Isik Kural works like a photographer of sound, documenting the passing and returning of time as if material snapshots of life’s temporality. Isik’s songs are collaged from these fleeting moments, tinted with literary reference and flickers from life’s silent cinema, and then composed into poetic and sensory resonances that simultaneously mirror our present and past.
Born in Turkey, Isik began making music on a nylon string guitar during his teen years, gradually adding field recordings and synthesizers to the mix. From his home in Istanbul he moved to Miami to study music engineering, spent a spell in NYC, and eventually landed in Scotland, where he graduated with a masters in sound design and audiovisual practice from the University of Glasgow.
During this geographical movement, Isik’s practice developed through the merging of traditional songwriting with more experimental approaches. Sometimes a melody was picked out on guitar, at other times it emerged from live ambient explorations. Verses sprung from the pulp of literature processed, and songs were spun with loops and atmosphere from recordings of the world surrounding.
Isik’s music began circulating with 2019’s As Flurries, an album made from voice, synthesizer, guitar, piano and glockenspiel, and released by Italian label Almost Halloween Records. in february, his latest outing and first for RVNG Intl., finds Isik along a different path in sound making: building songs quickly out of small, happenstance loops, and working occasionally with musician Stephanie Roxanne Ward, pka spefy. in february refracts through a smaller lens in length than As Flurries; but while each song is more minute than before, they teem with tender detail.
in february references texts as sundry as the works of Turkish poet Gulten Akin, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s travelog The Long Road of Sand, Silvina Ocampo’s novel The Promise, and Anne Carson’s translation of Sophokles. While inhabiting the crevice of these volumes, the album also lives in the moment of the world: in passing by a church organ or chamber recital rehearsal, a tinkling bicycle bell, pigeon’s wings flapping, light footsteps crunching by and the sounds of snow. In pausing over the slippage and recurrence of our experience, Isik’s songs are soft containers for the profound emotive potential in a sudden instant.