Review: Nima Aghiani – Convergence Zone (Zabte Sote, Sep 6)

Convergence Zone is certainly less noisy and abrasive than Nima Aghiani’s previous release, his 2018 solo debut REMS on Purple Tape Pedigree, but it is by no means any less disconcerting. Though Aghiani seeks a more meditative and even calmer atmosphere with the approach he takes on this new EP—this time around, the sounds extracted from conventional instruments are often at the forefront, giving Convergence Zone a sort of deconstructed band feel at times as string drones wail and percussion samples are split open and spread out like a citrus peel—those feelings of massiveness, claustrophobia, and threatening tension are still present beneath the densely constructed compositions. “Humachine” is a (relatively, of course) accessible opener, stringing taut cables of electronic noise and violin over a complex rhythm loop that, despite that complexity, provides a concrete handhold for the listener. Further in the vein of accessibility, there are some truly beautiful moments on this EP, from the drifting melodies of “In the Flesh” to the simmering, nocturnal majesty of “Attract/Repulse,” but true to form Aghiani is always ready to dismantle any comfort, this time with the harrowing dissonance and punishing drone of “Submit, Defy.” The conclusion of this final track is probably my favorite thing in all of Convergence Zone, falling somewhere in between the unforgiving darkness and bright sublimity that are explored throughout.