Erdem Helvacioglu


(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

A Walk Through The Bazaar (2003), 6/10
Altered Realities (2006), 7/10
Wounded Breath (2009), 6.5/10
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Turkish composer Erdem Helvacioglu surfaced with A Walk Through The Bazaar (Locust, 2003), which is literally what its title says: a 16-minute piece inspired and derived from the sounds of a busy bazaar. The second piece is a remix.

Altered Realities (New Albion, 2006), recorded in real-time without any processing, is basically a seven-part sound-sculpture. The first piece, Bridge to Horizon, is a wonderful blend of crystal electronic overtones, alien drones and delicate guitar strumming at a slow trance-like pace that at times becomes suspenseful and dramatic, as if John Fahey and Klaus Schulze collaborated on a soundtrack for a horror movie. Another piece of the same kind is Dreaming on a Blind Saddle, that unleashes clusters of haunting, ghostly sounds over a fractured cosmic "om" in a slowly evolving organic habitat, running the gamut from the subliminal to the cacophonous.
Sliding on a Glacier is more of a guitar piece with surrealistic/psychedelic effects of sensory warping, grounded in reverbs and repetition. Frozen Resophonic, the friendliest piece, sounds like a distorted folk dance. His mastery of dissonance is evident in Shadow my Dovetail, a concerto of ambiguities in the sense that it is a long sequence of "hinted" (but never fully formalized) sounds. It sounds lulling and relaxing, but, other than the repetitive guitar pattern, it is mostly created out of noise, although by the end it sounds like an old-fashioned carillon. The album closes appropriately with Ebony Remains, one long whisper or sigh that summarizes the ethereal quality of these meditations.
Helvacioglu's hypnotic electronic post-folk music is a new genre at the border between ambient, jazz, folk and concrete music.

Wounded Breath (Aucourant, 2009) collects five collages. Below the Cold Ocean displays the usual mastery at combining timbres. The whole piece feels like the micro-recreation of the noise of a glass that shatters to the floor. Dance of Fire toys with the juxtaposition of harsh industrial noise and silence, operating at a level of extreme movement and tension even without excessive audio excursions. More than a fire dance this sounds like the soundtrack to a nervous breakdown. The 17-minute Lead Crystal Marbles begins with the sound of marble balls falling to the floor, perhaps a metaphor for the whole travail of the human existence. Those few seconds are revisited over and over again from different angles, yielding ever new visions of the past and the future, disintegrating and recomposing, until they finally fade away into nothingness; a veritable poem to chance. Blank Mirror sounds like a simulation of symphonic and choral music via clusters of drones that inflate, explode and disappear. Wounded Breath is a nervous dissonant score that feels like an audio documentary of life in an ant-nest, or the maelstrom of thoughts in the mind of a dying person. Helvacioglu's music has become more tragic, bordering on existential meditation.

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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