Kurdish Iranian musician Kayhan Kalhor teamed up with local string quartet Brooklyn Rider to record an album called Silent City. Like a good science-fiction book, Silent City has a terrible cover and fascinating contents. Placid, contemplative, not-entirely-Western classical. (Would have worked well on my recent ambient radio show.)

The 29-minute title song employs soft drones, cycling melodies, and gentle volume swells to great effect. One of the under-appreciated powers of acoustic classical music is dB dynamics, sheer AMPLITUDE RANGE; a concert hall can soar from whisper to rumble, and pieces can be written which exploit this, this walking alongside silence when necessary. Go from loud to quiet in a club, and not only will you hear everyone talking over the music, somebody will start shouting. At you. To turn the music back up. (Not necessarily a bad thing; perhaps classical music would be more interesting if the audience members shouted like drunk ravers from time to time.)

I would love to see Kalhor and Brooklyn Rider perform live (we played on the same night last week in Copenhagen, I did not catch them). Here’s one of the shorter songs from the album:


Kayhan Kalhor and Brooklyn Rider – Parvaz [buyable]


7 thoughts on “SILENT CITY”

  1. I also really like Eleni Karaindrou’s work, especially her soundtracks for the Theo Angeloupoulos. she’s got several cds/soundtrack albums on ECM. i’d start with “The Weeping Meadow” — and see the film if you can!

    i’m looking for more material like this myself, so stay tuned.

  2. if you want similar artist : hossein alizadeh,masoud shaari,payam jahanmani,ali ghamsari,hoeein behruzi nia,ardavan kamkar
    and also you can listen to kalhor’s other records like sight silence desert or the rain or his records with maestro shajarian or scattering stars like dust,you can also listen to his records on silk road project,search silk road project and you can find it

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