To be released on cassette and digitally on 3/23/18. Pink tape with black imprints. 2-sided 3-panel J-Card with artwork from HausMo Max.
Arian Shafiee plays guitar with Brooklyn-based dance punk band Guerilla Toss, and composes music for an imagined large ensemble under his given name. Beauty Tuning, his first release as a solo artist, showcases Shafiee’s prodigious command of fretless and microtonal guitars, blasting listeners with doses of ecstatic Moroccan harmony and minimalism-inspired improv in the style of late downtown New York. His dense compositions conjure dystopian landscapes draped in abstracted guitar tones and queasy keyboard drones, before plummeting back to Earth with passages of scraped industrial rhythm and clusters of synthetic percussion. Shafiee allows these disparate elements to drift in and out of focus over the course of Beauty Tuning, setting up a fractured listening experience that sidesteps the stodgy tropes of electroacoustic improv in favor of divergent song structures and acutely juxtaposed sound sources. By highlighting guitar microtones and extended techniques indebted to eastern traditions, he dismantles and reassembles traditional western notions of pitch and harmony. Shafiee’s arrangements teem with overlapping synthetic instruments and percussive voices that challenge the role of “orchestral” instrumentation within the context of contemporary guitar-based composition. Shafiee’s playing brings to mind the focused squall and unpredictable gestures of Keiji Haino, the deviation from harmony and textural fretboard manipulation of Arto Lindsay, and a union of academic and noise-derived strategies akin to Elliott Sharp. With Guerilla Toss, he has released albums on DFA Records, Feeding Tube, NNA Tapes, and Tzadik. His full length solo acoustic guitar LP will be released on Vin Du Select Qualitite in late 2018.