David Rothenberg & Korhan Erel: Berlin Bülbül

A nice review of my album with David Rothenberg, “Berlin Bülbül” by Tyran Grillo

between sound and space: ECM Records and Beyond

Berlin Bülbül

David Rothenberg, familiar to ECM listeners through his fascinating duo album with Marilyn Crispell, has constructed one of the most idiosyncratic vessels in which to sail the waters of improvised music. He excels at expanding his own terms to suit an ever-changing roster of natural musicians. The German field recording label Gruenrekorder is the host for this rather different collaboration, which combines Rothenberg’s clarinets with Turkish sound artist Korhan Erel on computer and iPad, along with nightingales fed live from the parks of Berlin. Anyone who has followed Rothenberg’s career will know of his mythical explorations of bird song in the book Why Birds Sing and its accompanying CD. More recently he has done the same with whales and insects, but the birds have been a regular point of return.

The liner notes of Berlin Bülbül (the second word being Turkish for “nightingale”) riff off these birds’ distinct ways of…

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About Korhan Erel

Korhan Erel is a computer musician, improviser, sound designer based in Berlin. He plays instruments he designs on a computer by employing various controllers. He also uses analog and digital electronics. He is a founding member of Islak Köpek, Turkey’s pioneer free improvisation group, which is regarded as the band that started the free improvisation scene in Turkey. He composes and designs sounds for dance, theater, installations and film. He collaborates with dancers, video artists and spoken word artists. Korhan’s collaboration with Sydney-based video artist Fabian Astore “The Threshold” has won the Blake Prize in Australia in 2012. Korhan’s computer performance system is called Omnibus. The instruments within Omnibus are a culmination of Korhan’s musical past and aesthetic choices. Omnibus instruments use concrete sounds (samples, field recordings), morphed and processed in realtime. They can be as simple as one single sample being played using a Nintendo Wii controller to a complex system that employs granular synthesis and spectral processing. The instruments are played interactively using Nintendo Wii controllers (Korhan’s choice of controller when he plays in ensembles with acoustic/electric instrument players), an iPad (used in solo/duo performances as well as ensemble concerts) and several midi controllers. No matter what technology he uses, Korhan always stays focused on the outcome and musicality rather than processes. Korhan is the co-curator (with Nicola Hein) of UnStumm, a project that brings video artists and musicians from Germany and one other country for audiovisual improvised collaboration. Korhan has had three residencies at STEIM (Center for research & development of instruments & tools for performers) in Amsterdam, where he studied use of sensors in music performance and instrument design. He was a guest composer at the Electronic Music Studios in Stockholm in January 2011. Korhan has seven CD releases on Gruenrekorder (Germany), Creative Sources Records (Portugal), Evil Rabbit Records (Netherlands/Germany), A.K. Müzik (Turkey) and Kukuruku Recordings (Greece) as well as several netlabel releases. He performs regularly in Europe and in the Middle East as a solo artist as well as with his projects in Germany and Holland.
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