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Juriah (Sultan Pasha Attars)

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

Self-portrait with hand drawing in negative. Photo, editing and creative direction by a_nose_knows for Sultan Pasha Attars


I finally reach the best I’ll be

Turning the words back into me

For there’s no truth bespoke to hide

It echoes both inside/outside

Then, all I’m made of is a sound

Monstrous feelings all around

Enormous lights, and taste profound

Bounty of touches, smells abound

All while I eat, and sleep, and mate

Maybe this is to be my fate

Finding both, saint and lost pariah

In Juriah

----------------- Inverse in verse- Poem that can be read from top to bottom... and backwards, too. Written by dana @a_nose_knows

I’ve always liked to look the other way. In cinemas I’d turn and watch the faces of others; at home I’d delve in Irish legends of faeries running away from inside-out clothes, ponder at the head of Janus, and memorize palindromes with the zest of youth and the obsession of a collector: madam; radar; kayak; Si nummi, immunis.

Self-portrait in negative. Photo, editing, and creative direction by a_nose_knows for Sultan Pasha Attars

Later on I took interest in old, forgotten, developed films; later still, I’d take pictures not for the seen, but the unseen promise of an artsy negative. All was hunting for the moment satisfaction (of feeling) finally came, with the same impudent—but natural—mind gesture as the feeding process of a meager urchin: guts hanging and hungry, symmetrically inside and outside, and equally receptive all over.

Juriah dans viola case. Photo, editing, and creative direction by a_nose_knows for Sultan Pasha Attars

Juriah, too, goes perfectly backwards.

The start is rumbling and pummeling and pungent and LOUD- eyes may water, that is, and minds may blow in a severe and organized according of instruments. Like the orchestra tuning in the pit, right before the first melodic measures you smell, equally determined, heavy-hitters: oud (of what kind, I do not know- it’s both creamy and herbal at the same time); animalics howl like a lion roars—for the pleasure alone (fresh civet, haute fur (castoreum?), and a very alive musk); piney ambers; a distinguishable—at least for my nose—fermented pomace.

All of this overwhelms and humbles, until—similar to the end of tuning- you almost smell a white sound, like when all the instruments are playing the same note.

What’s next is, comparably, deafeningly homogenous. Juriah opens horizontally with elegant force, building up a wide support structure laced with harmonizing tones: saffrony suede provides texture; a tea-like note provides liquidity and movement (this one is cold, and not unlike a chrysanthemum or wild chamomile infusion); a deeply sweet & salty ambergris brings friendliness and comfort, showcasing other familiar notes: chocolate, tonka bean, wax & propolis, yeast, and cream (sandalwood?).

Study of hand and bow. Photo, editing, and creative direction by a_nose_knows for Sultan Pasha Attars

And then—rising from it all, seminal and individual and vibrant like the viola in Neharot, Neharot—the rose. Of many kinds and in many forms, full of vanilla tones, and spicy, and dark, and molten...and, well, surround.

An opera, if I’ve ever smelled one.

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