Iranian EDM Artist Ash Koosha’s Virtual US Debut Sidesteps Trump’s Travel Ban

On Wednesday August 16th, London-based electronic musician Ash Koosha will perform in the United States for the first time via virtual reality platform TheWaveVR. Originally from Iran, Koosha is currently hindered by President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban, which targets people from majority-Muslim countries and bars them from entering the United States.

Titled AKTUAL, the performance will allow fans with an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift to interact in a shared virtual reality in real time. Koosha will “perform” by altering both the music and the visuals in this virtual venue. TheWaveVR have previously served as the venue for Strangeloop/Brainfeeder, Grimecraft and Heavygrinder. The platform is available in an early beta version via Steam.

Koosha released his most recent EP, Chimera, back in July. Made from sampling songs archived at Amsterdam’s Tropenmuseum, the record pays tribute to his roots while blending them with his unique, glitchy style. In January he penned an open letter after the first travel ban had been issued by executive order. In the letter, he called the ban “the outcome of petty political pandering to the detriment of thousands.” He explained that he couldn’t tour behind his Ninja Tune debut I AKA I last year because his via had been delayed due to “administrative processing.”

“All of my ambitions, contributions and efforts were reduced to bureaucratic paperwork that left me feeling betrayed and burdened because of my ‘place of birth’,” he says.

Koosha’s performance will take place Wednesday at 7pm PDT on TheWaveVR. Watch the trailer for it below.