Phonē to Logos

Porya Hatami

Porya Hatami (b.1981) is an experimental sound artist based in Sanandaj, Iran. Working in the field of ambient/minimal, his compositions explore the balance between electronics and environmental sounds, utilizing processed acoustic and electronic sources and field recordings. His Debut album released on UK based Somehow Recordings in January 2012 and since then he has worked with numerous high quality record labels.

Phonē to Logos

I was invited by Audiobulb to look back and select music including unreleased tracks that illustrated my evolution as an artist. Phone to Logos retraces my creative process to date. Each track illustrates distinct sound palettes and aesthetics at play during different periods of writing. It has been a reflective process, assembling my journey through sound, steeped in memory, emotion and learning.

The first two tracks were written around the time of my first album's period; Dawn with Tomotsugu is an unused track from our ongoing collaboration; Parachute and QM_Interrupted are from "Unstable" sessions; Color Bars and ‘81 are from "Arrivals and Departures" and One-Way and Inexistence are from last year. 

_After is a new short track I made for this collection – a place I arrived at only to keep moving. The two tracks with Arovane are unused tracks from our ongoing collaboration, which the first part of it released on the Eter Lab label as the album, "Resonance". Finally, "Sketch" is a part of my upcoming collaboration with Artificial Memory Trace, coming out at the end of the year.

Artwork: Uwe Zahn


AB068 | September 2016



  1. Igloo Magazine

    Porya Hatami, the Iranian field-recordist and minimalist musician, has—across a reasonably short career — produced an extended and engaging body of releases which range from dexterous collaborations with the likes of Lcoma and Lee Anthony Norris through to conceptual and meditative explorations such as his 18:46 minute “The Waning Branches,” a track which profiled the growth and ‘sudden decline’ of a single morus tree in his native Sanandaj, where processed drones interweave through rich layers of rising and falling field recording—where car horns and industrial noise give way to the bowed, wavering life-line of the tree, a shimmering digital thread.

    In this way, Hatami’s output has consistently tested the thematic and technical boundaries of sonic recording and audio production. With Phone to Logos, the musician was invited by the Audiobulb label to ‘look back and select music including unreleased tracks that illustrated [his] evolution as an artist‘. Accordingly, these ‘curated’ tracks outline the contours, milestones, and landscapes of that evolution in a way that enables us to better contextualize the spaces of development and experimentation between his 2012 Land and his more recent releases, such as his string of collaborations including Veerian with Uwe Zahn (aka Arovane) and Darren McClure, which moved toward merging the tonal and abstract sound design of three distinctive artists who are based in Germany, Iran and Japan respectively. In fact, it is unusual to see younger and early-career artists invited to reflect in this way upon their own musical and creative development, and thus—on its own—Hatami’s Phone To Logos is an interesting type of audio document in its own right; a kind of auto-archive by which the musician does not so much explain as show.

    In Phone to Logos, Hatami offers a generous arrangement of works which attempt to narrate and demonstrate his developing practice as an artist and technician. The first track, “Before Finitude,” offers a languid and extended layer of ambient drone which develops entirely—it seems—through processed sound, albeit marked by inprints and ligaments of rasping noise and shimmering sonic fragments which twist and pearl throughout the skin of the track. Later works such as “Parachute” owe obviously more to ‘organic’ inspired ripples and structures, employing greater use of processed strings and keys—a more distinctive ‘musicality’ penetrates the sound. It is in later tracks that the figuration of field recording comes to play a greater and more decisive role in the body of the sound, as well as representing a shift toward a more haunting and ‘distorted’ aural repertoire. “Inexistence” is typical of this movement toward fragmentation and unexpected contouring, a sound mediated through filters and delays, fatter with organic texture. The same can be seen with “QM Interrupted,” which again generates a more dissociative and fractured landscape.

    Despite the variety and diversity of the work produced by Hatami, his ‘public’ career has spanned a more modest stretch of only four years after his initial release in 2012, though the tracks paint a picture of pre-2012 directions which draw more directly from processed ambience and minimal drone. Overall, Phone to Logos details a process by which Hatami’s early and more linear ambience has given way to more disruptive and complex sound signatures, distortion, and rhythms—these do not detract from his clearly brilliant field-recording, but rather work to better depict the complex textures and behaviors of organic and non-organic materials and landscapes. With releases such as Shallow and The Waning Branches, you can see Hatami move toward a rich and generous ambient structure, but also—more recently—to move beyond it toward an increasingly complicated and collaborative methodology which has embrassed the opportunities offered by disruptive and textured sound.

