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Ekin Fil, "Being Near"

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cover imageThe influences that helped shape Turkish artist Ekin Üzeltüzenci’s latest work, and her work under the name Ekin Fil overall are not hard to place.  For the most part, Being Near is an album of pop songs, yet enshrouded in gauzy reverb and blurry production that gives them a somewhat alien, but simultaneously melancholic edge.  Sounds of guitar, voice, and electronics all define these eight songs, but the whole is greater than the sum of those familiar parts, culminating in an achingly beautiful excursion of music.

Helen Scarsdale Agency

The album actually begins with some of its more abstract moments, in the form of two instrumental works.  "Sel" is at first all deep synth pulses and sad, complex melodies that have so much more depth than they seem to at first pass.  None of the music sounds particularly natural as far as instrumentation goes, yet there is an undeniable human quality to it.  "Vapor" drifts a bit more into standard dark ambient territory with its depressive tones and reverb by the pound, but the expanding tones keep it fresh and dynamic, rather than a simple wall of dull, bassy tones.

When the title song appears, the album's first distinct appearance of vocals are strongly prominent.  Üzeltüzenci’s voice is quiet, but with a captivating delicateness.  At first it is a richer arrangement accompanied by distinct, echoing synth thumps that almost resemble conventional percussion.  Her voice is definitely used as a secondary element compared to the rest of the music, but the isolated sound is distinct, even if it is extremely difficult to discern a single word being sung.  "Almost Silence" features an even more conventional sounding song structure, with Üzeltüzenci’s voice a bit more prominent as lush melodies surround the entirety of the piece.

Other vocal-based songs again feature the sound drifting more into lovely, but bleak abstraction.  "Mankind" heavily features Üzeltüzenci utilizing a pulsating synthesizer passage, but with indistinct noise sweeps and waves of sound crashing through, including some completely indefinable, alien bits of noise.  The final piece, "Stranger Than Them" concludes the album on an especially high note.  With a more overt use of programmed rhythms and gorgeous, airy vocals placed more at the forefront, it is a soaring, wonderful conclusion to an exceptionally strong record.

It may not be hard to come up with reference points and other records that resemble Being Near, but when something familiar is executed with such brilliance and verve, that is the most essential part.  From beginning to end, this is a lush, yet sad record that covers significant emotional ground, and even with some familiar seeming moments, is still a unique piece of gorgeous and gripping music.

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Last Updated on Sunday, 11 September 2016 21:01  


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