Rappers dissing each other and showing off their bling… Lady Gaga wearing a dress made out of meat… Americans have forgotten what musical rebellion is. What if simply getting up on stage and performing at a rock ‘n’ roll concert could get you thrown in jail? There are places in the world where that happens. Yet there are people who love music so much, they will take that risk.
Members of The Plastic Wave went to jail for rock ‘n’ roll, literally, after participating in a concert in Teheran, Iran in 2007. Police arrested 230 members of the crowd and a number of musicians, accusing them of numerous crimes against the state and Islam, and jailing them for 21 days. Saeid Nadjafi (aka Natch) and a gifted female vocalist named Maral Afsharian were among those jailed for daring to perform music the regime didn’t like (having a female vocalist is also a big no no). Not deterred, they and a friend, Shayan Amini, formed The Plastic Wave.
The group was supposed to perform at the 2009 South By Southwest music festival in Austin, but got turned down for a visa for some inexplicable reason. Austin Dacey and his foundation, Impossible Music arranged for an American group, Cruel Black Dove to learn Plastic Wave’s songs, so they could be performed live as intended.
The Plastic Wave is no more, but Natch is carrying the torch with his electronic rock project, The Casualty Process. And in case you’re wondering, the music is very good, influenced by such acts as Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode. Listen for yourself:
The Casualty Process – Code
The Plastic Wave – My Clothes on Other Bodies
Also check out Natch’s laser midi controller. Pretty cool sounds:
American music fans have become rather jaded. We might complain that there’s nothing good on the radio and think what a shame it is that the kids are growing up on bad commercial pop and rap. But the fact is, you can get on the Internet and find almost anything you want without a whole lot of effort. You just have to know where to look.
That doesn’t mean music is no longer important. Far from it. There are people in the world willing to risk jail or worse to make it. I think it would be good for us to remember that.
I read on Austin Dacey’s blog The Ethical Ear that Natch and Shayan have received permission to travel to the U.S. and perform. Hopefully they’ll get that trip to Austin, Texas that they should’ve made in 2009 and I’ll have a chance to see them play.
Natch has a bunch of other good songs up on his Soundcloud page. Give them a listen and let him know what you think. You can also find The Casualty Process on Facebook. Dative, an alternative rock group featuring Shayan and Natch, can also be found on Facebook.
Impossible Music is helping other restricted/persecuted musicians around the world get their songs out to the public. The Wall Street Journal has a pretty good article about it. Seems like a very worthy cause.