Ipek Gorgun has featured here before, so there’s little need to go deep into her history. In brief, she has played in rock bands, taken part in the Red Bull Music Academy, made music with Ceramic TL and completed a PhD in Sonic Arts. Very brief. She recently released her second album, Ecce Homo, and it’s a crystallisation of her efforts to date. Opener “Neroli” – named either for the essential oil of the bitter orange tree or a 1993 Brian Eno album (or both, or neither) – flourishes like a bright organ song on a spring morning, somehow both joyful and insidious in how it offers its welcome. Looped glistening harp notes feed terror and uncertainty, forward and reverse, like the time-lapsed opening and closing of the flowers that appear on the album’s cover.
Tracks feature strange vocals in unknown languages, unknown to this writer at least. “Afterburner” moves from pitched-up male sounds into the building drone of the titular flight. “Tserin Dropchut” (more unknown words/languages?) features beautiful sounds that are undermined by distorted clipping, as well as throbbing bass that kicks down into your chest. Like being at a show where the levels are off in every direction, but in a good way. “Bohemian Grove” features the voice of right wing-fantasist Alex Jones, speaking about the supposed occultist tendencies of the eponymous campground. His words are repeated and looped over dark and muted bass tones. The word “Satan” is played over and over, Jones’s voice stretched and squeezed in tape-like format. It’s darkly comical, his paranoia rendered parodic. His almost prurient interest in this “twisted behaviour” becomes twisted itself, any demon worship rendered seductive and intriguing opposed to his conservative finger-wagging. This is an art piece, and his voice sounds many decades old, when in fact the recording is from 2000. It’s a heightened take on puritanism, reminiscent of Mylo’s “Destroy Rock & Roll”, only less danceable.
“Seneca” features muted melodies that could be built from old-timey jazz records, while “Reverance” pits beautiful electronic bells against unsettling piano themes. “Mileva” – potentially named for Mileva Marić, a Serbian mathematician who studied under Einstein and later married him – continues the thread of dark tones, strange distortion, deep bass and overall dread. Gorgun’s work is fascinating in that it can leave a startling impression without lodging specific memories in your head. It’s a feeling. Bar the opening notes of “Neroli” and Jones’s deranged ranting in “Bohemian Grove”, it’s hard to think of single elements once the music stops playing. Whether that means the work is successful – in that it forces you to return and pay attention – or not – because it’s not memorable – is a question of perspective. Ours is that it works.