The next fine release in the Zel Zele catalogue is the debut album of Turkish composer and pianist, Berk Icli – further defining this cutting-edge label

Next on Zel Zele, the digger’s digging label – devoted to Turkish sounds of holy grail stature and cutting-edge music alike – is Glimpses of an Eternal Bloom and is the debut album of Turkish producer, composer and pianist: Berk Icli.

Born in Istanbul, Berk recorded his album in his home city of New York, his residency for several years while studying classical and jazz composition at The New School’s Mannes Conservatory. His practice has developed into unconventional ways of obtaining sounds from various instruments and the album was recorded, produced and mixed in Berk’s apartment over a year.

“I wanted to project the sound of my personal space and in this fashion refrained from pushing for a clean and sterile sound,” he says.

“The album is an attempt to frame certain moments of “being” no matter the emotional state concerned, whether euphoric, sentimental or dark and contemplative. At times, this is done through orchestrations of strings, brass and woodwinds. Other times with solo piano, field recordings, electronics and the use of samples.”

This accompanying video captures real-life field recordings from his neighbourhood, voices of his friends, and the children from the elementary school he worked at. The tracks were composed in succession and sequenced to construct a coherent sensual experience.

Blossoms is another example of Berk’s mastery of synth tones to create atmospheric wonder, set to more powerful and stylised imagery in the accompanying video.

Zel Zele is headed up by Debora Ipekel (NTS and Worldwide host) and provides the unique vision for the label’s remit. In 2020, the retrospective of little known Swiss-Turkish band, Café Türk, completely blew our minds at WTM. Berk’s album addition is another must-listen and continues to broaden the sights and sounds of an expansive stable, where musical output is continuing to take Turkish twists and turns – all curated expertly by Debora.

The label’s first record was a reissue of Ümit Aksu Orkestras’ Bermuda Şeytan Ücgeni – the musical adaptation of The Bermuda Triangle, also known as the Devil’s Triangle. Once you’re past the whirlpool intro, you’re into heavy Turkish jazz-funk

For more, check out the label’s Bandcamp.

Listen to a Worldwide radio show with Debora and Berk

Read all about the Café Türk compilation – covered in WTM in 2020 – below:

The stunning Café Türk – their Swiss and Turkish roots created a unique melting pot of genre-fluid music, soon to be revived and celebrated by Zel Zele Records – western punk attitude meets Turkish fuzz

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