Konstrukt & Their Mighty Fine Guests
Freedom is sweeping the globe. Maybe not in terms of political discourse, business or education, but maybe more importantly, musically. In places like Beirut and Istanbul, the free jazz scene is very much alive. The band konstruKt, made up of guitarist Umut Çağlar, saxophonist Korhan Futaci, drummer Korhan Argüden and percussionist Özün Usta has been garnering attention not only at home in Turkey but in European improvised music circles. They have performed with the likes of British free jazz saxophonist Evan Parker, Dutch pianist Michiel Braam's Bik Bent Baam, Swiss saxophonist Jürg Solothurnmann and recently saxophonists Peter Brotzmann and Marshall Allen. To record with these jazz giants is, indeed, a stamp of approval and hopefully their message of liberating music can be heard by a larger audience.
konstruKt & Peter Brotzmann
Any encounter with German saxophonist Peter Brötzmann must recognize his monumental career as a true innovator and trailblazer in the world of free music. He comes to any session not only with a discography that includes the blasting noise of Machine Gun (FMP, 1968), but also his collaborations with bassist Bill Laswell, guitarist Sonny Sharrock, pianist Cecil Taylor and reed players Ken Vandermark and Anthony Braxton, to name just a few.
Finding him in the company of konstuKt leaves him wanting for nothing. The session ranges from some noisy bits to patches of almost ambient levitation. The title track opens with the primordial sounds of drum and percussion building into a two tenor saxophone trade-off, and only the shrewdest Brötzmann fan will be able to differentiate the great man's playing from that of Korhan Futaci. The band builds the intensity throughout, Umut Çağlar's guitar raising the pressure with a wash of energy. Where you might expect noise, this collaboration opts for texture and context, filling backgrounds with ambient sounds or silence. "Dolunay" ends quite peacefully.
That cannot be said of all the tracks. "Kurtlar" begins with Brötzmann's snaking clarinet (which sounds more like his taragato) over percussion before breaking into a controlled mayhem of sound. Yes, it had to be done. Brötzmann's long history of free jazz has always been intertwined with drummers. With konstrKt he finds a great rhythm partner. The quartet orbits around the percussive mode. Even Çağlar's guitar sound is amplified by the percussive nature of the band. He is both the intimate picking of disheveled notes and the controlled flooding of energy jazz. His guitar and synth guitar act as a counterbalance to the acoustic horns and percussive displays.
konstuKt w/ Marshall Allen, Hüseyin Ertunç and Barlas Tan Özemek
Vibrations Of The Day
It is quite another thing to match a konstruKt with a player who has traveled the spaceways like Marshall Allen. Actually, it is quite a thing indeed.
Recording with Allen, the alto saxophonist and current leader to the Sun Ra Orchestra finds konstruKt adding two players. The quartet is augmented by guitarist Barlas Tan Özemek, and drummer Hüseyin Ertunç.
The music reveals the expanded ensemble and actually pairs down its sound; each musician contributing, but also cautious not to crowd the affair. Percussively-based, yet open to some very other-worldly directions, the music casts dreamy meditations.
Pairing two guitars and two percussionist acts as a constant refresh or repetition, like ocean waves messaging a shoreline. Allen and Futaci are then freed to dance, trading licks in a constant juggling of energy. The music is electronic tribal, an update on Sun Ra explorations. Where "Supernova" is all squishy flexible with bouncing notes and electronics that mimic DJ record scratching, "March Of The Aliens" is just that. The band follows along a parade route, tossing candy to the ear, Allen's extemporaneous notes squirting here and there, as are Futaci's explorations. The sound is outward bliss and it is very easy to get in line.
Tracks and Personnel
Tracks: Dolunay; Siyah; Kurtlar; Makinalı; Tepe; Nokta.
Personnel: Korhan Argüden: drums; Özün Usta: percussion; Umut Çağlar: guitar; Korhan Futaci: tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone; Peter Brötzmann: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, clarinet.
Variations Of The Day
Tracks: Through The Asteroids; Space Jungle; Milky Way; March Of The Aliens; Supernova; The Emperor; Sunflower; Neptune; Spirits.
Personnel: Marshall Allen: alto saxophone; Korhan Futaci: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, voice; Umut Çağlar: guitar, guitar synthesizer; Barlas Tan Özemek: guitar; Hüseyin Ertunç: percussion, drums, vibraphones, flute, melodica; Özün Usta: percussion, drums, vibraphone; Korhan Argüden: drums.