Rim Jasmin Irscheid grew up in Berlin, arguably renowned as the European capital of techno. Think endless thumping beats as revellers traverse the streets of the iconic city, negotiating their way into clubs that bow to the altar of pure unadulterated decadence. Enter vast communist-era buildings and the scene that awaits is one of ecstatic bodies, wide eyed and writhing to the bfff bfff bfff sound of industrial bass.
The daughter of a Palestinian-Jordanian father, her background ignited an interest in the way in which, what is perceived as traditional music from the Arab world, is fused together with dance music culture. This was piqued while studying in Heidelberg, where she met Iranian friends who introduced her to a site of cosmopolitan youth culture that was, for those who weren’t in the know, unthinkable: the Iranian rave scene.
A rich tradition of music has long existed in Iran, with Persian folk and classical genres celebrated as part of the cultural heritage of the nation. The revolution of 1979 changed this entirely, however, and music was outlawed, viewed by the authorities as a lascivious and corrupting tool that needed to be strictly regulated. All forms of music perceived to be Western in their source or influence were regarded as antithetical to the religious identity the theocracy sought to promote. This stance softened by the turn of the century but was revived once again, when in 2005 Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad banned all Western music from state media outlets.