    Phone To Logos ends with a forward-looking and new release produced especially for the album (After), as well as unused tracks from his ongoing collaboration with Arovane, and “Sketch;” a track which points toward an as-yet unreleased collaboration with Artificial Memory Trace, which will be released toward the end of the year. This final sequence of tracks embody the most recent and more explorative and collaborative sound which pays homage to Hatami’s agility as a producer and director of his own musical production;

    Across the surface of Phone To Logos is visible the work of a single hand, even despite the variety and difference of each of the individual milestones within. The overall impression is a warm and generous one that becomes increasingly confident in the possibilities offered by disruptive sound and time signatures; it is testament to Hatami’s influence on the scene and his musical and compositional ability that he has been able to release what amounts to a ‘retrospective’ still during an early point in his career, especially considering that his first release made an appearance only in January 2012 through the UK’s Somehow Recordings. Even at that time, the tonal complexity and richness of the work was astonishing; Phone to Logos does not depict an artist working within a single channel, but rather an adaptable, exciting and deeply experimental voice able to shift register and identity while retaining his core musical interests.

  2. Beach Sloth

    Absolutely serene in nature, Porya Hatami’s “Phone to Logos” offers a quiet kind of beauty. Sounds positively glimmer with hope and light. Over the course of the album Porya Hatami gives the small sounds of the world great power. Melodies are joyful as they help to serve as the heart and center of the album. From amplifying these moments all of “Phone to Logos” celebrates that which is so oftentimes overlooked. The approach and style employed feels reminiscent at times of a woozy hypnagogic pop style used in early James Ferraro albums.

    Serving as an ideal introduction to the glorious seas of sound is the immersive scope of “Before Finitude”. Throughout the song elements drift on by ever so leisurely. Attention to detail is of the utmost importance as melodies interact creating a web of sound, interacting with each other’s various rhythms and timbres. Field recordings are brought in for the dreamy “Pomegranates”. Keeping the song focused on the essentials it is rather gorgeous in how it gradually evolves. Very playful is the gentle swoon of “Parachute”. Hinting at larger worlds is the awe-filled approach of “’81”. Akin to a transmission from far away is the surreal “Inexistence”. Like broken fragments of a Boards of Canada song is “QM_Interrupted”. Cinematic in hue is the grandeur of “Palais feat Arovane” which at times veers into darker terrain. Ending everything off in a great sea of colors is “Sketch feat Artificial Memory Trace”.

    With a deft hand Porya Hatami’s “Phone to Logos” serves as the soundtrack between reality and the imaginary.

  3. Foreign Accents

    Porya Hatami is a musician and sound artist based in Sanandaj, Iran– I first got interested in this fellow’s work through a listen to The Garden, which impressed me for its sensitivity and the intuitive approach towards its concept.

    Phonē to Logos, his new album for Audiobulb, should most definitely be among any ambient fan’s must-listens of the year. The impetus for this collection’s release was an invitation from Audiobulb to compile unused odds and ends that would illustrate Hatami’s evolution as an artist. The 13 tracks collected here include collaborations with Tomotsugu Nakamura, Arovane, and Artificial Memory Trace.

    The pieces on Phonē to Logos take a while to arrive, yet maintain a certain familiarity and warmth. Unlike his Iranian contemporaries in the Tehran scene, who tend toward the synth-ier side of things for their cosmic melancholy, Hatami usually takes a very minimal approach, frequently using field-recording in his work and finding a cumulative glitchy poetry in carefully manipulated acoustic sources more than synths (there’s a lot of diversity in his work, though– the floaty, Steve Roach-esque journey Arrivals and Departures, for example). As Phonē to Logos progresses, you see how the textures become more obscured and distanced, and the stories manifest an exchange between reality and illusion. There is a stillness and organic effulgence to be found particularly in earlier efforts like the fragmented, wind-worn melodies of “Pomegranates” and “Parachute”, and though this thread continues through the years, on tracks like “One Way”, “QM_Interrupted” and his collaborations with Arovane and Artificial Memory Trace, you can see Hatami experimenting with sound design to create atmospheres deliberately unreal. It’s a worthy collection from one of my favorite contemporary ambient sound artists… I hope you’ll snatch it up!

    Conjoining Currents: Ambient, Electro-Acoustic, Minimal, Federico Durand, Sawako, Human Being by Tomoyoshi Date, the films of the late Abbas Kiarostami

    Label: Audiobulb

  4. Ambient Blog

    Only a few months after the Kaziwa release with Arovane, Audiobulb releases another Porya Hatami album worth checking out. Especially when you’re new to Hatami‘s work, because this album is a hand-picked selection of tracks (including unreleased work) that illustrates his musical evolution over the five years since his debut release in 2012.

