Re:konstruKt: New Music Online from Istanbul
"When I talk with musicians, they know that something is happening in Istanbul, that it is important. It wasn't a geographic center for improvised music until about two years ago. At that time, Eugene Chadbourne was coming here with Aki Takase, a month before he sent us a mail, writing 'I'm coming to Istanbul and I'd like to meet you,' and we did the recording and started to know each other." A skim through re:konstruKt's online catalogue, reveals recordings featuring guitarist Dom Minasi, singer Ellen Christi and violinist Jason Kao Hwang, just to name a few international names.
Çağlar and his team have released approaching 60 recordings, an impressive number, over the past three years. "Sometimes it's not easy to live on what you dream of. You have to make compromises or something, and so many times it's hard to keep going. I know so many people who are very open minded but doing the same mainstream things for years, just to earn money, and that's a problem. Actually we were like adventurers, because we were not anything commercially and we didn't earn so much money but we did what we liked. I don't want to be a leader, to say 'I want to keep the flag.' I'm only going to do what I do, and if I can be a good example for people around to do their own thing, that's my role."
Korhan Argüden / Umut Çağlar / Özün Usta
Rehearsals Pt. 3
It's valuable to hear the first wails of a scene, the better to track its subsequent development. While Rehearsals_Pt. 3 is available on the re:konstruKt website, the first two volumes are still downloadable in the Internet Archives. Post- rockers such as Stormandstress or John Zorn's improv-grindcore Painkiller project can be a good reference as far as interplay, with the musicians mostly independent while interacting. The thick, sharp and melodically 'open' sound of the guitar creates a good contrast and varied texture with the interspersing dense drums and percussions, testifying also to the influence of electronic contemporary music, with the likes of Alvin Curran's MEV or Keith Rowe's AMM as primary examples.
The League of Xtraordinary Gentlemen
Recorded Live at deFORM
One of the most vital aspects of re:konstruKt has been its efforts to involve foreign musicians, well known and not so well known, from the start. This album features a guitar trio, testifying also an attitude towards unusual lineups. Irish-born Mark O' Leary comes from pianist Paul Bley's trio and his collaborations span experimental rock, industrial and Norwegian folk, and include people as diverse as drummer Han Bennink, guitarist Nels Cline and bassist Jaco Pastorius. Sevket Akinci is a founder member of Islak Kopek, the very first experimental band in recent Istanbul history, and with second Islak Kopek founder member Korhan Erel he is also involved in the electronic ambient Mugwump project. William Burroughs meets "mutant blues" gives a pointer to this music.
Selen Gulun, born in 1972, is a young pianist who's trying to balance her classical studies and her improvisational skills. In her style, influences from classical and contemporary music rife: pointillism, impressionism, low pitches, clusters, modal, atonal. This recording from 2009 is fully improvised, while the atmosphere suggests composed material. Gulun has just released a trio record, rich and vibrant, full of different colors and dynamics. Her work is as good as shows another nuance of the full spectrum re:konstruKt is working on.
One Year Later Two Years Ago Pt.1
Islak Kopek was the first band in Istanbul to play regularly improvised music. It started as a quintet in 2005 with regular concerts at Galata Perform and Jazz Café, then at the Akbank Jazz Festival in 2006 and at the Transit Festival in Istanbul with Le Quan Ninh. Its first album with the current line-up is from 2008, while One Year Later Two Years Ago on re:konstruKt were released in 2009. With no drums or percussion, two horns, two electric guitars, violin and various electronic tools played by Korhan Erel, Islak Kopek takes electroacustic improvisation to a sort of cameristic, even if muddy and electric, level.
Hanging from the Purgatory's Pendulum