Isik Kural

Moon in Gemini

— Limited artist edition of 50 black vinyl with gold screen-printed covers available only from RVNG
— Vinyl formats accompanied by a printed lyric sheet
— Japanese import CD w/ Obi officially licensed and pressed in Japan by Plancha
— Each purchase includes a multi-format download redeemable via Bandcamp

Receive 25% off in february when bundled with Moon in Gemini!

Notes
Tracklist
Notes

Cat# RVNGNL104
Release date: September 9 2024

Isik Kural returns with Moon in Gemini, a luminous scrapbook of slow-flowing narratives couched in intuitive and symbolic storytelling. Bending a playful take on environmental music to the folk song form, Isik’s vocals coo atop pastoral field notes, airy chamber instrumentation and archival recordings culled from a curious musical life. A tender pastiche coalesces across the suite of Moon in Gemini’s fourteen pieces, and Isik invites the listener to daydream as-deep-as-possible.

“The songs on Moon in Gemini don’t mind being slower or taking their time to reach the listener,” says Isik, who wanted the title to speak to the album’s dreamy, liminal nature. “I enjoyed how the phrase could be used to describe an object, a time or a place simultaneously,” he explains. Similarly and subsequently, these songs contain a multiplicity of sonic artifacts, moments and spaces that span Isik’s rich musical career to date.

With the bulk of the album realized between Amasya, Turkey and Isik’s current home in Glasgow, in both domestic and studio recording environments, additional tracks unearthed from his personal recording archive lend their lush patina. The record emerged as a fertile space to reimagine a handful of previously unreleased songs and unfinished ideas spanning the past fifteen years of his life and work, including streetside sounds documented while growing up in Turkey and recordings made while studying music engineering in Miami, Helsinki and Glasgow.

Looking to the more recent past, Isik found himself wanting to build upon some of the methodologies and textures explored on his 2022 album in february, seeking a newly intimate, vocal-forward sound. He points to the track “film festival” from that album as a door through which to enter Moon in Gemini, where sample-based arrangements are presented in the context of asymmetrical “build ups and progressions” and ambience and vocals intertwine.

Inspired in part by listening to iconic, if not sometimes misunderstood, singers such as Nina Simone, Aldous Harding and Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear, Isik aimed to carve out a new space for his voice on Moon in Gemini, experimenting with novel recording and mixing techniques. Captured at his aunt’s farmhouse in Amasya during an extended three week recording session, we find Isik’s vocal high in the mix, front-and-center and on newly expressive terms.

As a songwriter, Isik is an intuitive and playful lyricist who allows his deep love of literature to flow through his off-kilter texts. Here, echoes of Silvina Ocampo’s poem “Dialogues of the Silence” reverberate from the margins of “Most Beautiful Imaginary Dialogues”. Likewise, Elliott Smith and Virgina Astley shapeshift through “Behind the Flowerpots,” some lines of which were based on misheard lyrics from Smith’s “Stickman” and Astley’s “Some Small Hope.”

Attuned to the magic of happy coincidences, other unexpected “themes and connections between tracks flourished” during the recording process, resulting in some songs being more “thematically and lyrically connected to each other compared to previous records.” The duos “Prelude” and “Interlude” as well as “Grown One Iota” and “After a Rain” explore connected stories, while “Almost a Ghost” and “Behind the Flowerpots” serendipitously emerged out of a conversation with Stephanie “Spefy” Roxanne Ward, whose balmy vocals heard highlighting in february return and call out to Isik’s in sweet dialogue.

Plumbing these new potentials of structure and songwriting, Isik also developed a taste for an expanded sonic palette, one enriched by the lulling undertones of live woodwinds and strings. The resulting collaborations with flutist Tenzin Stephen, harpist Kirstin McCarlie and clarinet player Giulia Tamborino envelop the record in an altogether “dreamier sound,” swaying pastel and awash in lunar light.

Moon in Gemini, brimming with natural imagery and lullaby-inflected tones, tunes into states of being where the wonder filled sound of everyday is heard and felt, perfectly imperfect in its poetry; where the invisible steps forward; where dauntless ghosts wait around every corner and play enriches the soul; where bird song fills sun-soaked afternoons and carries us on its wings into each enchanted evening.

Isik Kural’s Moon in Gemini will be released on vinyl, Japanese import CD, and digital editions on September 6, 2024. On behalf of Isik and RVNG, a portion of the proceeds from this release will benefit Mor Çatı Women’s Shelter Foundation, whose social work at their solidarity centers and shelters supports women building lives unhindered by gender-based discrimination and male violence under free and equal conditions.

Tracklist
LP

Side A (33 RPM)
A1. Body of Water
A2. Prelude
A3. Almost a Ghost
A4. Grown One Iota
A5. Interlude
A6. Redcurrants
A7. Mistaken for a Snow Silent

Side B (33 RPM)
B1. Gül Sokağı
B2. Stems of Water
B3. After a Rain
B4. Behind the Flowerpots
B5. Daywarm Birds
B6. Birds of the Evening
B7. Most Beautiful Imaginary Dialogues

CD / DIGITAL

01. Body of Water
02. Prelude
03. Almost a Ghost
04. Grown One Iota
05. Interlude
06. Redcurrants
07. Mistaken for a Snow Silent
08. Gül Sokağı
09. Stems of Water
10. After a Rain
11. Behind the Flowerpots
12. Daywarm Birds
13. Birds of the Evening
14. Most Beautiful Imaginary Dialogues

Videos