    Phone To Logos retraces my creative process to date. Each track illustrates distinct sound palettes and aesthetics at play during different periods of writing.”

    Most of the thirteen tracks are solo pieces, but there are some collaboration pieces too: such as Dawn (with Tomogotsu Nakamura), two tracks with Arovane (not included on Kaziwa), anda sneak peek into the future release with Artificial Memory Trace.

  5. So What

    È un percorso che descrive uno sviluppo artistico quello proposto da Porya Hatami in “Phonē to logos”, accogliendo la richiesta della Audiobulb Records. Il modo in cui con costanza le coordinate sonore si sono evolute arricchendosi viene narrato dal sound artist iraniano attraverso una raccolta di tracce scritte durante la realizzazione dei suoi dischi personali e quelli condivisi.

    Il flusso risultante denota come l’equilibrata miscela di modulazioni elettroniche e field recordings  si sia gradualmente trasformata passando da un’ambience luminosa ricca di tenue nuances e costellata da frammenti melodici (“Pomegranates”, “Dawn”) a trame sempre più caratterizzate da frequenze dissonanti (“Parachute”, “Color bars”) o da un’evanescenza dominante (“One way”, “Inexistence”), fino a giungere alla costruzione di paesaggi più ruvidi e oscuri in collaborazione con Uwe Zahn aka Arovane (“Ee nn ee”, “Palais”) e con Artificial Memory Trace (“_Sketch”).

    Un viaggio interessante che lascia emergere con evidenza la graduale maturazione di Hatami e il costante ampliarsi della sua tavolozza sonora ed emozionale.

  6. Ether Real

    Non content de publier plusieurs sorties par an, en solitaire ou accompagné d’autres artistes (tel cet album commun avec Arovane, évoqué il y a peu sur ces pages), Porya Hatami a répondu favorablement à l’invitation d’Audiobulb de livrer une compilation de morceaux inédits. Piochés tout au long de ces cinq dernières années, issus des sessions de travail de ses différentes parutions, ces treize titres, disposés chronologiquement sur ce long-format, permettent alors de retracer le parcours et l’évolution de l’Iranien.

    En effet, à écouter un album isolé d’Hatami, on a souvent l’impression que son ambient composite se fait trop homogène, manquant de variation et de personnalité, par rapport à tout ce qui peut se faire par ailleurs dans ce registre bien encombré. Or, le panorama que constitue Phone To Logos vient, en partie, démentir ce constat. C’est ainsi qu’en 2002, au début de sa carrière, des éléments oniriques (gazouillis d’oiseaux, bruit d’eau, tessiture « aquatique  » de ses notes) étaient convoqués, dans un ensemble marqué par une grande délicatesse et une certaine forme d’économie de moyens.

    Puis, petit à petit, l’atmosphère générale va se faire plus inquiétante, introduisant des vocalises spectrales (One-Way), des souffles ou des bruits métalliques  ; dans le même temps, les triturations vont aussi en s’accroissant (After) et les nappes prennent progressivement le pas sur les notes isolées. Le travail sur ces textures, jouant sur leur oscillation, le flux et le reflux trouve son apogée dans la collaboration de Porya Hatami avec Arovane, dont deux extraits nous sont livrés ici (ee nn n ee et Palais). Plus encore, sur le dernier morceau, conçu avec Artificial Memory Trace (Sketch), l’aspect expérimental se trouve particulièrement mis en avant  : sonorités semblables au déplacement d’armoires métalliques, grondement régulier en arrière-plan, rares percées lumineuses. Ainsi résumé, le parcours de l’Iranien ne le conduit pas véritablement vers quelque chose de plus enjoué mais, au moins, on observe une transformation évidente.

  7. Music Won't Save You

    Porya Hatami è sicuramente uno dei più brillanti e prolifici tra gli artisti che hanno dischiuso al mondo la ricchissima scena sperimentale iraniana: oltre una decina tra album solisti e collaborativi, realizzati nel corso di appena cinque anni, ne hanno rivelato la sensibilità nel cesellare delicati intrecci elettro-acustici.

    In “Phone To Logos” è lui stesso a rivolgere lo sguardo indietro al suo intenso percorso artistico, compilando una raccolta di materiale creato a margine dei suoi lavori precedenti. La sequenza, che comprende due inediti tratti da processi creativi in corso, offre lo spaccato di un’evoluzione espressiva che descrive in maniera empatica un fragile microcosmo materiale e immaginario.