"Black Falcon" album has been included in the "BEST ALBUMS OF 2011" list on Seattlepi magazine.


Tokafi Magazine May 2007
Can melodies live a life of their own? Can they be fragile or afraid? “Altered Realities” certainly suggests so. Tender themes and breakable motives hide in their shell of beauty to brave the storm of electronics howling outside, churning up metallic sand and dark dust and burrying a world of softness in its breath. But when the forces of nature have settled, all colours look as fresh and intense like the green grass of a flowing hillside. And there is Erdem Helvacioglu, strumming his guitar, his gaze fixed on the horizon.

You can keep the latter picture in your mind while reading this review, because, really, that is how this music was born: One man, feeding a stream of tones, chords and clusters into an array of effect pedals, interacting with the results and taking the purity of a simple theme into far-away territory. In this respect, Helvacioglu is a most welcome addition to the likes of Aidan Baker and Fear Falls Burning, other artists who have made greatful use of the possibilities of looping devices and found idiosyncratic ways of layering their textures into highly personal and recognisable pieces. And yet, “Altered Realities” is definitely different, not only from the musical vision of these two artists, but of their aesthetics as well. The fact that these compositions were created in real-time without any post-production and overdubs is much harder to discern in Helvacioglu’s case, simply because its creator is not interested in trance, hypnosis or rituals of purgation and because the tracks are much more flexible and twisted in their arrangements, while remaining remarkably compact in their reach with the shortest and the longest one only two minutes apart. The basis to all of them is a single shimmering motive with a smile on its face and a tear in its eye, which presents itself in its full glory at the outset, only to be forced through a labyrinth of torture, transforming as it floats along constantly changing pannels. Depending on the moment, different aspects of it will be highlighted, while others may fade, but no matter how bizarrely its form is mutated, its soul and spirit are preserved and take the listener by the hand. You can compare this technique to taking a picture you deeply love and lighting it in different ways, creating various effects in the process. “Pearl Border” and “Sliding on a Glacier” are the most extreme examples, leaning more towards the abstract and the textural, while the hope-filled “Shadow my Dovetail” acts as a summary and focal point of the entire album, encompassing all aspects in a dense, interconnected composition of many timbres and moods.

What makes these pieces special is not the fact that they were created live, even though it is pretty mindboggling considering the seemless flow Helvacioglu establishes and the plentitude of his man-machine interactions. Nor is he the only one with a voice of his own. But there is a uniqueness in the way he contrasts his human themes against the inexplicable, unspeakable, impenetrable and insurmountable mystery of an outside world full of immanent threats. Everyone can sympathise with the fragility and fear of these melodies.

By Tobias Fischer
Tokafi Magazine May 2007
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Altered Realities