February 21,2021

Episode 5

From the soothing voice of Israeli singer Liraz to harsh post-punk out of Norway

Picture by Marta Witkowska

In the fifth episode of TSIR – an adventurous and inspiring global journey for music lovers, we discover warm, beautiful Neo-Classic-Ambient from Poland and celebrate classical Mauretanian music. We also find out more about Industrial inspired dub extravaganza from Ukraine, enjoy the divine voice from Israeli/Iranian singer Liraz and get smashed in the face by Norway´s finest Arabrot.

Featured Artist: Ece Canli

Ece Canli is a composer and vocalist from Turkey. Her extended vocal techniques paired with extralinguistic poetry and various electronic sounds make her debut solo album "Vox Flora, Vox Fauna" a divine atmosphere. Ece is combining various styles from ancient threnodies to experimental music with a singular narrative. The exploring and adventurous character of her music were what convinced me from the first listen.

Ece allows simple, single sound elements to take space in her tracks and gives them time to unfold and develop this convincing soundworld.
Picture by Renato Cruz

We got in touch with Ece Canli in order to find out more about her music, her inspiration, the story about the chosen song "Su-ma" and which kind of music inspires her at the moment?

You have released your first solo album „Vox Flora, Vox Fauna“ recently. Can you tell us where the idea for this extraordinary music came from, what are your inspirations and how did you develop the album?

There is a big detour and a multilayered set of inspirations behind the album. For many years, I've had a particular interest in women deemed mentally ill, altered states of female psyche and their artistic reflections. I've been digging many literary works, autobiographies and fictions addressing this issue, and discerned a commonality: these women at some point either escaped to nature (sometimes escaping literally from the institutions located in forests) or delineated themselves turning into the nature, say, starting to be part of a tree, of a plant, of an animal or rooting in the earth.

This transformation and the idea of sounding through these new embodiments always fascinated me. When I was invited to create a solo project, I started off with this idea of being a prosthesis of flora and fauna; and its possible sounds and vocalisations. This required me to delve into human's historical and contemporary connections with flora and fauna through their body and psyche; thus, Turkic cosmology, Tengrism and animism guided me to rethink these notions.

On the way, I constructed a narrative, as a physical and mental voyage between various elements, matters and forces to evoke different experiences and memories. This concept doesn't suggest a "let's go back to nature" kind of romantic approach, but rather functions as a bridge (between many different beings and temporalities); a sort of anachronistic storytelling. But in the end, it's music and I want each listener to find their own story and journey in it. 

Picture by Renato Cruz

As your voice in its different shapes, forms, variations is the main ingredient on your album, can you explain your approach in creating and mixing your different vocal singing techniques, with abstract and alienated voice samples?

As a singing body, the presence of extended vocal techniques and the idea of "voice as the original instrument" (as Joan La Barbara used it) always prevail in my work, but some context-specific creations (like this album) need a fine balance between the technique and the overall intention.

In other words, when the "technique" – which can be quite rigid and limiting – doesn't necessarily serve for the narrative, it should be sculpted. For instance, my first intention was to make a voice-only album using extended techniques in its full potential, but in time, some of the vocals asked evolving into other things; some transforming to whistle instruments, some to synths, some to just breaths and effects – and some totally eliminated.

So, I would say that my approach in creating vocals is to use them as crude as possible in the beginning and then transform them into something sensible to serve for the entire narrative. The other thing is that I prefer not to rely on or overload post-production for vocals. I like singing and using long takes as much as possible with sometimes only basic effects, so I can easily reproduce them live. 

Ece Canli - Animancia (Official Video)

On your bandcamp site you mention the embodiment of human-animal-nature, as a mediation between the earthly and the celestial. Can you explain your idea behind this concept to us?

The binary between the earthly and celestial, mundane and spiritual, organic and inorganic, etc. is nothing new; in fact, these two polarities always co-existed and fed each other. Most of the indigenous thoughts have been based on the harmony between these binaries, and human-being was not considered the sole center of the creation, but only a tiny bit of it alongside other beings.

Modernity and capitalism have gradually disturbed this equilibrium, erasing many other harmonic cosmologies and instrumentalising flora and fauna from the earth to the sky. I imagine a mediating point where the human is decentralised and reconnected to the rest, where the earthly does not mean to extract more minerals and to contaminate the subterranean, and where the celestial is not about colonising Mars. :) Although the album is not a direct critique of anthropocene, it so speaks from this point of crisis. 

Picture by Renato Cruz

What is the story, idea, concept  behind the song „Su-ma“ that is featured in the podcast?

As I mentioned earlier, it is a concept album which consists of a linear narrative, with each song representing a moment. "Su-ma" is the second moment of the narrative, where the protagonist, after a long roam, stops by the water, rests and contemplates the reflection of the sky, of their face and of the entire world on the water.

Literally, "Su" means water in Turkish and "Ma" in Arabic (used in old Turkish), a literal connection between past and present. This meditative interaction between human and the water not only indicates purity and fluidity, but also impalpability and the distortion of the image. It's the only song that is merely based on voice and its liquidity. 

Picture by Renato Cruz

If live concerts will be possible again in the future, what can we expect from you as a live artist?

Probably similar to many musicians, I love the magnetism of the stage too, and I can be quite possessed by the transient yet fervent vibe it creates. Now, I too have an accumulated energy that is ready to flow. I made this album in a way that each song has space for adaptation, so I can reproduce all the songs each time with a bit difference. When the doors will open again, probably I will play with this flexibility more and go even more performative, more vibrant, trying to make us forget the screen we are hooked on at the moment. 

Picture by Renato Cruz

Can you share with us three artists / albums that you listen to or that have inspired you lately?

Senyawa - Alkisah

Ka Baird - Vivification Exercises I and Respires

Keeley Forsyth - Photograph and Debris

Picture by Renato Cruz

Thanks Ece that you took your time! Absolutely stunning work.