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Top picks for the Tehran Contemporary Sounds Festival

The first edition of Tehran Contemporary Sounds Festival kicking off Dec 6 through Dec 9 at Kunstraum Bethanien brings together an exciting line-up of the nation’s rising electronica stars. Don't miss our critic's top picks.

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Photo by Hessam Samavatian. Catch Rojin Sharafi as part of Tehran Contemporary Sounds Festival on Dec 8, 22:35, at Kunstraum Bethanien, Kreuzberg.

Ata Ebtekar might not be a name on your radar. Still, the Zabte Sote Records boss is one of the most eminent practitioners of experimental electronica out there. What’s more, his native Iran is home to one of the most exciting underground electronic scenes in the world. Tehran Contemporary Sounds Festival is the first edition of a new event put on by Berlin-based festival organ­isers Gate of Tehran – Days Of Experimental Sound. It will shine a light on the broad spectrum of the country’s music and con­temporary art, featuring performances from Zabte Sote and Deep House Tehran’s many talented artists. As for the sound itself, there is no one way of pinning it down. Born from an all-too-recent assertion that many modern musical forms were politically dangerous, the contemporary Iranian sound has its roots in the underground. Increasingly, this pioneering work is being allowed space to flourish, and in Sote (meaning “sound” in Farsi), the scene has found a paragon of burgeoning repute. Arrive opening night for Noxte Vol. III, a specially curated exhibition by the Nullsight Collective (Dec 6, 16:00), before highlight Sarah Kivi (Dec 6, 21:40) takes the stage. The Finnish-Iranian songwriter never shies from challenging, genre-hopping music. Also watch out for Temp-Illusion (Dec 7, 23:45), whose noisy, atmospheric productions swerve the line between drone and ambient, followed by Nesa Azadikhah (Dec 8, 1:00). The Deep House Tehran boss is one of Iran’s most sought-after sound artists and will close out day two. Finally, Rojin Sharafi (Dec 8, 22:35), is perhaps the most exciting name on the bill. The young composer is known for her original electro-acoustic productions, which touch on noise, folk, ambient, metal and contemporary music and is one of the rising stars of experimental music worldwide.

Tehran Contemporary Sounds Festival | Kunstraum Bethanien, Kreuzberg. Dec 6-9.