Cinna Peyghamy Took Sled Island Somewhere Else

Dickens, June 22

Photo by Jarrett Edmund 

BY Em Medland-MarchenPublished Jun 25, 2024

While headliners Show Me the Body raged at the #1 Legion, a few blocks west, a sonic transformation was taking place in the basement of Dickens. For those made squeamish by hoards of crowd surfing post-hardcore bros such as myself, the illusive Cinna Peyghamy was more my speed. Subdued but no less boundary-shattering, the compositions of the visiting Parisian experimental were genre-resistant, sonically defiant and as face-meltingly radical as the artist's fellow headbanging headliners.

A composer hailing from France and born to Iranian parents, Peyghamy's performance was truly a spectacle to behold. He approached the stage humbly, sitting cross legged and accompanied only by his ever-faithful tombak, an Iranian goblet drum altered by a modular synth hooked up via some carefully placed tape on the skin of the drumhead. This hookup created a collision of analog and digital sounds, extending the life of the normally earthy percussion to an infinite range of tones that included traditional Iranian instruments amongst others that conversed in harmony and discord.

Cheers erupted from the audience as Peyghamy played, lightly tapping and beating on the drum to create musical infusions that rejected mimicry. Perhaps most impressive was the fact that the entire thing was improvisational — as Peyghamy sat on stage, his instrument became a lifeforce of its own, crafting visions that wafted alongside the smoke in the room. The quality of the performance was unlike anything I have ever seen, and I doubt will ever see again. Softly buzzing tones increased in pace, later erupting in a lion's roar that shook the venue to its very core.

Throughout it all, Peyghamy was in utter control of his instrument and his space, inviting the audience to come along with him on a journey that transported them beyond the boundaries of Calgary to float in the clouds above and wriggle in the rocks below. Great experimental music takes one beyond the body, an experience that magnifies the small nature of our human desire and carves out a universal connection between the living and nonliving things around us. That cerebral expression has a tendency to stick — certainly, Cinna Peyghamy and his ethereal tombak will long be remembered by the city's ambient music fans.

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