Vocalist, composer, and performance artist Sussan Deyhim has been expanding the landscapes of Islamic music for over 20 years. Turbulent is a collection of her soundtrack work for Persian filmmaker Shirin Neshat. Four short films are represented here: Fervor, Soliloquy, Rapture, and Turbulence. She uses traditional sources and stretches their sonances to include other Eastern musics and instruments, such as Tibetan Buddhist ritual implements and elements of postmodern culture such as short-wave radios, samples, and field recordings, as well as classical instrumentation. Deyhim creates soundscapes that stand still in time by moving out of it. As the dialogue of the film's protagonists is interwoven with her sound effects and singing, Deyhim brings the listeners as Westerners so much further into a work they don't understand -- let alone comprehend -- that they are held in awe of it. There is a deep darkness in this music, but it's a darkness that contains no violence or evil, only the darkness of silence, of self-annihilation in the presence of God, and of whispering in the void and listening so hard that when any sound or breath occurs, it is an act of grace. These are perfect soundtracks -- moving, beautiful, spooky, disconsolate, and revelatory -- not only as documents on a recording that company something else, but as a way into a place most of us never knew existed.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek