steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Erdem Helvacioglu

"Altered Realities" CDR

New Albion Records

Genre: experimental, ambient

June 2008

Music from Istanbul, Turkey doesn't pop up in the Indieville mailbag very often, so it was a nice surprise to receive this little nugget from prolific electronic/guitar wizard Erdem Helvacuoglu. Having performed at numerous international music festivals and appeared on several compilations, Erdem is no stranger to an audience, and this is evident on Altered Realities. Despite ties to noise and heavily experimental acts, he keeps things fairly accessible on this heavily atmospheric record. The guitar is the prime focus here, chiming and echoing as electronics manipulate the sounds in real time (only the guitar signal was used; electronics were only used to modify it, and everything was done completely live). I'm reminded of John Fahey's Hitomi project. Overall, the ambient, reverberating textures of this release place it more in company with new age music than textbook experimental work, but you wouldn't find this on a Yanni record. Helvacioglu's well-designed sound is something that is both delicate and vast - something you can put on and let wash over you, without the embarrassment associated with an Enigma record.

mp3 (from frozen resophonic


youuuuuuuutube!: erdem live, erdem's sound installation

Fun Fact: Erdem's earlier album, A Walk Through the Bazaar, was dubbed "outstanding" by The Wire magazine.

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 7 tracks, 53:10, distributed by the label, released July 2006]