Ata Ebtekar aka Sote is an electronic music composer and sound artist based in Tehran, Iran. Over the last two decades, he has published his work via established labels such as Warp, Sub Rosa, Opal Tapes, Morphine, Digitalis and Repitch, among others. He is a co-founder of the SET Festival in Tehran. Sote believes that music is a cultural habit of sound and anti-sound (silence), and aims to generates music without a specific culture, which he believes to be "the other sound."

Global cultural exposure through transmigration has been a significant stimulant for Sote's aesthetics. His goal is to create unique, timeless pieces of music that are particular to his own mind. His compositions and multi-channel installations are sonic tales that synchronously decode and regenerate customary patterns of thought in nature. They are aural designs of crisis and harmony in which contempo aligns with folklore, orchestrating an artificial saga with a variety of illuminations and analyses. Sote’s passion for all types of music and his extensive involvement in sound art and academia have led him to compose in a wide variety of musical styles. His works show a strong emphasis on electro-acoustic techniques, microtonal systems and polyrhythmic motifs.

Sote strongly believes that rules and formulas must be deconstructed and rethought; hence he alters musical modal codes from their original tonality and rhythm to achieve vivid synthetic soundscapes. In order to accomplish dynamic expression within electronics, gesture and texture, he employs various synthesis languages and DSP techniques in a modular sound environment. Sote's current work deals with the continuing analysis and execution of beatless electronic music with a maximalist musical aesthetic. He uses various synthesis methods to establish programmed, pitched sounds—rather than conventional percussive elements—as the focal rhythmic element. Interwoven patterns and complex ornaments within a pliant grid form a diametric functionality of loop-based, non-hypnotic music, and require active listening.

"Sacred Horror in Design" with Tarik Barri, Arash Bolouri and Behrouz Pashaei

In a new commission titled “Sacred Horror In Design,” Sote collaborates with performers Arash Bolouri (santoor) and Behrouz Pashaei (setar) on a project merging electronics with traditional Persian acoustic instruments for a "Persian techno apocalypse." The visuals are created by virtuoso Thom Yorke and Monolake collaborator Tarik Barri.

“Sacred Horror In Design" challenges familiar tropes of tonality and rhythm and rebuilds the unknown via polyrhythmic, polytempic and polymetric patterns. The project takes on the paradoxical task of preserving the beauty of tradition while bending and morphing existing patterns into unique shapes that may eventually become another form of folklore in the future. It melts and twists the proportions of reality both visually and aurally, resulting in a two-pronged movement united in its divergence. Nano particles build micro structures, which in turn construct macro networks in a mega system for a magical, textural multi-timbral environment.

The piece was commissioned by CTM Festival and premiered in February 2017 as part of a CTM x SET Festival showcase of current experimental music in Iran. It is now available for European dates in 2017 and 2018.

Premiere at CTM 2017 Festival. Photo by Stefanie Kulisch.
Performers Arash Bolouri and Behrouz Pashaei at CTM 2017 Festival. Photo by Stefanie Kulisch.