Calligraphy No. 4

Mixing the musical sensibilities of traditional Persian music and the Western canon, Reza Vali arrives at a strange purgatory where counterpoint and spiritual chant sensuously commingle, living in sin, as it were. His rapturous Calligraphy No. 4 combines string quartet and santoor—think cimbalom with a brighter timbre—resulting in nothing less that a sonic orgy. By and large the music abandons equal temperament, and during moments of sheer rhythmic exuberance it’s not hard to imagine that Vali’s music would be a chart-topping success in places like Sodom and Gomorrah.

—RN