Please note: The first four pieces (landscape with inscription, perde, valse triste redux, and böcekçe) are the works included in the hard copy materials I have sent to the Villa Sträuli residency. The remaining three works (yakın plân, Computer at night, and manual for assembling a performance) are optional for review.
landscape with inscription
premiered on 12.05.2017 in MANA Contemporary, Chicago, IL, USA, by the [Switch~ Ensemble]:
flute – Zach Sheets
violin – Maya Bennardo
percussion – Megan Arns
electronics – Alican Çamcı & Igor Santos
landscape with inscription is a collision of two soundtracks: one is based on a constant reading and rereading of Ingeborg Bachmann’s Im Gewitter der Rosen, and the other consists of field recordings made in Cowles Bog Trail located in Indiana Dunes, in December 2016. While the former takes place only in the context of performance, the latter (Cowles Bog Soundscape) is a sound piece that can be exhibited in a gallery setting. In doing so, my aim was to locate a condition of sound that is not-music (field recordings), and cast this against a more standard musical scenario that involves a highly granularized speech recording slowly coming together, along with its instrumental synthesis.
Im Gewitter der Rosen
Wohin wir uns wenden im Gewitter der Rosen,
ist die Nacht von Dornen erhellt, und der Donner
des Laubs, das so leise war in den Büschen,
folgt uns jetzt auf dem Fuß.
In the Storm of Roses
Wherever we turn in the storm of roses,
the night is lit up by thorns, and the thunder
of leaves, once so quiet within the bushes,
rumbling at our heels.
translated by Peter Filkins
premiered on 25.10.2016 in Center for New Music, San Fransisco, CA, USA, by Ensemble Dal Niente:
bass flute – Emma Hospelhorn
harp – Ben Melsky
perde (tr.): curtain, screen, membrane, fret (of an instrument).
The sound material for perde comes from recordings I made of myself reciting fragments from a 15th century mesnevi (long religious poem) called Çengnâme by Ahmed-i Daî. Using analysis and resynthesis softwares such as Spear and Praat, I then tried to create several transcriptions of these recordings, in an attempt to place different readings of the same text intertwined within one piece. With the same poetic fragment constantly repeated throughout, the temporal aspect of the piece is completely determined by the rhythmic configurations generated by the different transcriptions of my speech, which is itself regulated by a strict poetic meter.
The piece is written for and dedicated to Emma Hospelhorn and Ben Melsky.
valse triste redux
premiered on 17.06.2016 in Grypario Cultural Center, Mykonos, Greece, by Oerknal!:
violin – Mariana Hutchinson Siemers
piano – Daniel Walden
electronics – Alican Çamcı
valse triste redux is a work in progress that looks at Jean Sibelius’s Valse Triste as a starting point and a vague palimpsest. With the help of amplification and tracking compression, both instruments – through the scordatura of the violin, and the sostenuto pedal of the piano – constantly emit a ghostly G-minor resonance, barely perceptible behind the instrumental texture. The piece explores the territory that is opened up in breaking down of a continuous sound into its particles through granulation. Dealing with musical time, I reflect on a similar idea of granulation through repetition and montage, interrupting the flow of time to make moments audible.
böcekçe (insect polyphony)
premiered on 20.05.2016 in the Logan Center Performance Hall, Chicago, IL, USA, by eighth blackbird.
As in numerous other political, cultural, social situations, Turkish Republic’s Westernization program had crucial effects on its musical culture. The ‘polyphonization’ of the then monophonic/heterophonic Turkish music was seen as the way-out from its ‘backward’ origins to its integration to the global musical culture – a modern sound that refers to its roots.
The title of my piece böcekçe (literally ‘insect language’) is a reference to the 1943 orchestral composition by the Turkish composer Ulvi Cemal Erkin. Erkin’s piece Köçekçe is a dance rhapsody which makes use of numerous folk songs, harmonized and orchestrated in Western tradition. In a way, this is a paradigmatic moment in defining the destiny of a composer in this geography: to think about the technique of the west and the material of one’s own ‘blood’
My piece is a series of attempts at harmonizing, serializing and deconstructing (all Western techniques) of a made-up melody, trying to put the solution of fusion of cultural elements into question at every moment.
yakın plân (close-up)
premiered on 24.11.2016 in Salle Claude Champagne, Montréal, QC, Canada, by Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, conducted by Lorraine Vaillancourt.
In Abbas Kiarostami’s 1990 film Close-up, a real-life event (trials of Hossein Sabzian, who cons a family by introducing himself as the famous filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf) is retold through use of documentary footage from the trial, as well as fictional narrative. In addition to this, Kiarostami’s use of the actual people involved (Sabzian and the members of the family) as actors gives way to a complex narrative situation where real life and fiction become entangled. My piece, borrowing its title from the film, attempts at a similar scenario in which ‘fictional’ sounds (musical/traditional) and ‘documentary’ sounds (sounds of the mundane, unintentional, even accidental) are placed in relation to each other; keeping in mind that such a division may itself be purely fictional in a musical context. In placing this dualism within a musical parenthesis, perhaps my intention is also to open to question the conditions and circumstances under which this parenthesis appears.
Computer at night
music and sound design for director Deniz Tortum’s two channel video installation.
Commissioned by Sharjah Biennial Istanbul Offsite 2017.
A computer at night checks its record against the record of thousands of other computers. A computer at night manages human interactions through algorithmic transactions. A computer at night negates trust.
A new type of decentralized government is dreaming itself into existence, offering immutable contracts as the remedy to gluts of human misinformation. The programmers and believers saw emancipation in ledgers, automation, and a “trustless” network that requires no single powerful actor to back its currency. But all utopias have mirror cities within them.
Computer at night is a rumination on the people, practices and the blockchain technology that set this trustless system in motion.
manual for assembling a performance for bassoon, horn, and trombone
premiered on 01.07.2017 in Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France, by the Ensemble Intercontemporain:
bassoon – Paul Riveaux
horn – Jens Mcmanama
trombone – Jérôme Naulais
manual for assembling a performance for bassoon, horn, and trombone is a set of instructions. There is no master score from which a performance can be generated. Instead, each instrument has three panels that can be put together in any fashion. The degree of spontaneity is to be decided collectively by the performers: They may choose to go into the performance with a fully-scripted version, or choose to completely improvise, or explore any degree of indeterminacy in between. manual is also an exercise in listening, where each performer ideally responds to what the other two performers are doing, in addition to the sounds produced by the audience.
manual for assembling a performance for bassoon, horn, and trombone is commissioned by the Ensemble Intercontemporain as part of L’Oeil Écoute exhibition in Centre Georges Pompidou, and is conceived after Allan Kaprow’s Rearrangeable Panels.