Xenakis* ‎– Persepolis

These releases of Persepolis contain the same version of the piece.

First performed 26 August 1971 at the Festival de Shiraz (Iran).
Although not credited on original release, the 8 channel electronic tape work was realised at Studio Acusti, Paris. This is the original 1972 stereo version.


Versions (7)

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
6521 045 Xenakis* Persepolis(LP) Philips 6521 045 France 1972 Sell This Version
6521 045 Iannis Xenakis Persepolis(LP) Philips 6521 045 France 1972 Sell This Version
SFX-8683 Iannis Xenakis Persepolis(LP, Album) Philips SFX-8683 Japan 1974 Sell This Version
FractalOX Iannis Xenakis Persepolis(CD, Album) Fractal Records (2) FractalOX France 2000 Sell This Version
6521 045 Iannis Xenakis Persepolis(LP, RE) Philips 6521 045 France Unknown Sell This Version
6521 045 Iannis Xenakis Persepolis(LP, RE) Philips 6521 045 France Unknown Sell This Version
6521 045 Iannis Xenakis Persepolis(LP, RE) Philips 6521 045 France Unknown Sell This Version


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September 30, 2016
referencing Persepolis, LP, 6521 045
In 1971 the Shah of Iran commissioned Xenakis to compose a piece for the 2500 anniversary celebration of Irans founding by Cyrus. The piece was to be performed at the ancient city of Persepolis and so Xenakis titled his piece after that great old capital of the Persian empire. The music he composed was of similarly epic proportions. The shear monolithic scale of this 60+ minute single index piece cannot be understated. Similar in sound perhaps to la legende dee’r and in force to Bohor but Persepolis has an all consuming power all it’s own. Essentially a musique concrete work for 8 track tape the music was designed to play during a light show using multiple lasers and mirrors. I would imagine the experience of being present at the performance to be quite overwhelming.

Persepolis squeals into life amid a multitude of curious mechanical moans and groans that sound as if a scrap yard is slowly awakening out of hibernation. There is no information as to the methods which were used to produce the sounds but I feel this only adds to the mystery. Tinkling glissandi slide behind the omnipresent grind and drones of the concrete sounds, as layer upon layer of sound flow across the senses. Any preconception of musique concrete or contempory electronics are thrown out the window as structures collapse around your ears.

Most people would just call it noise, and without knowing anything about the dense complex mathematical planning that went into this you might be right in thinking that. Persepolis sways and dips under it’s mammoth weight during the course of it’s journey, at times deafening with unrelenting bass and metallic drones ,and at other times smoother allowing the pitched electronics to seep through the mass and delight the senses. It is very difficult to describe the exact sound of Persepolis it’s composition is so radical and it’s range of timbres and textures so rich that I am left to clutch at metaphor’s. This music really does take no prisoners.


July 15, 2008
referencing Persepolis, CD, Album, FractalOX
Does one need any more evidence of Xenakis being a pioneer and visionary? This astounding electronic work sets the standard for "noise" compositions. Imagine being engulfed in a slowly shifting and modulating continuous sound; it first sounds like gongs, strings, and clarinets (I assume this was mostly created from acoustical instrument sources). A deeper, lower, noisier sound starts to develop, almost like that of machinery. If you're willing to stay the length, the trip is amazing.

And to think, this was created in 1971, years before Organum (the David Jackman project), Merzbow, MB, and any other so-called "noisicians". No wonder that Merzbow and others contributed to a "Persepolis" remix project. He didn't do any better.