internet persona.  Associated with a London based record label, The Other Side, she appears to have the first two and only releases on the label.  Ghaffarsedeh has had a handful of different tracks appear on her Soundcloud over the last year that have led up to a busy fall for her.  September saw her first official release, State of Mind, with a companion EP, Empty, appearing only a month later.  Ghaffarsedeh studied voice and composition at the University of Glasgow before moving to New York.  In New York she shifted her views to a more diverse approach incorporating electronics and visuals into her work. Based on the location of her last handful of shows it would seem that she now works out of London.

The focus here is on her second release, Empty, the mutated shadow of State of Mind.  Like many contemporary classically trained artists, the control of the musical tone is much more advanced.  The understanding of musical structure is intertwined with the sonic side of her composition.  Between the electronic production, her voice floats around, continually reminiscent of her previous training.  That being said, she has achieved a contorted form of one-dimensional sentiment in her work.

The sound itself wallows in immense depth.  The heavy use of delay allows for each piece to grow and wrap itself around you more with time.  At some points the haunting piano floats somewhere far away in the distance, while the rattling noise encroaches ever closer.  Sonically speaking, the music is far from one-dimensional.  It moves with startling variety, giving a three-dimensional listening experience.  It is not three-dimensional in the traditional sense that a live recording would be, but in a synthetic, broader way.  The effect is attained with a certain form of dynamics.  Again, it is not traditional live instrument dynamics of merely growing louder or quieter but more of the characteristics of a position vector.  Each individual sound decays or swells in a separate direction, completely independent from the rest.

The tone is what gives off the flat feeling to Empty.  The title of the album perfectly describes what is happening with the emotion in Ghaffarsedeh’s compositions; they are utterly void of it.  Lots of music can feel empty or hollow because of how little effort an artist puts into it, but Ghaffarsedeh takes away where many add nothing.  Sound artists and avant-garde works leave the person experiencing them with heavy unsettling emotions, but Ghaffarsedeh achieves the opposite; she takes every emotion away and leaves the listener with nothing.

Two main factors contribute to sapping every feeling from the body.  The first is the directional vector dynamics, which was already discussed.  The second is the choice of sound for each piece.  Compared to State of Mind, Empty does more with less material.  The piano, voice, and the same concoction of noise occupy every track on Empty.  The similarity is to the point that Empty is more of one piece with seven different movements, then an EP of different ideas.  Ghaffarsedeh gains the draining ability of Empty, because each track builds and cuts deeper than the one before it.

Ghaffarsedeh has introduced a refreshing and unique interpretation of sound and the endless possibility of presenting it.  Between State of Mind and Empty Ghaffarsedeh has vaulted herself up with the frontrunners in innovative sound art.

Rating: Gotta Have It


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