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CATALOG > Wounded Breath

Erdem Helvacioğlu
Wounded Breath
Total Time: 61:37
Record Label: Aucourant Records
Catalog Number: AUREC 0899
UPC: 649783089927
Type: CD
Released: 2008


Wounded Breath is a collection of five electroacoustic works by renowned Turkish composer Erdem Helvacioğlu. The works on this album each explore the capacities of sound design that is the hallmark of the current state of the art of electroacoustic music composition.

Helvacioğlu has received numerous international awards. His music has been performed at prestigious festivals and broadcast all around the world. He has collaborated with Mick Karn, Kevin Moore, John Wilson, Kazuya Ishigami, Luo Chao-yun, Ros Bandt, Craig Green, Jacob Young, Elliott Sharp, Bill Walker, Nathan Larson and Saadet Turkoz.

He has received commissions from artists and organizations such as the 2006 World Soccer Championship, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Todd Reynolds, Kinan Azmeh, Margaret Lancaster and Cem Duruoz. He is also actively involved in composing for films, multimedia productions, contemporary dance and theatre. His sound installations have been included at such galleries as Los Angeles Track 16, Indonesia Soemardja, Koln Museum for Angewandte Kunst, London Menier and the 10th International Istanbul Biennial. His film music has been heard at Cannes, Sarajevo, Locarno, Seoul, Sao Paulo, and Sydney film festivals and he received the Best Original Soundtract award in the 2006 Mostramundo Film Festival. His album Altered Realities has been included in the Best 20 Albums of 2007 lists in All About Jazz, Textura and Cyclic Defrost magazines.
Wounded Breath will open you up to new experiences and allow you to explore worlds previously closed to you.
~ Blogcritics, Richard Marcus

Wounded Breath is an outstanding acousmatic record, period.

~ Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes

Below the Cold Ocean
~ A diving crew. The arctic ocean. The rhythmic push and glide of steel blades on frozen water. The click and clack of the ice. The blowing wind and the bitter cold. The moment of diving. The feel of freezing cold water. The atmosphere. The water all around us. We are also there.

Dance of Fire ~ A fire dance. The first spark. Amazing sound of fire. The feel of burning waves through the air. Hypnotizing and tranquilizing image and sound. Sometimes elegant, sometimes aggressive, sometimes rhythmic and sometimes not. But always beautiful.

Lead Crystal Marbles ~ The fascinating sound of glass marbles. All dropping. Simultaneously. Hitting the ground. Bouncing on the floor. Going their separate ways. Rolling and turning. Some like giant balls. Some like tiny drops. Scattering. All coming to rest. Wonderful memory of the lead crystal marbles.

Blank Mirror ~ A man. A blurred image in the mirror. A closer and deeper look. Is it he? Who is this stranger? A painful journey into his inner self. Search for the meaning of existence. Salvation. Atonement.

Wounded Breath
~ An elderly lady. Lying in her death bed. A dim room. Only memories in the air and her mumblings. Flashbacks. Scenes from childhood. Echoes of joy. Sorrows. Struggling to survive. Miseries. Illusions. Disillusions. Dreams. Agonies. Ups and downs. So many things yet to be done. But no time left. No one around. Bursts of anger. Last words. Last breath.
From the CD notes by Erdem Helvacioğlu
While Erdem Helvacioglu's Altered Realities (2007) marries acoustic guitar playing and live electronics in distinguished manner, Wounded Breath at least appears to dispense with the former altogether in its focus on electro-acoustic sound sculpting. Having said that, it's entirely possible that the Turkey-based composer created the material by filtering his acoustic guitar playing through a series of processors and programs, but, even so, nothing remotely resembling conventional guitar sounds surfaces during Wounded Breath. It's interesting to discover that while, on the one hand, his new material is considerably more abstract in stylistic approach than its predecessor, it's also more direct in that he's included associative info that allows the listener to contextualize the five pieces with ease. As a result, one has no difficulty visualizing the diving crew plunging into the freezing arctic waters during “Below the Cold Ocean” and to hear the rhythmic churn of the ship's steel blades in the icy water and feel the already sub-zero temperature plummet dangerously further when biting winds blow across the open sea. Helvacioglu creates a brittle and ice-cold universe of micro-sound textures where sounds reverberate from ink black depths and rise to the murky surface. Mystery is heightened during “Dance of Fire” when he challenges the listener to imagine what the elemental experience of fire is like. Convulsive ripples and crystalline tones careen throughout the piece's eleven minutes, generating an effect that's by turns mesmerizing and threatening. A seemingly lighter mood prevails during the opening minutes of the middle setting, “Lead Crystal Marbles,” when the percussive bounce of glass marbles is heard alongside creaking noises that sound like slowly-opening doors but are perhaps intended to mimic marbles rolling slowly across schoolyard pavement. Moving away from the earth-bound activity of marble-playing, Helvacioglu exploits the supra-dimensional associations of the track's title with what's either a deep-space exploration or a plunge into a microscopic biological universe. Having covered a remarkable amount of ground during the setting's seventeen minutes, the composer nicely caps it with a peaceful coda. The album's final piece, “Wounded Breath,” represents an elderly woman on her death bed and, as such, one might expect the composition to be reflective and peaceful in style. On the contrary, its twelve minutes are turbulent and shape-shifting with Helvacioglu distilling in sonic form the agitation the woman experiences as memories, both joyful and upsetting, pass through her final moments of consciousness. Not surprisingly, here too the activity level diminishes as the piece moves towards its end, and we even hear faint traces of the woman's final thoughts before her last breath is taken. Such attention to detail helps make Wounded Breath about as accomplished an example of contemporary electro-acoustic sound design as one might hope to find.
~ Textura

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