Ahead of his representing Turkey at this year’s Venice Biennale, Subtext present’s Istanbul based Cevdet Erek’s first full length LP: ‘Davul’. The title refers to the instrument performed by Erek, a large drum with many names, common from Eastern Europe to the Middle East, known variably as a daouli (Greek), tapan (Macedonian), dahol (Kurdish), or tabl (Arabic) to cite a few.
Erek plays the drum with his own unusual method, utilising a large soft mallet alongside various smaller implements to beat and distort the skin of the drum, tuned lower than normal, taking advantage of being able to walk around studio or installation spaces with the instrument. Erek acquired the drum from a Roma musician, proceeding to play it in private for years where he developed this new textural approach, integrating the instrument into his A Room of Rhythms installation piece at Istanbul Biennial, 2015.
Comprising extracts culled from hours of solo drum improvisations recorded over two days in Berlin, ‘Davul’ features no editing or overdubbing. At times Erek describes “playing to get the negative and aggressive away from inside of me, hoping that I could do the same for the other people surrounding me.” He refers to a shamanic history of healing rituals - although the davul is most commonly used for weddings, dances, and celebrations. “Of course the aesthetics of dark electronics and noise that I've been exposed to for decades informs the overall feel as well,” adds Erek.
Over seven improvised pieces Erek conjures a massive variety of
uncharacteristic sounds and colours from the drum, from deep
scrapes and grinds to heavy rubs and drones, creating complex
rhythms. Experimentation with rhythm, meter, and silence has
always been at the core of what Erek does - from his work as a conceptual artist, presenting work at the likes of dOCUMENTA, to decades as the drummer in Turkish experimental rock band Nekropsi - but ‘Davul’ is his purest statement-of-intent to date; a raw and hypnotic exploration of flow and dynamics.
Bio: Cevdet Erek was born in Istanbul in 1974, where he would initially study Architecture. Originally formed in 1989, Erek has also been the longtime drummer with Turkish experimental music stalwarts, Nekropsi. After completing his Masters in Sound Engineering & Design at İTÜ MIAM Center for Advanced Studies in Music, Erek’s installations and performances have been presented far and wide, including dOCUMENTA, Sydney Biennial, and Istanbul Modern. He’s also worked on sound and music for film, most recently contributing original music and sound design to Emin Alper’s “Frenzy” (Venice International Film Festival – Special Jury Prize, 2015).