Erenlai - Items filtered by date: Tuesday, 27 October 2009
Wednesday, 28 October 2009 02:19

Noble Nobel

Please enough already! I don’t know how many times I have heard this lately. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that none other than the President of the USA, Barack Hussein Obama II, shall be awarded with the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. And it’s all wonderful and everyone is so happy about this. Finally some truth and justice is done in today’s corrupted world. On several occasions now I have heard, not only from Taiwanese, how great it is. And just like that, the future seems brighter already.

Naturally I’m all for following the herd and my applause is usually one of the loudest, but in this case I have to take one step back. Of course we all like the guy. He is the first African American to have ever been elected into the Oval Office in the White house and just the name of the building says how hard it must have been for him. He’s also young, charismatic and looks like he actually loves his wife. On the other hand he’s also conducting two wars and the U.S. still practices rendition, thus I really have to salute the Committee for their devotion and courage. I’m sure they will all be major candidates for ‘the greatest fan’ award. Unfortunately, I fear that I already undermined my own nomination, when I asked: “Is this really the right guy to be winning a peace prize?”

It’s not that bad though, I think the committee members heard just one of Barack’s brilliant speeches and their hearts were so moved that their whole bodies twitched and as they did, their brains jumped out and ran towards Obama to ask for an autograph. Maybe it’s my own character imperfection, that I can’t fully appreciate this memorable moment or the great significance of this prize. Never mind of course that they forgot to award a few people like Mahatma Gandhi or in the fields of science Nicola Tesla and Thomas Edison, they still managed to honour great names like Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Henry Kissinger and many others. It’s a great award.

So I completely agree that Barack’s speeches are apparently award-winning and it reminds me a little about all the beauty contests like Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss Galaxy, Miss McDonald’s, Miss Small Small Town etc. that I have seen. During the interview part there is always some kind of sly question for the finalists like: “What is the one thing our society needs?” The answer naturally being: “World peace.” That’s the moment where I cry like a baby pulling my hair out and shouting exuberantly that it’s the right answer almost as much as every judge on that show. It’s a wonderful moment full of pride and hope. But then those judges usually settle down and want to see the girl’s ass. And if the ass is good, she’ll win.

I dare say that it may be possible for the Nobel Committee to do the same thing. I’m not particularly interested in Obama’s ass, nor do I think this is what we should be evaluating on the current US president. On the other hand if you must, suit yourself. But if you look at the bottom of Obama’s administration are you really sure that this contestant should be the one to win the Nobel Peace Prize?

Photo by C. Phiv

Wednesday, 28 October 2009 00:00

Poetry on Progo

While Cruising throught Yogyakarta Province on my rented Honda Mio, I came across Yoyo Jewe. Perceiving the Indonesian judicial system as rife with corruption, Yoyo, the former law student gave up a life of material benefits to dedicate himself to the arts. He now focuses on poetry, dance and performance. Here we are at an Artists retreat on the Progo River, near the wondrous Borobodur Temple. After some blissful nude swimming in the river, we decided to make and film a poetry performance on a raft. Here Yoyo reads ’The Secret of the Fruit’ in English. Accompanying on the harmonicas are Yasmi Setiawati and Rumah Seni...

Tuesday, 27 October 2009 20:43

An Eclectic Musician

I was born in 1975 in Bursa, the fifth most populated city in Turkey, but I have been living in Istanbul for the last 20 years. I started playing the guitar when I was eleven years old and took private lessons on guitar, jazz theory, composition, and performance within an ensemble. I graduated as an industrial engineer and continued my education with a Master’s degree in sound engineering and electroacoustic composition at the Music for Advanced Studies Department at Istanbul Technical University. Currently, I am working on my doctorate degree at the same institution where I have had the chance to study theory and the practice of sound engineering and electroacoustic composition with accomplished American professors. I have always been interested in the recording process, and started recording my demos when I was fifteen years old. Since then, I have recorded and released three solo albums in the United States and accomplished various other projects all around the world. I have received numerous prizes for my works from international competitions such as Luigi Russolo and MUSICA NOVA; I have also participated at prestigious contemporary and jazz music festivals like Huddersfield, Futura, Nuit Bleu, Sonorities, Visiones Sonoras and Akbank Jazz Festival. My album “Altered Realities” has been included in the “Best albums of 2007” in the All About Jazz, Textura and Cyclic Defrost magazines.

Meeting Luo Chao-yun
We have a common friend Otto Castro from Costa Rica. He is an electroacoustic composer and I have known him from the 2007 Sonoimagenes Festival that took place in Buenos Aires. When I listened to some of her performances on her MySpace page, I was very impressed. I thought it would be great if we could record together. I was not sure if we would be able to finish an album in such a short period of time, but when we started playing together at my studio, I became convinced that we could record some great things. Because I respect the far Eastern way of life, philosophy, aesthetics, art and culture in particular, I was very much impressed by her. The way she communicated with me through music and the musical space, allowed me to have incredible improvisation. I have never seen and heard such a thing. Also, the way she listened during the recording session at the university studio was something to watch. It was as if her soul traveled to another dimension at that moment.

Before collaborating with Chao-yun, I was not very familiar with Chinese traditional music, but I knew the works of composers such as Tan Dun, Ge Gan-ru. I have definitely enjoyed the sounds of instruments like erhu, ruan, and guan. The playing techniques, the timbres of some of the traditional Chinese instruments resemble the traditional Turkish instruments. So even though I do not have a thorough background about Chinese music, a general idea of the aesthetics and the timbres has been in my subconscious.

About the CD recorded with Luo Chao-yun (CD released with Renlai Monthly n.65)
We recorded for three days at my studio. I played the electric guitar with live electronics. Then, we recorded for a day at the MIAM studios, where I played the prepared piano on some pieces and electric guitar on others. We did not discuss anything before these recording sessions, and we did not know what would happen and I loved that feeling. It forces you to listen to the other musician much more deeply. In our case, I think this approach worked really well.

Future projects
I have received a commission for a new electroacoustic composition based on the soundscape of Istanbul , which will be premiered at the Novelum Festival in November. Another project that I am excited about is a new musical theatre/opera commissioned by the Bregenz Contemporary Festival, that will be premiered in fall 2010. Also, I will start composing for two new feature movies in November. I am about to finish mixing the duo albums that I recorded with Elliott Sharp, British percussionist Pete Lockett, American accordionist Michael Ward Bergeman, American saxophonist Neil Leonard, and American guitarists Bill Walker and Craig Green. Also an ambient album with Robert Scott Thompson will be released around January 2010. Lastly, I am recording new material for duo albums with Per Boysen, Leo Abrahams and my upcoming solo guitar and live electronics record.
I have not been to Asia unfortunately, but of course I plan to come. A tour with Luo in China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan would be great after the release of this record.

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