Konstruct rules the world

Mark Corroto By

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KonstruKt with Marshall Allen, Barlas Tan Özemek, and Hüseyin Ertunç
Vibrations Of The Day
Holidays Records

If you are old enough, you might remember when four lads from Liverpool conquered America with rock-and-roll, or how the Rolling Stones redefined the blues tradition. The American blues tradition, that is. Add to that short list, the Turkish band Konstrukt. This quartet of saxophonist Korhan Futacı, guitarist Umut Çağlar, drummer Korhan Argüden and percussionist Özün Usta have reshuffled the free jazz scene. For the past decade they have been turning heads (and ears) by making improvised music as fresh as the Art Ensemble Of Chicago of the 1970s, England's Spontaneous Music Ensemble, and the Dutch Instant Composers Pool.

Evidence of their prowess can be found within their recordings. They have released, through various labels, outstanding music with special guests. Dolunay (Re:konstruKt, 2011) and Eklisia Sunday (Not Two, 2013) with Peter Brötzmann, Live At Akbank Jazz Festival (Re:konstruKt, 2013) with Evan Parker, and the massive 3LP Turkish Free Music (Sagittarius A-Star, 2013). The band's ability to adjust in a moment to guest artists and the tone of a space serves them well.

The addition of these two releases is confirmation of their ascension to the highest level of improvising ensembles.

The 2LP Vibrations Of The Day is a strictly limited edition release of 250 units. It is actually a piece of art with multi-colored vinyl discs and gold flaked printing. All of this pomp and opulence is for a live recording in Istanbul 2010 with Marshall Allen of Sun Ra's Arkestra fame, guitarist Barlas Tan Özemek and percussionist Hüseyin Ertunç. Allen has made music with Konstrukt before. Live At Sant'Anna Arresi Jazz Festival (8mm Records, 2014) was recorded at a live concert in 2013.

KonstruKt with Joe McPhee

Allen's presence, and that of the extra percussionists, elevates this music to an ethereal realm. The tracks flow as if in dream sequences, eschewing noise for unperturbed improvisation. In deference to Allen's mentor, Sun Ra, once the percussion ensemble has begun the music is all about pulse.

Babylon displays another side to Konstrukt's world. After meeting saxophonist/trumpeter Joe McPhee at the Krakow Jazz Festival, they extended an invitation for him to join them in Istanbul in February 2014.

McPhee draws out the electric fireworks here. Korhan Futacı and Umut Çağlar's organs, moog, and theremin climb into a space capsule as backdrop to McPhee's skittery pocket trumpet vocalizations. Side A of this LP (with download) has exquisite moments of ferocity that cull music from both electric Miles and Sun Ra.

Side B opens with the a dueling extended technique between McPhee and Korhan Futacı. Their interplay weaves a remarkable 12 minutes of instantly composed music. The same can be said for "Tek'e," where McPhee takes up his tenor to encircle Futaci and Özün Usta's cura. The interplay is masterly and majestic.

Tracks and Personnel

Vibrations Of The Day

Tracks: LP1: Through The Asteroids; Space Jungle; Milkyway; March Of The Aliens; LP2: Supernova; The Emperor; Sunflower; Neptune; Spirits.

Personnel: Marshall Allen: alto saxophone; Korhan Futacı: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, voice; Umut Çağlar: guitar, guitar synth; Barlas Tan Özemek: guitar; Hüseyin Ertunç: percussion, drums, vibraphones, flute; Özün Usta: percussion, drums, vibraphones; Korhan Argüden: drums.

Babylon 'The First Meeting of Istanbul'

Tracks: Flyswatter; Simple Questions/Complex Answers; Involution; Tek'e.

Personnel: Joe McPhee: tenor saxophone, pocket trumpet; Korhan Futacı: tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, voice, moog theremin; Umut Çağlar: guitar, micromoog, vermona organ; Özün Usta: double bass, acoustic bass, percussion, cura; Korhan Argüden: drums, old k zildjian cymbals.

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