Quite a coup by NNA Tapes. They have in fact secured the services of Elif Yalvaç, the Turkish composer of metaphysical electronic soundscapes whose research continues to reveal surprising facets. For her debut on the label, Yalvaç prepared a collection of twelve tracks connected by definite threads, yet rather different from each other. At first glance, using descriptions such as “a journey through variable acoustic dimensions” comes easy. It would be utterly superficial to do that. Indeed intuition, realization and suffering are well rooted in this music, almost to a level of tangibility.
The sources include processed guitars, synthesizers and even a Game Boy along with field recordings collected during frequent trips to Iceland (please note the fabulous cover picture). In comparison to previous works of hers, Yalvaç combines a noisier approach with quasi-melodic, yet still alien-ish sonorities, the whole informed by dramatic/cinematic components. The fusion of these aspects is by no means unchallenging, for one risks falling into kitsch without the necessary experience. However, Yalvaç’s compositional cleverness makes everything appear natural. Expected and unexpected blend flawlessly, the sense of fluid geometry pervading the entire program being perhaps the secret. If we had to name names just for fun, imagine Fennesz and “dissonant” Klaus Schulze having coffee together as they chat about sonic abstractionism.
The title Mountains Become Stepping Stones contains both a specific reference and an invitation to perseverance. Yalvaç has always worked hard to perfect her skills, often under extremely difficult conditions. Keeping the focus on one’s goals in stressful situations leads, in the end, to a particular gratification when the aim is achieved. This album represents the official beginning of an artistic story destined to end in success. The talent is unequivocable, the imagination and soul are unique. As is this heterogeneous, unclassifiable music.