"Wounded Breath" album has been included in the "BEST ALBUMS OF 2009" list by the Culture Catch magazine.


Loop Magazine July 2007
Loop Magazine Interview – Erdem Helvacioglu
July 2007

- I guess that "Altered Realities" was recorded in only one take and recorded in real-time. Is it an improvising piece?

All of the pieces on the “Altered Realities” album were recorded in real-time. I played the acoustic guitar and controlled the complex live electronics setup at the same time. I recorded many takes of each piece and chose the best ones for the album. All of the works were composed and worked in detail. There is improvisation both in the playing and electronics part, but I think that part would only consist 10% of the whole album.

- You have traveled and played in Europe, USA and Latin America. Which is your set-up for a performance? Guitar and live electronics? I didn't know that in Cuba they have organized an 11th version of an electroacoustic music festival. How was your experience playing in La Habana?

I have a few different setups. At some festivals, I diffuse my electroacoustic tape pieces through a 16 or 32 speaker setup. At others, I perform my ambient set titled “Farewell Istanbul” with a laptop and some effects, or perform my “Altered Realities” set. The “Altered Realities” set includes a laptop with the program Audiomulch, an Ovation acoustic guitar, TC Electronic Fireworx and Behringer midi foot controller. I attended the electroacoustic festival “Primavera en La Habana” twice. I will perform there again in March 2008. It is one of the most exciting festivals that I have attended in Latin America. The festival program is very intense. There are 3 concerts everyday, lots of lectures and workshops. Besides this festival, I think Visiones Sonoras in Mexico, Sonoimagenes in Argentina and AI-MAAKO in Chile are good electroacoustic festivals that take place in Latin America.

- The song titles on "Altered Realities" speak about distances places. What's inspires you for the making of the album?

My first inspiration for the album was probably the Ovation acoustic guitar. I own that guitar for nearly 15 years. I was thinking about creating an album that would emphasize the micro sounds of this guitar. I was imagining far away lands where these micro sounds would create walls of beautiful sounds. Since the main idea is based on the micro sounds, parts of the instrument and nature, all of the pieces on the album consist of songs that include phrases from these 2 different worlds.

- Please tell us about the new commission for a new piece from the American new music ensemble Bang on a Can! What's going to consist your commission?

Very recently, I have received a new commission from the famous American new music ensemble Bang on a Can. The artistic directors seem to especially like my “Altered Realities” album very much. The piece will be premiered in New York in February 2008. I have a few ideas about the piece in my mind at the moment, but nothing is certain yet. I have been working on a big sound installation that will be premiered at the International Istanbul Biennial in September 2007. I guess I will be able to work on the commission harder after that piece has been done.

- Please tell us about the underground scene in Istanbul.

The underground scene in Istanbul is pretty small, actually. There are 2 big electronic music festivals that take place in Istanbul which are named Phonem and ctrl-alt-del. Unfortunately, there are only a few electroacoustic composers. The scene mostly consists of indie rock bands and techno oriented acts. But I also see a few young students studying sound engineering who create really interesting works. The main problem is that there are nearly no record labels that would support any kind of experimental music. I hope that will change in the next 5 years and hope that we will be able to see, hear many more interesting experimental composers, performers from Istanbul.


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