Erdem Helvacioglu Eleven Short Stories

This album represents a significant departure for Turkish musician Erdem Helvacioglu, as it's his first made without his signature electronic treatments. Save for some overdubbing and standard studio stuff, it's effectively an acoustic disc, with the composer directing his imagination towards the sonic possibilities of the piano via extended techniques and his vocabulary of prepared sounds (knives, forks, earplugs rammed between the piano strings). Helvacioglu sounds right at home though, sculpting miniature soundscapes in covert homage to the work of various film directors, including Lynch, Egoyan and Aronofksy. Suitably, the pieces are predominately dramatic, open-ended queries rather than driving, percussive assertions. Patiently meandering melodic motives speak through the preparations, conjuring an array of soft plucks, bell tones, faint buzzing and metallic flurries. These radiant surfaces, though, are punctuated textures ― peculiar resonances, wooden clicks and slams, choked, glassy scrapes and distant clangs. While the prepared piano can easily be employed merely as a battery of novel noises, the spaciousness of these compositions allows you to be drawn into the colour of each note. Not unlike Ryuichi Sakamoto's recent penchant for tidy and subtle experimentalism, Helvacioglu's approach here makes for an incredibly pleasant aural experience, yet also intrigues and challenges the listener. (Innova)