Nostalgia

electroacoustic music and video art

Artwork: Guercino (1647-1648); The Persian Sibyl.
Total duration: 44'
Date: 7 December 2018Location: New York, New York, USA

Nostalgia is a collection of Saman Samadi’s multimedia compositions, incorporating electroacoustic music and video art, evolved from various nostalgic states of the author. This project was presented at “Lethal #7” from the “Last Saturdays Salon” concert series of new music, hosted by Concrete Timbre, in Manhattan, New York, on the 19th of November, 2016. An album consisting of the audio recordings of these compositions has been published on digital music stores and streaming platforms such as Google Play, Spotify, and Apple Music, on the 7th of December 2018.

Ghorbat (2016)


Instrumentation: multimediaDate: 20 September 2016.Location: New York, New York, USA

In an Autumn evening, riding the New York City subway, the original idea for Saman Samadi’s “Ghorbat” formed, after he read a poem by contemporary Persian poet Mahmood Davoodi.

“This sand staircase, tumbling towards the dark lake, these pines on the everyday path of rain, this stone bench, this gloom, that sits you down next to the trembling bird, is ‘uncanniness.’ ”

(Mahmood Davoodi. 2004. translated by Saman Samadi, 2018.)

Berceuses (2016)


Instrumentation: multimediaDate: 7 October 2016Location: New York, New York, USA

“The age that remembers best is also the most forgetful: namely, childhood. The more poetically one remembers, the more easily one forgets, for to remember poetically is actually only an expression for forgetting. When I remember poetically, my experience has already undergone the change of having lost everything painful. In order to be able to recollect in this way, one must be very much aware of how one lives, especially of how one enjoys. If one enjoys indiscriminately to the very end, if one continually takes the utmost that enjoyment can give, one will be unable either to recollect or to forget. That is, one has nothing else to recollect than a satiation that one only wishes to forget but that now torments with an involuntary recollection. Therefore, if a person notices that enjoyment or a part of life is carrying him away too forcefully, he stops for a moment and recollects. There is no better way to give a distaste for going on too long. From the beginning, one curbs the enjoyment and does not hoist full sail for any decision; one indulges with a certain mistrust. Only then is it possible to give the lie to the proverb that says that one cannot eat one’s cake and have it, too. It is true that the police forbid carrying secret weapons, and yet there is no weapon as dangerous as the art of being able to recollect. It is a singular feeling when in the midst of enjoyment one looks at it in order to recollect it.” (Søren Kierkegaard. Either/Or. 1843. translated by Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong, 1988.)

Vāyu (2016)


Instrumentation: multimedia
Date: 1 November 2016Location: New York, New York, USA

“What could be more alien to the “they”, lost in the manifold ‘world’ of its concern, than the Self which has been individualized down to itself in uncanniness and been thrown in the “nothing”?” (Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, 1927. translated by John Macquarrie, Edward Robinson, 1962.)

Retroception (2016)


Instrumentation: multimedia
Date: 18 October 2016Location: New York, New York, USA

“In general we are reminded that the word ‘Heimlich’ is not unambiguous, but belongs to two sets of ideas, which, without being contradictory, are yet very different: on the one hand it means what is familiar and agreeable, and on the other, what is concealed and kept out of sight. ‘Unheimlich’ is customarily used, we are told, as the contrary only of the first signification of ‘Heimlich,’ and not of the second. […] On the other hand, we notice that Schelling says something which throws quite a new light on the concept of the ‘Unheimlich,’ for which we were certainly not prepared. According to him, everything is unheimlich that ought to have remained secret and hidden but has come to light.” (Sigmund Freud. The Uncanny, 1919. translated by David McLintock, 2003.)

Hura (2015)


Instrumentation: multimediaDate: 28 July 2015Location: New York, New York, USA

“Repetition and recollection are the same movement, except in opposite directions, for what is recollected has been, is repeated backwards, whereas genuine repetition is recollected forward. . . Hope is a new garment, stiff and starched and lustrous, but it has never been tried on, and therefore one does not know how becoming it will be or how it will fit. Recollection is a discarded garment that does not fit, however beautiful it is, for one has outgrown it.” (Søren Kierkegaard. Repetition, 1843. translated by Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong, 1983)

Hura is one of the oldest and most primitive vocal forms in the world. It is from the Kurdish regions in western Iran. The word Hura dates back 7000 years during the time of Zoroaster and was taken from the word “Ahura”. At first, this style of singing was used for religious purposes, however, later on, it was used for romantic themed music. Hura was used for important events, such as losing a loved one or praying to Ahura Mazda (the Avestan name for the creator and sole God of Zoroastrianism, the old Persian faith predating Islam.) Iranians also sang Hura to appreciate nature or when they were homesick. The book “Avesta” says that Hura is the voice for “good deeds, good thoughts, and good words”. This type of singing is common in Shirvan, Ivan, Ilam, and Kermanshah of Iran.

This electroacoustic piece was composed based on a few short recordings of “Hura” sang by Awalaziz Haydari, in memory of whom this work was composed. The video clips, obtained from “The Internet Archive” (archive.org), were edited and sublated into this video-art by Saman Samadi.