Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Helvacioglu: Eleven Short Stories - Prepared Piano Goes to the Movies

Eleven Short Stories 
Erdem Helvacioglu 
Innova 

Turkish composer Erdem Helvacioglu embarks on a fascinating project with this recording. He writes in the liner notes, “Eleven Short Stories is inspired by the works of film directors Kim Ki-Duk, David Lynch, Krzystof Kielowski, Theodoros Angelopoulos, Jan Campion, Anthony Minthella, Ang Lee, Atom Egoyan, Darren Aronofsky, Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu and Steven Soderbergh.”

Using a prepared piano, Helvacioglu conjures up sonic impressions of various types of movies – as they might be interpreted by these directors. That’s not to say that Helvacioglu’s arranging soundtrack themes. Rather, he creates soundscapes that convey the emotions he’s after.

And there’s not a one-to-one correspondence between a certain director and an individual track. Part of the listener’s task is to listen to make sense of the sounds not only in terms of the stories they’re telling, but also what director’s style (or styles) it might be told in.

Helvacioglu’s tonal palette is wide-open, and imaginative. Some of the sound are distinctively pianistic, while others seem otherworldly. Throughout it all, though, there’s a clear underlying structure that gives each story its own internal logic.

Eleven Short Stories is an engaging release for anyone interested in the sound of the new – and the more you’re familiar with the directors that inspired these works, the deeper your appreciation of Helvacioglu’s accomplishment.

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