Summer activities, concerts in the Fall

It was a relatively calm summer for Korhan in terms of performances, where most time was spent on rehearsing/playing sessions with new collaboration partners as well as researching and experimenting to develop the new laptop-less performance and composition setup.

In the period June-August, Korhan played some very exciting concerts in festivals and venues in Moers, Vienna and Berlin. The first one was a concert in the Moers Festival with Islak Köpek, Korhan’s free improvisation ensemble in Istanbul. Even though the ensemble has been in hiatus for many years, it was only then it started playing occasional concerts in European Festivals. The previous concert was in 2015 in the New Sounds of Istanbul in Berlin Festival.

The second exciting event was Korhan’s debut as a techno artist under the moniker Ayşegül Plays…. Ayşegül is the name of a fictitious character in a series of children’s books in Turkey where a pretty, well-dressed, well-mannered, very feminine girl called Ayşegül has several adventures. This series is adapted from the Belgian original Martine, created by the Belgian duo Gilbert Delahaye & Marcel Marlier. Korhan played a one-hour live set at Berlin’s Suicide Circus featuring a very simple setup. Despite being his first-ever live set, it was received well.

Korhan organized two evenings at Berlin’s Sowieso where he brought together improvisers from the Turkish scene based in Europe with musicians from the Berlin scene. Despite the heavy rain on the second day (June 29), the music and the vibe was great.

In July, Korhan started a spoken-word/song project with Paris-based singer/writer Lembe Lokk. Lembe and Korhan had met through David Rothenberg, with whom Korhan has been performing their Berlin Bülbül concerts with live nightingales in Berlin since 2014. One week after this performance was a fantastic night of improvisation with Turkish and Iranian musicians (Cymin Samawatie, Golnar Shahyar, Mona Matbou Riahi, Uygur Vural and Korhan Erel) in Vienna. These musicians had met in Berlin at the Female Voice of Iran Festival in March 2017.

July came to an end with a comprehensive participation in the #displaced #rePlaced Festival curated by Ipek Ipekoğlu at Radialsystem. Korhan performed with Cymin Samawatie, spoke at a panel lead by Çağla İlk and with Sakina Teyman, Pınar Selek and Maximillian Popp, and conducted a workshop on music-making on mobile platforms.

In August, Korhan revived the project “is paradise cheaper?” with writer Göksu Kunak. Göksu and Korhan had developed this lecture-sound performance in 2015 based on the same-titled text by Göksu Kunak. They performed it in the wonderful Fuchsbau Festival in Lehrte. The attendance and vibe was wonderful. Fuchsbau is a multi-disciplinary festival with music, art, panels, presentations, installations that takes place in a squatted old brick factory amidst corn fields in Lehrte. Besides, Korhan also performed their first performance with violist Maria Takahashi, with whom Korhan has been rehearsing in the past several months. Another concert was one with sewing agent Lisa Simpson at her atelier in Berlin, where Korhan played a very limited/small electronic setup along with Lisa’s sewing machine performance.

Korhan has two concerts with the Istanbul Composers Orchestra led by pianist/composer Laia Genc in Hannover on September 8 and October 26. In October, Korhan will also tour with two of his favorite electronic musicians, Achim Zepezauer and Jim Campbell. The tour comprises of performances in Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Bremen and Berlin, with possible appearances in Leipzig and/or Dresden. Touring starts in Düsseldorf on Oct 3 and ends in Berlin with a concert at Spektrum on Oct 8. Korhan will also play with Vollmund (Edith Steyer, Adrian David Krok) at West Germany on October 27.

November has several exciting shows, the first of which will be playing in an improvising orchestra in the JazzFest Berlin on November 5 conducted by drummer/pianist/composer Tyshawn Sorey. On November 15, Korhan will play in duo with voice/electronics improviser Rahel Kraft at Z Bar. On November 19 will be a trio concert with cellist Hannah Marshall and flautist Sabine Vogel at Spektrum. Both venues are in Berlin.

Korhan will play two concerts with guitarist Eric Wong in December. The first one will be in the Noiseberg concert series at Atelier Auglein on Dec 3. The second one will be on the next day on Dec 4 in the Experimontag series at Madame Claude, this time as a trio with trumpet player extraordinaire Brad Henkel.

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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