Swan: for conducted amplified septet, electronics, and video projections
Swan is a multimedia work for conducted ensemble with amplified instruments, electronics and video projections. Swan is about going out: going out to the street, to the club, to a ritual, to a party or a funeral. It’s about real places with real people, but less about the realities of these places and more about their vibe. It’s about getting out of home, the studio, the institution, going to places where people connect and do things, sing, dance, laugh, cry, perform or celebrate. The music of Swan come from ‘outside.’ Swan’s aesthetic is a blend of Turkish/Islamic and pop-cultural elements. The opening section, Korridor, is a drone/ambient movement with a big trance synth part. It is ritual music. It is big, dense, heavy, and it moves slowly, like lava. Karaoke Mahshar is a Turkish Trance-Pop hybrid. It is a very melancholic, dark piece of music. The instrumental choir sing an emotional pop/“fantasy music” (a Turkish genre) melody in unison over a flamboyant electronic track. It’s the soundtrack to a club for the wasted, for emotional after-hours karaoke. The final section, Rod Modell, is a dub-techno influenced ambient movement. It is the sound of a giant, post-apocalyptic mosque - a mosque sunken in chalky waters. This section evolves to a big, stretched monophonic melody, a song from the old times, which finally cadences to an electronically processed “tilâvet”. I started composing Swan in July 2016 in Turkey, before the military coup attempt took place. The work is not programmatic, however, the sound materials I worked with, the musical references and the sonic and visual iconography it incorporates are rather influenced by and derive from the sounds, sights and emotions I experienced during my stay. By the end of my visit, a person who had been very dear to my heart, Ferhunde Köke, had passed away. I recorded the sounds of her burial accompanied by a hafız’s recitation of the Surah Al-Baqarah 2:156 from the Holy Qur’an which I edited, processed and ended this work with.