The cover to Ahmet Sisman's Esraj EP is absolutely appropriate. On it, a number of instruments—violin, recorder, trumpet—are warped just enough to simultaneously maintain their shape and still make you feel queasy. On record those instruments sound much the same way, weeding their way through thickets of percussion in desperate efforts to emerge unscathed. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. The fun is in the battle.
Sisman's devotion to acoustic instruments and tribal minimal is reminiscent of Vakant, but the Turkish-born producer is much more straight-forward in his sound, preferring overt hooks over ones that you have to dig for. Call it Vakant pop, but there's something to be said for "Saire" or "Loune" where you can actually coming away whistling the tune afterwards. (Good luck with that, though.) The latter is a vinyl exclusive and it's a stunner, with ominous strings playing up against their pizzicato counterparts in its final moments, making the ten minutes it takes to get there well worth the wait.
"Uzak" is the other bomb here, holding two steady vocal samples throughout as the pounding drums and various sound effects play out over top. Like the other three tracks here, it's as much the journey as it is the destination: Sisman like his Vakant peers are crafting worlds in which to live that are as rapidly changing, slightly disorienting and utterly beautiful as our own.
Tracklist 1 Esraj
Vinyl Exclusive: Loune