144

Re:konstruKt: New Music Online from Istanbul

By

Sign in to view read count
The online independent label re:konstruKt was founded in 2008 by Umut Çağlar, an Istanbul-based guitarist and leader of the konstruKt quartet. The label was formed few months after the band's first rehearsals. Its initial purpose was to document the evolution of the Istanbul experimental scene.

Çağlar's development as a musician is a good example of the way Turkish improvisers have paved their own way: "We can talk about 'constructions' and 'constructed parts,'" he says. "I first started to make music by playing avant-garde, jazz, punk and noise stuff"—asked for some references, Çağlar cites the early work of saxophonists John Zorn, Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane and composer Heiner Goebbels and improv musician Steve Beresford]—"with no technical knowledge but playing by instinct."


From left: Barlas Tan Ozemek, Korhan Futaci, Marshall Allen

At the beginning, Çağlar knew very little about harmony, melody or any other aspects of music theory. "When I started university I was interested in electronic music and I worked as a DJ. I was involved in some experimental projects with electronics, computers and this stuff. But when I started to play guitar I was able to mix and melt together my knowledge of electronic music with free guitar playing. Sometimes I feel like I'm playing a loop on my guitar, not looping it electronically but playing the loop myself. It's not common, there's something similar in the music of Terry Riley and in other experimental things, but in free jazz it's kind of strange to some people."

Even if Çağlar cites instinct as his first ignition, a look at the overall Istanbul scene shows a surprising degree of coherence. To get some context, listen to percussionist Okay Temiz's records with multi-instrumentalist Don Cherry or drummer Pete La Roca's Turkish Women at the Bath (Douglas, 1967). A good place to start can be imagining a mix between percussionist, vibraphonist and pianist Hüseyin Ertunç's Musiki (Intex Records, 1972)—one of Mats Gustaffson's collector's items —recorded in Los Angeles in 1972 with a couple of local free jazz players, and the obscure stuff made by Alan Sondheim in 1967 for ESP—an forerunner of the AMM collective.

Ertunç, who lives in Bodrum and is also a painter, is Çağlar's close friend. He appears as a percussionist in konstruKt's Vibrations of the Day (re:konstruKt, 2010), also featuring alto saxophonist Marshall Allen, and as a pianist in a session the quartet and tenorist Peter Brötzmann recorded in May 2011. The latter, unlike the recent Dolunay (re:konstruKt, 2011) record, will be put out on vinyl on an European label Çağlar is still looking for.

The team at re:konstruKt has become international, while the pool of local musicians involved numbers more than twenty. "It's something new, according to the whole avant-garde music history," says Çağlar. "We're here doing this since two or three years right now, and I see there is a younger generation after us who have started to do similar things. It's good to have a feedback on that. Maybe we started something, and after ten years we'll see what we have done, and people can judge us for what we did, but right now we're in the middle of it. But after four years I can see progress. People look at us and say 'oh, they do strange stuff but they can handle it.'"


From left: Huseyin Ertunc, Korhan Arguden

The konstruKt group started playing locally in small bars and clubs, but festival appearances followed and in 2009-10 it picked up some useful international profile. Canadian magazine Signal To Noise gave some coverage in 2009, followed by the UK's The Wire, which added a free CD to its December 2010 issue.

Social networking and the presence of prime international movers and shakers has been helpful not only in promoting the music but in making Istanbul a new "hot spot" for improvisation. "So many people are aware of what we do right now," says Çağlar. "And Facebook and Myspace and other social networks help in spreading the name of the label and the band. When I say 'I'm from konstruKt,' or 'I'm from the re:konstruKt label,' they know of it. We are dealing with a bunch of Dutch organizations, and I think we're going to organize things, making and sharing records from Amsterdam to Istanbul and back, and also concerts and workshops.

Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Inner Circle Music: Creativity and Community Spirit Record Label Profiles Inner Circle Music: Creativity and Community Spirit
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: February 17, 2016
Read HOOB Records: Ten Years Young Record Label Profiles HOOB Records: Ten Years Young
by James Pearse
Published: December 22, 2015
Read Kuai Music: Moving Jazz Forward Collectively Record Label Profiles Kuai Music: Moving Jazz Forward Collectively
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: July 10, 2015
Read Real World Records: Passion and Authenticity are Fundamental Record Label Profiles Real World Records: Passion and Authenticity are Fundamental
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 8, 2015
Read 7Dreams: The Story of a Country, a Friendship and a Sound Record Label Profiles 7Dreams: The Story of a Country, a Friendship and a Sound
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 28, 2015
Read Schema Rearward: The Reward of Visiting the Past Record Label Profiles Schema Rearward: The Reward of Visiting the Past
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 19, 2015
Read "Holger Czukay: Movie!" Extended Analysis Holger Czukay: Movie!
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: May 14, 2016
Read "Take Five with Jennifer Bellor" Take Five With... Take Five with Jennifer Bellor
by Jennifer Bellor
Published: August 23, 2016
Read "Meet Luis Torregrosa" Out and About: The Super Fans Meet Luis Torregrosa
by Tessa Souter and Andrea Wolper
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "Kind of Purple: Jazz Musicians On Prince" Interviews Kind of Purple: Jazz Musicians On Prince
by Kurt Gottschalk
Published: April 21, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!