Cevdet Erek – ‘Davul’ LP [Subtext]

Out on Subtext this week is a stunning plate from Istanbul based Cevdet Erek, best known as an artist sound crafting installations, films and exhibitions and rarely repeating himself in the process. Last year he was part of the 20th Biennale of Sydney with a unique form of his best known work to date, the ever shifting Room of Rhythms – Long Distance Relationship which took place on Cockatoo Island to decent reviews from the chinstroke massive.

Those familiar with Erek’s art but not his music would probably expect something avant garde for his adventures on Subtext, but Davul by nature is instantly accessible. More than just a title, a ‘duval’ is a type of bass drum common across Europe and the Middle East with the LP being an improvised exploration of it’s sounds. Erek recorded a two-day session in Berlin with the best forty minutes or so making it in to the seven cuts across the album.

It’s an intense listen of nothing but drums, and totally sublime. Grab a copy at the usual suspects.

Ahead of his representing Turkey at this year’s Venice Biennale, Subtext present’s Istanbul based Cevdet Erek’s first full length LP: ‘Davul’. The title refers to the instrument performed by Erek, a large drum with many names, common from Eastern Europe to the Middle East, known variably as a daouli (Greek), tapan (Macedonian), dahol (Kurdish), or tabl (Arabic) to cite a few.

Erek plays the drum with his own unusual method, utilising a large soft mallet alongside various smaller implements to beat and distort the skin of the drum, tuned lower than normal, taking advantage of being able to walk around studio or installation spaces with the instrument. Erek acquired the drum from a Roma musician, proceeding to play it in private for years where he developed this new textural approach, integrating the instrument into his A Room of Rhythms installation piece at Istanbul Biennial, 2015.

Comprising extracts culled from hours of solo drum improvisations recorded over two days in Berlin, ‘Davul’ features no editing or overdubbing. At times Erek describes “playing to get the negative and aggressive away from inside of me, hoping that I could do the same for the other people surrounding me.” He refers to a shamanic history of healing rituals – although the davul is most commonly used for weddings, dances, and celebrations. “Of course the aesthetics of dark electronics and noise that I’ve been exposed to for decades informs the overall feel as well,” adds Erek.