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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Erdem Helvacioglu
Altered Realities
New Albion

Rating: 8/10 ?


August 15, 2007
Hailing from Istanbul, Turkey, Erdem Helvacioglu is a propulsive acoustic guitar performer, with a crush on live electronics. But what's most amazing about him (besides his own name) is the method: how he records directly to the tape, in real-time, no overdubs, mixing or post-production involved. The result of this, say, eremitic process is a voluptuous, embracing mesh of gentle guitar finger-picking.

Sometimes trembling, bulbaceous and almost spooky ("Dreaming on a Blind Saddle"), and very often chilling and crepuscular ("Sliding on a Glacier" or even "Frozen Resophonic"), Altered Realities is a record for slow, attentive consumption; its long, persistent notes, knotted with creaking, resounding silences, always give a powerful last gasp to each track.

However esoteric it may sound at first listen, Helvacioglu's latest work is a feral, teeth-rattling chamber of glistening noises, which is always more than willing to offer a chill of terror down your spine. Take the sixth track, "Pearl Border", for instance - its scraped strings and prolonged shimmering moments make you embark on loud chants of isolation.

Altered Realities is the proper title for an album that salutes you with slow electronics memorabilia, only to, a few minutes later, take you on a late-night walk through the nebulous secrets of the nearest harbour. Not only does Erdem Helvacioglu delude you in a hypnotic swirl of tangled chords, he does so in a never-ending unclothing of the notes he plays.

It's not a pretentious move that every track exceeds the six-minute mark, it's just the length of the river he wants you to cross. Does it sound good? Yes, but also provoking and tormented. And that may well be the fair price to pay the boatman. One could not expect less than a passage over the waters from a multidisciplinary artist like Helvacioglu.

Aside from his records, Helvacioglu also composes for film, theatre, and multimedia productions. And remember: what you hear is exactly what was recorded. Oh, the method! It teases us, it deludes us but, at the end of the day, it feeds our starving souls. And what a brilliant cook this Turkish guy is!

Reviewed by Helder Gomes
Currently living on the south bank of the Tagus river, in Portugal, Helder Gomes is a working class hero. He is a journalist for the local radio station Rádio Nova Anten. In his spare time, he skates and watches many odd movies. He is in love with the French nouvelle vague, and the Danish/Swedish invasion. He writes for a number of publications, on the Internet or otherwise, notably the underground Portuguese magazine Mondo Bizarre, and the Jazz Review website. He is also the news collector and a staff witer for the adorable Lost at Sea. Oh, and there is also the Coffee Breakz radio show that he tries to host every Saturday.

See other reviews by Helder Gomes

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