11 minutes - for string quartet
Written for Hezarfen Academy 2018
Performed by Hezarfen Ensemble, March 01.2018 - Ankara, Turkey.
'Lesser Beings' can be regarded as the outcome of a faint sentiment which I can only materialize through an image: simple, imaginary life forms that just so happened to exist in space, interacting with each other, stepping into motion in attempts to justify their existence.
As human beings we would watch this attempt with fondness and sympathy; however, this sympathy also brings along an implicit pity with it. The affinity that we show to the naive being of the other is also the realization of our own complex being which we position opposite to theirs. Even though we might not be conscious of it, we find ourselves to be more potent next to their vulnerability, maybe see an ineptitude in them which we also feel in our own being; but nevertheless reject to acknowledge them as our equivalent. For this reason, our fondness only stands as long as this hidden hierarchy is maintained. If it ever happens that these beings which we call simple somehow break their boundaries and reach our level of power and intellect, then they would stop being likable and turn into a potential threat. I wanted to watch 'Lesser Beings' with the same fondness and distant intimacy and embrace the ineptitudes I would be afraid to find in myself through these imaginary entities.
3.5 minutes - for amplified clarinet
Miniature commission from Mixtur Festival for the festival program.
Performed by Renaud Guy-Roussaeu, April 25.2019 - Barcelona, Spain.
A piece that is unburdened by any trace of grandeur, 'Consolation' aims to reflect on the exact opposite; being written with the intention to grasp a poetry hidden in the plain, spontaneous mundaneness of life. Such beauty emanates and evaporates quickly, sometimes in a matter of minutes or seconds; as it is often bound to an unremarkable, ordinary moment. The piece takes one of such instances as its reference: a brief circumstance where one person is consoling the other. By acting as an aural abstraction of this scene, 'Consolation' aims to bring out a hidden musicality in this moment that would otherwise be overlooked in the swift passing of time.
Silence Told Me Secretly (2017)
6 minutes - for guitar quartet
Performed by Deniz Sevinç, Begüm Argon, Mert Şanal, Batuhan Balaban, January 06.2018 - Ankara, Turkey.
In pitch black darkness, a person sits in seclusion for a long, unknown duration of time, when finally a sound comes into being. It cannot be known if this sound was really woven out of silence or if it was merely a figment of imagination; but at last, the void has spoken. ‘Silence Told Me Secretly’ is this mysterious message that showed itself and faded out in a state of sensory deprivation. This piece is meant as an entry in the composer’s diary.
Leaked Tape from the Sacred Mysteries (2018)
9 minutes - for piano, violin, violoncello
Commissioned by Musica QuLacoza to represent the young contemporary music of Turkey in Japan.
World Premiere by Musica QuLacoza, February 09.2019 - Nagoya, Japan.
Turkish Premiere by Ensemble X, August 29.2018 - Cappadocia, Turkey.
'Leaked Tape from the Sacred Mysteries' is the precursor to 'A Night of Music in the Uncanny Valley', in which a fictional ceremony is enacted by beings who can be described as almost human, but not quite. As its title suggests, the piece was written as if it is a secret recording taken during an enclosed ritual. In this sense, Leaked Tape somewhat functions like a "teaser" to 'A Night of Music in the Uncanny Valley'.
Silicone Skin and Fleshy Masses (2020-21)
11 minutes - for voices & sine waves
Performed by Ekmeles, March 27.20 - New York, USA.
'Silicone Skin and Fleshy Masses' is built on an imaginary song that is sung by a machine entity that has been abandoned by its creator. Living through an ever-continuous process of corporal disintegration, the machine is left to witness its own decaying beauty and thus yearns for the healing touch of its maker. Although an original version of the song does not exist, this temporally stretched and fragmented reimagining of the music is meant to illustrate a moment in the machine’s perpetually deteriorating state.
This work is part of an ongoing endeavor of the composer to analyze the human voice and repurpose it within new, instrumental settings. Through this instrumental resynthesis, the composer intends to defamiliarize the original source material and capture a liminal zone in between what may be perceived as “human” and “non-human”. In Silicone Skin and Fleshy Masses, the instrumental constituents of the imagined voice are made of six actual human voices. The vocal performers, together with the accompanying sine waves, collectively constitute the voice of the fictional entity. Therefore, the ensemble is given a twofold role, which is to evoke the soulful singing of a seemingly sentient being, while simultaneously manifesting its uncanny nature.
A Night of Music in the Uncanny Valley (2018-20)
40 minutes - for ensemble, narrator & electronics
Part III was performed as a standalone piece by Hezarfen Ensemble, March 10.19 - Ankara, Turkey.
Part II was performed as a standalone piece by Oerknal, October 23.19 - Ankara, Turkey.
'A Night of Music in the Uncanny Valley' is a cycle consisting of five ensemble pieces in total. The work depicts a fictional ritualistic ceremony held by the inhabitants of the Uncanny Valley, beings who are trapped on the thin line between the human and non-human. A term popularly put forward by Masahiro Mori, the uncanny valley theory aims to explain our varying emotional responses towards anthropomorphic objects. According to Mori, the more an object resembles a human being, the more we tend to show positive affinity towards it, until there arrives a point where the object becomes almost human, but not quite. At this stage, our positive response suddenly tends to drop down to a remarkably negative level, as this object's extreme resemblance to a human person causes an unsettling cognitive dissonance.