SAADET TÜRKÖZ & NILS WOGRAM – SongDreaming

Leo

There are occurrences in the realm of artistic circulation that still baffle, even though I should be accustomed to them by now. Out of nowhere (or rather, of the usual stack of hundreds of promos piled up in bulk), a few days ago this reviewer fortuitously retrieved a marvel published by Leo Feigin’s immortal label. It’s the first CD of a duo that has been active for quite a while: Saadet Türköz, the Kazakh-Turkish vocalist currently based in Zurich, and the German trombonist Nils Wogram, in this instance also on the melodica. It’s absurd that this glorious artefact sees the light only after 15 years (!) from the recording session, and equally weird that practically no one among the people with more time at their disposal – and less material to rescue from archival oblivion – has spoken about it yet.

SongDreaming enhances the inward spaciousness experienced when, in a period of widespread opacity, something comes along to entirely reshape your perspective on a temporal level, relocating the mind to a dimension more congruent with the appreciation of being alive in the present, however haunted by a past that’s not going to return. The twelve tracks, each titled with a single word, feature a blend of sentience, subtleness, fortitude and regretful evocativeness that finds no equals in recently heard materials. On the strength of a background stemming from ancient tunes passed down through her family, Türköz beautifully vaults between all-but-vanished melodies of folk descent and improvisational paths where she nonetheless looks assuredly to the high road of ancestral airs. The “Wogram variable” renders several parts of the album unique. The melodica’s peaceful counterpoint appears like a nest greeting the bird following a lengthy flight. The trombone’s emissions gliding imperceptibly across the pitches, exalting a microtonal lack of safety handles, offer Türköz the opportunity to exhibit the elastic reactivity which is the hallmark of the finest improvisers. At some junctures, we reach peaks of pure poetry. One imagines bygone lifestyles and feelings, theoretically “primitive” but instead bound to values that reveal, on the contrary, how authentically primitive today’s culture is, totally dependent on anything that glorifies fiction, betrayal, convenience.

This record was played at various moments of the day and evening. I always came out improved, having ascertained the couple’s willingness to seize the intangible through the foundations of remoteness. In other words, to find the richness of meanings and movements in the places where the brain works exclusively by transmission of significant frequencies and expectations. In this respect, Türköz and Wogram are two remarkable seekers endowed with a thorough reciprocal understanding. Their alliance is indicative of a common journey, every milestone revealing new facets of a disappearing idiom. That of genuine humanity.

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