Ekin Fil is the ambient/drone project of Ekin Üzeltüzenci, an Istanbul-based artist who has been creating haunting soundscapes with her voice since opening for Grouper several years back. Her latest album, Ghosts Inside, was written during a particularly dark period in her life, at the end of a romance and during her father's battle with cancer.
This album has more melodic movement than her previous, more drone-based approach did, even if that movement loops and vacillates; instead of floating in a womb, it's like being rocked back and forth. That most of these songs are in a minor key makes it a pretty sad, even creepy affair — as if rocking inconsolably.
Although ethereal, effects-laden vocals and instruments are nothing new for Fil, Ghosts Inside rewards with subtler details. "Episodes" stands out for some high, bird-like sounds after the one-minute mark, and trickling water sounds within its last minute. These touches help the song feel like more of a journey, even while staying relatively static, harmonically. "Simple Past," notably, starts with a very dry but warm piano sound. The dialling back of reverb seems like a new direction, but the desolate mood is still intact.
Fans of Grouper, Sister Grotto, or other ambient artists will enjoy this, but the cleaning up of some of the haze and the minor tones could draw in fans of Chelsea Wolfe as well (fans with an ear for melodies and riffs). As is, though, Ekin Fil's compositions are a perfect balance of meditative and disquieting. (The Helen Scarsdale Agency)