Ten years ago, electronic music in Iran was suppressed by the government. But now these strange, often punishing sounds are finding their way into the world
Ten years ago Bahman Ghobadi’s film No One Knows About Persian Cats followed a young Iranian songwriting duo’s efforts to form a band with other underground musicians in Iran. It presented a country in which music deemed politically or culturally incendiary was prohibited, since artists hoping to perform or distribute their work had to acquire permission from the Iranian ministry of culture and Islamic guidance, or risk arrest.
Western journalists seized upon a narrative of sensitive outlaws holed up in underground studios, but today a new story is emerging: of a visionary music community now able to openly share its strange creations. Increasingly, Iran is becoming recognised as a hub for some of the world’s most vital, forward-thinking experimental music.